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Star Trek Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

In "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country," Klingon Chancellor Gorkon (David Warner), attending a diplomatic dinner aboard the Enterprise, raises a toast to "the undiscovered country ... the future." But Gorkon, who's quoting Shakespeare, has the Bard's meaning wrong: in "Hamlet," the title character uses the phrase to refer not to the future, but to death, what lies beyond it, and our fear of what that might be.

Sadly, Gorkon himself crosses over to the "undiscovered country" shortly thereafter, although happily, actor David Warner is still with us. But we're equally sorry to say that a lot of actors from the "Star Trek" universe — the now-vast spectrum of TV shows and movies that the franchise has generated — have also made that journey to the great unknown that waits beyond this plane of existence.

It's hardly surprising that many talented actors involved with a decades-old property have moved beyond the realm of human understanding. But while some left us years ago, others have only passed on more recently. Regretfully, a lot of names didn't make the already sizable list we've compiled, but the ones we have included all made a mark on "Trek" history in some large or small fashion, whether you knew they had passed away or not.

Jeffrey Hunter (Captain Christopher Pike)

Before Captain James T. Kirk took the center seat on the Enterprise, she was commanded by Captain Christopher Pike. Jeffrey Hunter played Captain Pike in the original "Star Trek" pilot, "The Cage," but when NBC asked for a second pilot, Hunter refused to return. Multiple accounts by other key "Star Trek" personnel suggest that his wife at the time played a major role in his decision, which led "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry to cast William Shatner as the newly rechristened Captain Kirk.

Pike remained part of "Trek" canon, with Roddenberry incorporating footage from "The Cage" into a two-part episode called "The Menagerie." As for Hunter, his modestly successful career had already included roles in the groundbreaking Western "The Searchers" (1956) and the Biblical epic "King of Kings" (1961), in which he played Jesus Christ. He continued to work in films and TV after "Trek," but suffered a brain hemorrhage on May 26, 1969 at his home in Van Nuys, California and fell down some stairs, fracturing his skull. The 42-year-old Hunter died the next morning, on May 27, 1969.

Roger C. Carmel (Harry Mudd)

While the Klingons and Romulans were recurring enemies on the original "Star Trek," only one individual villain appeared on the show more than once: Harcourt Fenton "Harry" Mudd, interstellar con man, indelibly portrayed in Season 1's "Mudd's Women" and Season 2's "I, Mudd" by character actor Roger C. Carmel.

In his early 30s when he played Mudd, Carmel had already racked up a sizable amount of credits on Broadway, TV, and in film when he got the nod. He voiced the character once more for "Mudd's Passion," a 1973 episode of "Star Trek: The Animated Series," and made guest appearances on "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "The Dick van Dyke Show," "Batman," "The Munsters," "Hawaii Five-0," "All in the Family," "Laverne and Shirley," and many others. Carmel later shifted mostly to voice work before playing "Senor Naugles" in a successful but short-lived ad campaign for a Mexican restaurant chain called Naugles.

Carmel died at age 54 on November 11, 1986. Although the official cause of death was "hypertrophic cardiomyopathy" — a disease of the heart muscles — rumors persisted for years that he either committed suicide or overdosed.

Merritt Butrick (Dr. David Marcus, T'Jon)

In "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," Admiral James T. Kirk finally confronts a secret from his past — namely, that he has a grown son named David from a previous relationship with Dr. Carol Marcus (Bibi Besch), head of the Genesis Project. Although father and son are initially not on good terms, they reconcile by the end of the film — only for David to meet his death at the hands of the Klingons in "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock."

David was played by Merritt Butrick, a Florida native who amassed a steady amount of work between 1981 and 1989 — mostly on TV — that included a regular role as Johnny Slash on "Square Pegs" and a guest appearance on the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" Season 1 episode "Symbiosis" as an alien named T'Jon. Unfortunately his career was cut short when he died at age 29, due to complications from AIDS, on March 17, 1989.

