It's almost time to flip the page to 2018, but before we do so, StarTrek.com is taking a moment to pay final tribute to the members of the Star Trek universe who passed away in 2017. Each and every one left an indelible imprint on Star Trek, and to them we say, "Thank you, and farewell."
Len Wein, who co-created the characters Wolverine and Swamp Thing, wrote or edited for DC Comics and Marvel Comics for many years, and, in 1971, penned eight issues of Gold Key's Star Trek comic-book adventures, died on September 10 at the age of 69. Wein's Gold Key Trek titles included The Legacy of Lazarus, The Brain Shockers, The Enterprise Mutiny and Day of the Inquisitors. Later, between 1986 and 1987, he wrote several installments of DC's Star Trek comics, including Maggie's World (with Tony Isabella), The Apocalypse Scenario!, and Mudd's Magic! Beyond his prolific output as a comic-book writer, Wein penned episodes of such animated series as Spider-Man, X-Men, Marvel Super Hero Squad and Batman: The Animated Series. He also made a cameo appearance in X-Men: Days of Future Past and was inducted to the Will Eisner Comic Book Fall of Fame in 2008.
Miguel Ferrer, an actor best known for his roles on NCIS: Los Angeles, Crossing Jordan, Twin Peaks, Mulan and RoboCop, and who entered the Trek universe when he played the executive officer of the U.S.S. Excelsior in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, died on January 19, at the age of 61, succumbing to throat cancer. Born in Santa Monica, Ferrer was the son of actor Jose Ferrer and singer Rosemary Clooney. He initially gravitated toward music, performing with his mother, Bing Crosby and even Keith Moon of The Who. Ferrer also was part of a band, The Jenerators, with his friend and fellow actor-musician (and Deep Space Nine guest star) Bill Mumy, who cast him in his first role, as a drummer, in the series Sunshine. By the early 1980s, Ferrer had set his sights on an acting career, and he went on to appear on stage and in dozens of films and TV shows, among them Magnum P.I., T.J. Hooker, Hot Shots! Part Deux!, Tales from the Crypt, The Stand, Traffic, The Manchurian Candidate (the 2004 remake), Psych, Desperate Housewives and Iron Man 3. His gravelly voice – and few people could sound more intimidating than Ferrer – was heard in numerous animated films and shows, as well as videogames. Along with Mulan, his voiceover work included Superman: The Animated Series, Halo 2, Robot Chicken, The Batman and Rio 2. Despite his illness, Ferrer acted until the very end. In addition to episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles, Ferrer completed Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, an animated direct-to-video feature. He also reprised his Twin Peaks and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me role as pathologist Albert Rosenfeld in the recent Twin Peaks continuation.
Bernie Casey, actor and Deep Space Nine guest star, passed away September 19 at the age of 78, following a brief, sudden illness, Casey started out as a NFL wide receiver and made the transition to acting full time after retiring early from a Pro Bowl football career. His many film and TV credits included Brian's Song, Boxcar Bertha, Cleopatra Jones, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Never Say Never Again, Bay City Blues, Revenge of the Nerds, The Martian Chronicles, I'm Gonna Get You Sucka, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Under Siege and Girlfriends. Back in 1994, Casey portrayed Lt. Commander Calvin Hudson in the DS9 episodes "The Maquis, Part I" and "The Maquis, Part II." Hudson, the Starfleet attache to Federation colonies within the newly established Demilitarized Zone, formed and led the Maquis, in the process clashing with his old friend, Sisko (Avery Brooks). Casey was also a respected poet and painter whose art was displayed in galleries worldwide.
Skip Homeier, the two-time Star Trek: The Original Series guest star who played Melakon in "Patterns of Force" and Dr. Sevrin in "The Way to Eden," passed away on June 25 at the age of 86. Homeier started his career as a child actor, going by the name Skippy Homeier. On stage and on TV and film, he often played tough kids and villains, making a particularly memorable mark as a Nazi youth in Tomorrow, the World! in 1944. mong his many subsequent films and TV credits were Halls of Montezuma, two episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, The Millionaire, Dan Raven, The Addams Family, The Outer Limits, Bonanza, Mission: Impossible, Helter Skelter, The Greatest, Fantasy Island and two episodes of Quincy M.E., one of which was directed by future Trek writer-producer Jeri Taylor. He retired from acting in 1982 after appearing in the film Quell and Co.
