Mark Lenard: An Appreciation
Mark Lenard, who would have turned 87 years old tomorrow, was a respected stage, film and television actor who earned his greatest measure of fame for his long association with Star Trek. He portrayed the Romulan commander – Trek’s first-ever fully-seen Romulan -- in the The Original Series episode "Balance of Terror" (1966), and a Klingon – the first with forehead ridges and the first to actually speak Klingon -- in The Motion Picture. He also narrated several Trek audiobooks and wrote the DS9 comic book tale Blood & Honor. However, Lenard attained legend status in Trek circles for his unforgettable turns as Sarek, Spock's unyieldingly logical father, in the TOS episode "Journey to Babel," the TAS episode "Yesteryear," the Trek features The Search for Spock, The Voyage Home, The Final Frontier (voiceover only) and The Undiscovered Country, and the pivotal TNG episodes “Sarek” and “Unification, Part I.”
“I’m constantly amazed at what Star Trek has done and what it has meant to people,” Lenard told Starlog magazine back when The Undiscovered Country was released. “I have asked all over the world what there is about Star Trek that has made it unique among SF shows. There’s something in the chemistry of the characters and concepts that made it unique and a particular success. When it began, Star Trek had a particular meaning, and it was the right time for that meaning.”
Star Trek was actually but one credit on Lenard’s resume. On stage, he essayed roles written by Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chayefsky and Chekhov, and frequently performed the two-man show “The Boys of August” with his friend and Trek co-star, Walter Koenig. Lenard appeared in such films as The Greatest Story Ever Told, Hang ‘Em High and Annie Hall, and in guest spots, recurring roles and/or as a regular on television shows including Search for Tomorrow, The Defenders, Another World, Gunsmoke, Here Come the Brides, Mannix, Mission: Impossible (with Leonard Nimoy), Hawaii Five-O, Planet of the Apes, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Otherworld and In the Heat of the Night. Beyond his on-screen appearances, Lenard lent his voice to many television commercials (he was the voice of SAAB) and documentary programs, and worked as a respected acting teacher.
Sadly, by late 1995, Lenard fell ill with multiple myeloma and he passed away on November 22, 1996. He left behind his wife of 36 years, Ann, whom he’d met in an acting class, their daughters, Roberta and Catherine, and millions of fans across the world.
What was your favorite Mark Lenard performance?