Susan Oliver (Vina)

Susan Oliver had been working since 1955 in TV and movies when she was asked to appear as Vina, a human woman imprisoned on the planet Talos IV in "The Cage," the first, unsold pilot for "Star Trek." Vina appears in different guises throughout the show, most notable as a green Orion slave girl who does an erotic dance to tempt Captain Christopher Pike (Jeffrey Hunter). Oliver's green-painted visage — the result of a long, tedious make-up process — became an enduring image of "Star Trek" after footage from "The Cage" was recycled for the two-part Season 1 episode "The Menagerie."

Oliver continued to act and even direct, mostly on TV, into the late '80s and was nominated for an Emmy for a supporting role in the 1976 TV movie "Amelia Earhart." She was also a licensed commercial pilot who attempted to become the first female pilot to fly from the U.S. to Moscow, but was refused entry to Soviet airspace. She died from lung cancer on May 10, 1990 at the age of 58. A documentary about her life, "The Green Girl," was released in 2014.

Jill Ireland (Leila Kalomi)

One of the most memorable episodes of "Star Trek: The Original Series" was Season 1's "This Side of Paradise," in which the crew comes under the influence of a euphoria-inducing spore while visiting a space colony. One of the colonists, Leila Kalomi, once had an unrequited crush on Mr. Spock, who of course could not return her love — until she exposed him to the spores in a bid to keep him with her on the planet.

Leila was played by Jill Ireland, an English actor who also appeared in '60s TV staples like "Ben Casey," "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea," "My Favorite Martian," and five episodes of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," the latter with then-husband David McCallum. But she was perhaps best known for her personal and professional collaboration with tough-guy actor Charles Bronson, whom she married in 1968 and made some 15 films with, including "The Valachi Papers," "The Mechanic" (both 1972) and "Death Wish II" (1982). Ireland and Bronson remained married until her death at age 54 from breast cancer — for which she became a dedicated awareness advocate — on May 18, 1990.

Bibi Besch (Dr. Carol Marcus)

Like many "Star Trek" veterans, Vienna-born actor Bibi Besch developed an extensive career in television and film since making her debut in 1966, turning up on hit shows like "The Rockford Files," "Murder, She Wrote," and "The Golden Girls." But she did not appear on a "Trek" TV series — instead, she played Dr. Carol Martin, inventor of the Genesis Project and mother of James T. Kirk's estranged son David in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan."

Besch's post-"Khan" work included a reunion with that film's director, Nicholas Meyer, for the disturbing 1983 nuclear war TV film "The Day After," along with recurring roles on "Falcon's Crest," "Northern Exposure," and "The Jeff Foxworthy Show." Besch kept working right up until her death from breast cancer at the age of 54 on September 7, 1996, and even showed up in an episode of "Melrose Place" that aired two days after her passing.

Mark Lenard (Romulan Commander, Sarek)

After the original regular cast, there may have been no "Star Trek: The Original Series" actor more closely associated with the show than Mark Lenard. The actor first appeared in the classic Season 1 episode "Balance of Terror" as the commander of a Romulan vessel playing a deadly cat-and-mouse game with the Enterprise. He returned in Season 2 as Sarek, the estranged father of Mr. Spock, in the equally popular episode "Journey to Babel."

Lenard voiced Sarek for the "Yesteryear" episode of "Star Trek: The Animated Series," and showed up as a Klingon commander in 1979's "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" — making him the only actor to play a member of the three major "Trek" alien races. He donned the ears again as Sarek for three feature films, also reprising the character in the "Sarek" and "Unification Part I" episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

Sarek was clearly Lenard's most famous role, but his journeyman career also included extensive work on the stage as well as guest spots on "The Incredible Hulk," "Hawaii Five-0," "Mission: Impossible," and a recurring role as General Urko on the short-lived 1974 "Planet of the Apes" series. Lenard died on November 22, 1996 at the age of 72 from cancer.

Persis Khambatta (Lieutenant Ilia)

Born in Bombay in 1948, Persis Khambatta became, in 1965, just the third Indian woman in history to compete in the Miss Universe pageant. Her work as a model led to small roles in a handful of Bollywood and British pictures before she was picked to play Lieutenant Ilia, the bald Deltan navigator of the Enterprise. Khambatta agreed to shave her head for the role, which was initially developed in 1977 for the "Star Trek: Phase II" TV series before that was abandoned in favor of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (1979). 

