Sunday, May 1, 2011


From The Hollywood Reporter:

William Campbell, who guest-starred in two memorable episodes of the original Star Trek TV series, died Thursday at the Motion Picture & Television Country Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills, according to He was 84.

Campbell played the all-powerful Trelane in the episode "The Squire of Gothos" and Koloth, a Klingon, in "The Trouble With Tribbles," both of which aired in 1967. He reprised the role of Trelane for a Star Trek: Judgment Rites video game in 1993, returned for a 1994 episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and was a regular at Star Trek conventions and cruises.

Koloth was my favorite of all the Klingons who have appeared throughout the 'Star Trek' franchise. There was this arch, sophisticated villainy about him and Campbell delivered the lines perfectly to fit that attitude, subtle and yet over the top in harmonic balance.

Here's a quick clip of Koloth from that episode about the Tribbles:

I also enjoyed his performance as Squire Trelane, and I agree with many that Trelane must have been a baby Q from the Q Continuum. Peter David wrote the novel "Q-Squared" based on this premise, and I'm told that Gene Roddenberry once said at a convention that the two characters were somehow related.

Here's the trailer for that episode about "The Squire Of Gothos":

Getting back to William Campbell as Koloth, when his character returned - along with the other two original Klingons, Kor (John Colicos) and Kang (Michael Ansara) - they had been cured of the affliction that caused their foreheads to be smoothed out and so resorted back to their original Klingon appearances.

Here's a tribute video to Koloth, Kang, and Kor:

It skews in favor of Kor, probably because Colicos died not long before the video was made. Still, it gives a good idea of Koloth as warrior equal in skill to his talents as a diplomat.

I've been working on this piece for Inner Toob about the many characters who appeared in 'Columbo' who were played by the same actors over and over again - four murderers played by Patrick McGoohan, three by Jack Cassidy and Robert Culp (with Culp coming back as the father of a murderer), etc. And I'm making up a list of which characters those actors should keep and which actors would work as replacements in the other roles.

And I think William Campbell would have made a brilliant Riley Greenleaf, the publisher played by Jack Cassidy in "Publish Or Perish". I understand that Falk liked to bring back certain actors he enjoyed working with, and that (for the most part) NBC top-loaded the episodes with big-name stars. So this would never have been considered. Still, it makes for a nice bit o' "wish-craft".

Rest in peace, Mr. Campbell. As Red Skelton used to say, "Good night and may God bless."


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