Saturday, December 31, 2016

Trek 2016: R.I.P.

The shocking accidental death of Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov in the three Abrams "Kelvin timeline" movies, especially tempers this year's 50th anniversary commemorations.  Considered a promising young actor beyond the Star Trek films, he died at age 27.

Don Marshall
Among those associated with Star Trek over the years who died in 2016 were actors Don Marshall, Seaman Glass and Jim "Hagan" Beggs who all appeared in episodes in the first Star Trek season, 50 years ago in 1966-7.

 Marshall played Lt. Boma in "The Galileo Seven" and Glass (who died at age 90) played Benton in "Mudd's Women."  Beggs played Lt. Hansen in "Court Martial" and "The Menagerie."

David Speilberg
Actors who played in episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation include Barbara Tarbuck (who also appeared in Enterprise), David Speilberg (as the talkative Commander Hutchinson in "Starship Mine") and David Huddleston ("Emergence.")

One of the more prominent actors outside Star Trek to appear in an episode was the renowned stage and film actor Fritz Weaver, who played Kovat in DS9's "Tribunal."

Fritz Weaver
  Other DS9 actors who passed in 2016 include Barry Francis Jenner (who played Admiral William Ross in seasons 6 and 7) and Richard Libertini. Larry Drake and Angela Patton acted in Voyager.  Susie Stillwell, Brian Demonbreun and Roma Lee Tracy were background actors in various series.

John Hostetter
John Hostetter played Lt. Commander Adislo in the feature, Star Trek: Insurrection.  Lee Rehermon acted in Star Trek Into Darkness.

Gary Dean Hutzel was a visual effects artist for TNG and DS9.  Kenneth Adam, famous as production designer for Dr. Strangelove and other films, created designs for the 1970s Star Trek feature that was never made: Star Trek: Planet of the Titans.  Ray West mixed sound for Star Trek II as well as Star Wars.

Famed Man From UNCLE actor Robert Vaughn never appeared in Trek, but he was a regular on Gene Roddenberry's previous series, The Lieutenant. Vaughn also appeared in the offbeat Roger Corman sci-fi self-parody feature Battle Beyond the Stars.

The Star Wars family most prominent loss in 2016 was Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia and most recently General Leia Organa.  She died at age 60 from a heart attack in December, shortly after completing her filming for the next Star Wars feature.

Star Wars also lost actors Kenny Baker, Peter Sumner, Eric Bauersfeld and Drewe Henley, as well as award-winning special effects artist Kit West (Return of the Jedi.)

The Doctor Who family lost actors Barry Howard (in the final David Tennant episodes), John Carson and Michael Leader (who was also a Star Wars stormtrooper,) as well as "Destiny of the Daleks" director Ken Grieve.

Noel Neill was the first actor to play Lois Lane--beginning with the Superman movie serial in 1948.  She joined the George Reeves Adventures of Superman on TV as Lois in its second season, for the rest of its run.  She appeared as Lois Lane's mother in the 1978 Christopher Reeve Superman feature.  Her dialogue scene was cut from the theatrical version but restored in the current home video.

Ron Glass appeared prominently in the Firefly series and in the Serenity film sequel.

 Alan Young played a major character in the 1960 feature film version of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, produced by George Pal.  He later reprised the role in a short sequel for the movie's DVD with the film's star Rod Taylor.

Among other sci-fi actors were Janet Wright (Taken) and Jerry Doyle (Babylon 5.)

David Kyle was a science fiction writer and a member of the Futurians in 1939 during the first New York science fiction convention.  He later became a mainstay of sci-fi fandom.  Bud Webster was another veteran sci-fi author and essayist.  Bernard Bergonzi was a British literary scholar who wrote and edited several books on the science fiction of H.G. Wells.

May they all rest in peace.  Their work lives on.

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