Her appearance in "ST: TMP" led to more roles in films like "Nighthawks" and "Megaforce," and although she was a contender for the title role in the James Bond thriller "Octopussy," the part went to Maud Adams. Guest shots on shows like "MacGyver" and "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" followed. Plagued since 1980 by health problems, Khambatta succumbed to a massive heart attack in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) on August 18, 1998, at the age of 49.

DeForest Kelley (Dr. Leonard McCoy)

Born in Georgia in 1920, DeForest Kelley pursued acting after serving in World War II and landed his first role in the 1946 film "Fear in the Night." A consistent if not especially remarkable stream of film, stage and TV gigs followed, with his role as Morgan Earp in 1957's "Gunfight at the OK Corral" getting him cast mostly as villains for the next nine years.

Although he was at one point considered for the role of Mr. Spock, Kelley appeared in neither of the show's two pilots, "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before." Series creator Gene Roddenberry offered him the role of the Chief Medical Officer, renamed McCoy, prior to the beginning of production on Season 1, and Kelley went on to appear in all but three episodes during the show's three-year, 79-episode run. He also voiced McCoy in "Star Trek: The Animated Series."

Like many "TOS" cast members, Kelley hit a dry spell in the 1970s until he got the call for "Star Trek: The Motion Picture." That led to five subsequent films and a brief cameo on the premiere episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." McCoy's signature line — "I'm a doctor, not a..." — his mix of sarcasm and compassion, and his chemistry with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy made "Bones" McCoy an indispensable part of "Star Trek." Kelley died of stomach cancer at the age of 79 on June 11, 1999.

John Colicos (Commander Kor)

Canadian actor John Colicos made "Star Trek" history as Kor, the show's first major Klingon adversary, in the original series' Season 1 episode "Errand of Mercy." According to Marc Cushman's "These Are The Voyages," Colicos was supposed to play Kor again in Season 2's "The Trouble with Tribbles" and Season 3's "Day of the Dove," but was unavailable both times. He — along with the actors who did play the main Klingon antagonists on those segments — later appeared on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," reprising Kor in the episode "Blood Oath."

In addition to two more episodes of "DS9," Colicos' other sci-fi credentials include the role of Count Baltar on the original 1978 "Battlestar Galactica" and voicing Apocalypse on "X-Men: The Animated Series" in the mid-1990s. Before his death at age 71 on March 6, 2000, after several heart attacks, Colicos had compiled nearly a hundred screen credits — but he'll always be the first Klingon.

Frank Gorshin (Commissioner Bele)

Actor and impressionist Frank Gorshin was at the center of one of "Star Trek"'s most overt studies of bigotry and racism, the Season 3 episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield." Gorshin played Commissioner Bele of the planet Cheron, whose skin was white on the left and black on the right. Bele was in pursuit of an escaped political prisoner named Lokai (Lou Antonio), who sought asylum on the Enterprise — and whose crime was being white on the right and black on the left.

Gorshin is best known for his Emmy-nominated portrayal of the Riddler on the 1960s "Batman" TV series and its spinoff movie. According to CBR.com, his version of the Riddler was actually influenced by the villain's return in the comics, where the Riddler had been dormant for more than a decade.

Along with the usual gamut of TV and movie credits, Gorshin was popular in Las Vegas nightclubs for his impressionist act. He performed the same act several times on "The Ed Sullivan Show," including on the historic night in 1964 that the Beatles made their US debut on the program. A lifelong smoker, Gorshin died of lung cancer and emphysema on May 17, 2005, at the age of 72.

James Doohan (Chief Engineer Scott)

No one loved the Enterprise more than her Chief Engineer, Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott, and James Doohan's portrayal of the "miracle worker" is a cornerstone of the "Star Trek" universe — even if, according to "Inside Star Trek: The Real Story," creator Gene Roddenberry almost fired him following his debut in the second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before." Instead, Doohan's "Scotty" was an integral part of all three seasons of the original series, the animated series, and seven of the feature films, as well as a sixth season episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

A veteran of World War II, the Canadian-born Doohan saw combat and was wounded during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. He already had a vast trove of TV and radio work under his belt when he boarded the Enterprise, and was quite adept at voiceover work — he often voiced aliens, computers and other non-humanoids on "ST: TOS," and performed multiple roles on "ST: TAS." While work outside of "Star Trek" dried up in his later years, he remained enormously popular at "Star Trek" conventions until 2004, when Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease forced him out of the spotlight. He beamed up for good on July 20, 2005, and some of his ashes made it into space in 2008 and 2012.

