René Auberjonois Dies: ‘Benson’ And ‘Star Trek’ Actor Was 79

September 2nd, 2017. Mannheim, Germany. Rene Auberjonois, Odo in Star Trek: DS9, at his panel at Startopia. Star Trek Actors and Trekkies get together at this convention in Mannheim, Germany

René Auberjonois, an actor who rose to prominence with roles on Benson, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and the film M.A.S.H., died Sunday at his home in Los Angeles of metastatic lung cancer, the Associated Press reported. He was 79.

Auberjonois was a character actor and performed in theater of the 1960s. He made the transition to film in the 1970s, and appeared on a string of popular television series in the 1980s and ’90s.

He made a mark as Father Mulcahy in Robert Altman’s 1970 film M.A.S.H. Auberjonois would later win over a legion of television fans as Clayton Runnymede Endicott III, chief of staff at the governor’s mansion on the sitcom Benson, which aired from 1979-1986.

He segued to sci-fi television with his portrayal of Constable Odo, the station’s chief of security, on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which aired from 1993-1999.

 Robert Guillaume, James Noble, and René Auberjonois in "Benson." (Credit: ABC)
(L to R) Robert Guillaume, James Noble, René Auberjonois in “Benson.” (Credit: ABC) ABC

In 1984, Auberjonois received a Primetime Emmy nomination for his role on Benson. He picked up a second Emmy nomination in 2001 in the guest actor drama series category for playing Judge Mantz on legal drama The Practice. 

His other memorable recurring roles were as Walter Nowack in Madam Secretary; a cardinal in Archer; and a judge in Judging Amy.

Auberjonois also did extensive voice work in animation, including as the singing French chef in Disney’s 1989 film The Little Mermaid. He played Kangent in The Pirates of Dark Water; and Dr. March in Batman: The Animated Series.

The actor was born in New York in 1940. He graduated from Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute of Technology, now Carnegie Mellon. Auberjonois later decided to pursue a career as a performer, joining theater companies and landing roles on Broadway in 1968. He earned Tony nominations for his stage work in 1973’s “The Good Doctor,” 1984’s “Big River,” and 1989’s “City of Angels.”

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