StarTrek.com is saddened to report the passing of Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated set decorator John M. Dwyer, who counted among his many credits Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek Generations , Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek Nemesis. Dwyer died on September 15, at the age of 83. His wife, Anita, only confirmed yesterday to The Hollywood Reporter that Dwyer succumbed to complications of Parkinson's disease at a hospital in Encinitas, California.
Dwyer's dozens of film and television credits spanned decades, from the 1960s to the 2000s. He worked on everything from McHale's Navy, Night Gallery, Ellery Queen, Jaws, Coal Miner's Daughter and The Gangster Chronicles to The Thing (1982 version), Beverly Hills Cop, MacGyver, Terminator 2, Alien: Resurrection and Hollow Man. As for Star Trek, he joined The Original Series in 1967, during the show's second season, working on "The Trouble With Tribbles," for which he helped create the iconic furry creatures. He ultimately served as a set decorator on 38 episodes of TOS, sharing a 1969 Emmy nomination with Matt Jefferies for their art direction and scenic design on "All Our Yesterdays."
He returned to Trek in 1986 for The Voyage Home and then spent one season on TNG (during which he coined the word "Okudagram" for Michael Okuda's graphics), before working on The Final Frontier, Generation, First Contact, Insurrection and Nemesis.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dwyer was a Los Angeles native whose father and grandfather worked in Hollywood. He turned down a UCLA basketball scholarship in order to enlist in the U.S. Navy and spent time aboard the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany during the Korean War. Following his military service, Dwyer studied at the Chouinard Art Institute in L.A., which paved the way to a job, actually several of them, at Universal Studios. And his career took off from there. He retired to Encinitas in 2002, with Nemesis as his final screen credit.
"The first time I met John Dwyer was during pre-production for Star Trek IV," Michael Okuda told StarTrek.com. "I was on Stage 9, digging through some props to see if there was something we could use. John, who had no idea who I was, walked right up to me, introduced himself with a big smile, and we shook hands. I was in awe of this guy, whose creativity on The Original Series was legend."
"John," the legendary Herman Zimmerman told StarTrek.com, "was my decorator of choice."
Dwyer is survived by, among others, his wife of 29 years, Anita, and a son, Matthew. Please join StarTrek.com in offering our condolences to Dwyer's family, friends, colleagues and fans.