Jane Wyatt (Amanda Grayson)

While Jane Wyatt had a long and distinguished career in film and TV that stretched from 1934 to 1992, she is probably best remembered for two roles: as homemaker Margaret Anderson for six seasons and some 200-plus episodes of the sitcom "Father Knows Best" (1954-1960) and as Amanda Grayson, the human mother of the Enterprise's First Officer, Mr. Spock.

She first played Amanda on the Season 2 episode "Journey to Babel," which movingly explored the back story of Spock and his strained relationship with his father Sarek (Mark Lenard). Wyatt reprised the role in 1986's "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home." She won three Emmys for "Father Knows Best" and worked consistently for the rest of her life, even scoring a recurring role on "St. Elsewhere" from 1985 to 1987. With us until the age of 96, Wyatt passed away on October 20, 2006, in Bel-Air, California.

Lee Bergere (Abraham Lincoln)

Lee Bergere's one appearance on "Star Trek: The Original Series" was a memorable one: in the Season 3 episode "The Savage Curtain," he played President Abraham Lincoln — or rather, a simulacrum of Lincoln created by the aliens known as the Excalbians to fight alongside Kirk, Spock and a similar recreation of the Vulcan philosopher Surak in a contest staged to explore the nature of good vs. evil.

While the episode is considered among the silliest in the "Trek" canon, Bergere did bring a certain dignity and gravitas to the role. As with many "Trek" guests, the Brooklyn-born Bergere was the very definition of a working character actor, with more than 150 TV credits. He appeared regularly as head servant Joseph Anders on the first three seasons of "Dynasty" (1981-1983), and showed up in the 1975 ABC series "The Hot l Baltimore" as one half of a middle-aged gay couple — at the time a groundbreaking scenario for network TV. Bergere died at the age of 88 on January 31, 2007, in Fremont, New Hampshire from undisclosed causes.

Majel Barrett Roddenberry (Number One, Nurse Chapel, Lwaxana Troi)

Known as "The First Lady of 'Star Trek,'" Majel Barrett Roddenberry's long personal and professional history with the franchise is almost too extensive to go into here. But we'll try: the aspiring actor met then-married "Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry in 1961 and at some point the pair began an affair. Roddenberry cast Barrett as Number One in the first "Trek" pilot, "The Cage," but was asked to remove the character for the second pilot and subsequent series. Nevertheless, Roddenberry snuck her back onto the series in the role of Nurse Christine Chapel — a move that (according to the book "Inside Star Trek: The Real Story") almost got the both of them fired by Desilu Studios head Lucille Ball, who had backed "Trek."

Roddenberry and Barrett stuck around, however, and Barrett — who married Roddenberry in 1969 — played Chapel in 25 original series episodes, as well as "The Animated Series" and two of the feature films. She later played Lwaxana Troi, mother of ship's counselor Deanna Troi, on multiple episodes of "The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine." She also provided the voice of the ship's computer on "TOS," "TAS," "TNG," "DS9," "Voyager" and "Enterprise," as well as for the 2009 reboot film, "Star Trek," for which she completed her work shortly before her death. A regular on the convention circuit, she was devoted to Roddenberry — who died in 1991 — and "Trek" until leukemia claimed her on December 18, 2008, at the age of 76.

Ricardo Montalban (Khan Noonien Singh)

Khan Noonien Singh is generally considered one of the greatest villains — if not the greatest — in "Trek" history. One of a group of genetically enhanced humans who tried to conquer Earth in the late 20th century, he and his followers put themselves in suspended animation aboard an interstellar vessel and slept for centuries, waking up and trying to take over the Enterprise in the classic episode "Space Seed."

Khan returned 15 years later in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," out for revenge against Captain Kirk for the death of Khan's wife. Khan was played both times by the Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban, who would also star as Mr. Roarke on the hit 1970s TV series "Fantasy Island" and also play the key role of circus owner Armando in two of the "Planet of the Apes" movies from earlier that decade. A star in Mexico since the 1940s, he kept working right into his 80s, landing late roles in the "Spy Kids" series. Montalban also co-founded the Nosotros Foundation to advocate for the better portrayal of Latinos in the entertainment industry. He died at age 88 from heart failure on January 14, 2009.