Stewart Moss, an actor, writer and director who twice guest starred on TOS, died in September, exact date unannounced, at the age of 79. Moss played Joe Tormolen in “The Naked Time” and Hanar in “By Any Other Name." Moss's life and career intersected with everyone from Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Alfred Hitchcock and Frank Sinatra to Rock Hudson, Robin Williams, Hugh Hefner and more than a few Playboy Playmates, that last fact courtesy of his directing shows for the then-fledgling Playboy Channel, as well as Marianne McAndrew, his wife of 50 years. As an actor, Moss counted among his film and TV credits Raise the Titanic, Topaz, In Harm's Way, The Bat People (with his wife), The Missiles of October, Hogan's Heroes, Mannix, Quincy, Ironside, Cagney and Lacey, Rockford Files, T.J. Hooker, The Six Million Dollar Man, Perry Mason, Punky Brewster and The Fall Guy. He also acted in a total of 64 stage productions on Broadway, off-Broadway, regionally and in dinner theater.
Lawrence Montaigne, the veteran actor who played the Romulan, Decius, in the TOS episode "Balance of Terror" in 1966 and returned a year later to portray Stonn, a Vulcan, in "Amok Time," died on Friday, March 17, at the age of 86. Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Rome, Montaigne featured in such films as The Great Escape, Tubruk, The Power, Captain Sinbad, Damon & Pythias, The Mongols and Escape to Witch Mountain. By his own count, Montaigne appeared in more than 200 TV episodes, among them The Outer Limits, The Fugitive, I Spy, The Time Tunnel, Batman, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mission: Impossible and Dallas. According to various sources, including Montaigne himself, the producers of TOS were ready to tap him to replace Leonard Nimoy as Spock when negotiations with Nimoy seemed unlikely to pan out; they did, however, and Montaigne was invited to play Stonn. The actor was also an author and longtime popular guest at Star Trek conventions.
Mark La Mura
Mark La Mura, an actor whose many credits included the role of John Doe in "Transfigurations," a third-season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, succumbed to lung cancer on September 11 at the age of 68. The actor, who hailed from Perth Amboy, New Jersey, was best known for his long-running, Daytime Emmy-nominated role as Mark Dalton on the soap opera All My Children. His other credits included Kojak, The Russia House, Law & Order, The Sopranos, Army Wives and, most recently, the HBO movie, The Wizard of Lies.
Legendary Hollywood stuntman and stunt coordinator Loren Janes died on June 24 at the age of 85. Janes was Steve McQueen's longtime stunt double and handled stunts for the likes of Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman, Robert Wagner, Jack Lemmon, Charles Bronson, Frank Sinatra, Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas and, believe it or not, Esther Williams and Debbie Reynolds. TOS twice tapped his talents, as he doubled William Shatner in "Charlie X" and Richard Tatro in "I, Mudd." Janes, in 1961, co-founded (with Dick Deary) the Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures and Television, and he was also the National Chair of the Screen Actors Guild Stunt and Safety Committee. Over the years, the former Marine amassed an impressive array of film and TV credits that included The Ten Commandments, The Magnificent Seven, The Getaway, Planet of the Apes, The Towering Inferno, Blazing Saddles, Escape from New York, Beverly Hills Cop, MacGyver, Wild at Heart, Out to Sea, The Practice, America's Sweethearts and Spider-Man. According to CNN, he won a Golden Boot, the Stuntmen Association's lifetime achievement award, in 2001, but in more recent years had battled Alzheimer's Disease.
Jack Blessing, who succumbed to pancreatic cancer on November 14 at the age of 66, played Dulmur, a particularly humorless Department of Temporal Investigations agent, in the DS9 episode "Trials and Tribble-ations." His many other credits included Heaven’s Gate, Family Ties, Moonlighting, The Golden Girls, The Naked Truth, Murder One, Profiler, The X-Files, George Lopez, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, and Mike & Molly. Blessing also lent his voice to countless projects, among them games, shows and movies spanning from Rambling Rose, The Chronicles of Riddick, Shrek Forever After and Bee Movie to Megamind, ParaNorman. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I and II, and the Chris Pine drama, Hell or High Water.