Any actor would envy the career of Morgan Woodward, who died on February 22 at the age of 93, in Paso Robles, California. He was a two-time Star Trek: The Original Series guest star who, over the course of five decades, from the 50s to the 90s, amassed 400-plus film and television credits. Along the way, he played some mighty memorable roles, including Shotgun Gibbs on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Boss Godfrey in Cool Hand Luke, Jock Ewing’s pal Punk Anderson on Dallas and (Old) Harry Cokely on The X-Files.
But, perhaps most enduringly, he had the distinction of portraying two wild-eyed, emotionally volatile characters on Star Trek: The Original Series: Dr. Simon Van Gelder in “Dagger of the Mind” and Captain Ronald Tracey in “The Omega Glory.
Back in 2015, StarTrek.com interviewed Woodward, who marveled at the fact that with so many credits to his name, Star Trek is arguably his greatest claim to fame. “Star Trek is a cult, and any time you’ve got a cult, it continues and continues,” he noted. “They’re getting ready to do another Star Trek movie now and some of the original people could be in it. It just keeps going. So, no, it doesn’t surprise me. It doesn’t surprise me, not at all. The (conventions and autograph) shows that I’ve gone to, most of the people want me to sign pictures from Star Trek. I sign pictures from Dallas and the westerns and Cool Hand Luke, too. The Man with No Eyes from Cool Hand Luke is still very, very popular, and that’s almost 50 years, too. But it’s mostly Star Trek that people want me to sign pictures of, and I get that.”
Please join StarTrek.com in offering our condolences to Woodward’s family, friends, colleagues and fans.