William Campbell (Trelane, Captain Koloth)

Born in Newark, New Jersey, veteran actor William Campbell had the distinction of playing two of the best-known villains on the original "Trek" series. First up in Season 1 was Trelane, the super-powered being known as "The Squire of Gothos" who turns out to be a spoiled child using the Enterprise and its crew as literal playthings. In Season 2, he played Captain Koloth, the slippery Klingon commander who clashes with Kirk in "The Trouble with Tribbles" — a role he reprised for the "Blood Oath" episode of "Deep Space Nine."

Among Campbell's other credits were the 1954 disaster movie "The High and the Mighty," 1956's "Love Me Tender," which was Elvis Presley's screen debut, 1963's "Dementia 13," which was Francis Ford Coppola's first directorial effort, and the 1964 psychological thriller "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte," with Bette Davis and Olivia De Havilland. He passed away on April 28, 2011, aged 87, from an undisclosed illness.

William Windom (Commodore Matt Decker)

Veteran actor William Windom had the opportunity to appear in three of sci-fi's greatest screen franchises during his almost 60 years in the business: He starred in the classic "Twilight Zone" episode "Five Characters in Search of an Exit" in 1961, played the President of the United States in 1971's "Escape from the Planet of the Apes," and guest-starred as the obsessed Commodore Matt Decker in the Season 2 "TOS" episode "The Doomsday Machine."

In this widely acclaimed favorite among fans, Decker's own vessel is wrecked and his entire crew killed by a giant alien robot that smashes planets to pieces, so he hijacks command of the Enterprise in a quixotic attempt to destroy the automaton before it ventures into the rest of the galaxy.

In addition to his top-shelf sci-fi credits, the gruff-voiced Windom made his film debut in 1962 in "To Kill a Mockingbird," and guested on just about every major network TV series around between the 1950s and early 2000s, including a longtime recurring role on "Murder, She Wrote." Congestive heart failure took his life at the age of 88 on August 16, 2012.

Michael Ansara (Commander Kang)

Of Lebanese descent, actor Michael Ansara was often cast as Native Americans, Latinos and Middle Eastern characters in a long variety of films and TV shows. Before playing the brutal yet reasonable Commander Kang on the Season 3 "TOS" adventure "Day of the Dove," he was best known for playing the legendary Native American Cochise on the TV series "Broken Arrow." Fans will also remember him as King Kamehameha in a segment of "I Dream of Jeannie" opposite Barbara Eden, to whom he was also married for 16 years, a killer from the future in the 1964 "Outer Limits" episode "Soldier," and as the voice of Mr. Freeze on "Batman: The Animated Series."

Along with fellow "TOS" Klingons John Colicos and William Campbell, he got to reprise the role of Kang on the "DS9" episode "Blood Oath" and essayed the role again in the "Voyager" segment "Flashback." Ansara died on July 31, 2013 at the age of 91, after suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock)

What can be said about the great Leonard Nimoy and his truly iconic portrayal of Vulcan science officer Mr. Spock that hasn't already been said? Cast by Gene Roddenberry in the role for the very first "Trek" pilot, "The Cage," Nimoy's Spock was the only character that survived a complete cast overhaul for the show's second pilot and the series — even though the network (NBC) was against his inclusion. The cool, logical, half-human (and Emmy-nominated) Spock became the show's most popular character, and remains a bracing combination of rationality, intellect, compassion, and loyalty.

Nimoy's place in pop culture history had long been secured when he passed away at age 83 on February 27, 2015 from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). In addition to his extensive acting and directing credits — which included two of the "Star Trek" feature films — Nimoy was a longtime advocate for the arts, a devotee to science and an activist for Jewish causes. And how many legendary actors can say they've had an asteroid named after them?

