Celebrities & Pop Culture

‘Star Trek’ And ‘Benson’ Actor René Auberjonois Has Died

This is sad news.

It’s a sad day for Trekkies following the news that René Auberjonois has died at age 79.

The actor is best known for playing shape-shifter Changeling and head of space station security Odo in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” a role he carried over into video games like “The Fallen,” “Harbinger“ and the more recent “Star Trek Online.” He also played senior law firm partner Paul Lewiston in 71 episodes of “Boston Legal” and Clayton Runnymede Endicott III, the chief of staff at a governor’s mansion (and chronic hypochondriac), in the ABC sitcom “Benson.”

Auberjonois’ son Remy-Luc told The Associated Press that the screen legend, whose film and TV career spanned six decades, had died at home in Los Angeles on Dec. 8. He had metastatic lung cancer.

For his “Benson” role, Auberjonois received an Emmy nomination for the best supporting actor in a comedy in 1984. He got another Emmy nod in 2001 for his guest appearance as Judge Mantz in ABC’s “The Practice.” Other guest roles include “Murder, She Wrote,” “The Outer Limits,” “L.A. Law,” “The Jeffersons,” “Stargate SG-1,” “Frasier” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

His first major movie role was as Father Mulcahy in the 1970 film hit “M*A*S*H.” He later starred in “McCabe & Mrs. Miller,” “Brewster McCloud,” “Images,” “King Kong” (1976) and “The Patriot.” He also did voice acting on audio narrations, other video games and additional projects; you may have heard him singing “Les Poissons” in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” as Chef Louis back in 1989.

Friends, fans and former co-stars were quick to pay their respects on social media. George Takei tweeted, “When I look out to the stars, I shall think of you friend.”

And Auberjonois’ “Deep Space Nine” co-star Armin Shimerman said, “The world seems noticeably emptier now. I loved him.”

Another “Star Trek” actor, William Shatner, wrote, “To sum up his life in a tweet is nearly impossible.”

In a 2011 interview with the Star Trek website, Auberjonois said of his prolific career, “I am all of those characters, and I love that. I also run into people, and they think I’m their cousin or their dry cleaner. I love that, too.”

Rest in peace, René Auberjonois.