Grace Lee Whitney (Yeoman Janice Rand)

Grace Lee Whitney appeared as Yeoman Janice Rand in just eight episodes of "Star Trek: The Original Series," but she is nevertheless an enduring character and image from the show's early days. Halfway through the first season, despite heavy promotion as a cast member, Whitney was released from her contract. Reasons given for her exit include budget cuts and a desire on the network's part to let Kirk pursue women on the show without having Rand around — although she later alleged that a sexual assault by an unnamed studio exec may have contributed as well.

Whitney did return for brief appearances in three of the "Star Trek" feature films and remained popular on the "Trek" convention circuit. She had a long screen and singing career before "Trek" and continued to work afterwards, although she dedicated much of her later years, as a survivor of substance and alcohol abuse, to helping others with their recovery. She died on May 1, 2015 at the age of 85 from natural causes.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Yvonne Craig (Marta)

Actor and dancer Yvonne Craig was just the second green-skinned woman to appear on "Star Trek: The Original Series," after Susan Oliver in "The Cage," but her turn as Orion asylum inmate Marta in the Season 3 episode "Whom Gods Destroy" was a memorable one. Unlike Oliver, Craig was trained as a dancer and used those skills to remarkable effect in the episode, one of the show's campiest.

Although her long film and TV career began in 1957, Craig of course rocketed to fame a decade later when she was cast as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl on the third season of the ABC-TV series "Batman." According to Huffington Post, Craig said she did all her own stunts for the show, and her combination of "ass-kicking" crime fighter and brainy librarian made her a "pioneer of female superheroes" on television. She died of breast cancer at age 78 on August 17, 2015.

Anton Yelchin (Ensign Pavel Chekov)

His too-brief career only hinted at his talent and potential, but during his 27 years on Earth, Russian-born Anton Yelchin still managed to make an impact on audiences around the world. Yelchin was cast as Ensign Pavel Chekov in J.J. Abrams' 2009 reboot of "Star Trek," also playing the role in 2013's "Star Trek Into Darkness" and 2016's "Star Trek Beyond" (the latter released after his death). Franchise producers announced that the role would not be recast after Yelchin's death in a freak accident on June 19, 2016.

Before finding mainstream fame with "Trek," Yelchin first made an impression in 2002 in the TV series "Taken" and went on to star in films such as "Alpha Dog," "Terminator Salvation," "Like Crazy," "Fright Night," and "Green Room." He also voiced Clumsy Smurf in three "Smurfs" movies and provided the voice of Jim Lake Jr. in the animated series "Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia." A documentary about his life, "Love, Antosha," premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Robert Walker Jr. (Charlie Evans)

Born in Queens, New York to actors Robert Walker and Jennifer Jones, Robert Walker Jr. made his mark in spectacular fashion on "Star Trek" as Charles Evans, the teenage boy at the center of "Charlie X." The second "TOS" episode ever aired focused on Charlie's inability to integrate back with other humans after living for 14 years on a planet by himself. The incorporeal aliens on the planet, the Thasians, gave Charlie vast powers so that he could survive — powers he was too immature to use among his own kind.

Although Walker continued to work sporadically through the '70s, '80s and '90s, his greatest success came in the 1950s and '60s. In addition to "Charlie X" — considered one of the best "Trek" episodes of all time — he appeared in the 1969 counter-culture classic "Easy Rider," alongside John Wayne and Kirk Douglas in 1967's "The War Wagon," and in TV shows such as "Bonanza," "Columbo," "Quincy, M.E.," and "L.A. Law." He died on December 5, 2019, at age 79 from undisclosed causes.

René Auberjonois (Odo)

Born in New York City of Swiss and French descent, René Auberjonois began his career in the theater and landed three Broadway plays during the 1968-1969 season, earning a Tony Award for his work in the third, "Coco." More theater work followed, while his first big film breakthrough was as Father Mulcahy in Robert Altman's 1970 film "M*A*S*H." Auberjonois appeared in several more Altman films, along with movies like "The Hindenburg," the 1976 remake of "King Kong," 1980's "Where the Buffalo Roam," and 1995's "Batman Forever."

He had a brief role in 1991's "Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country," but his lasting contribution to the franchise was on "Deep Space Nine," where he played the title station's shapeshifting head of security, Odo. The conflicted character — who helped the Federation battle his own race, the Founders — was a fan favorite. Auberjonois died of lung cancer at age 79 on December 8, 2019.