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Surprising Robin Williams/Star Trek Connections

Surprising Robin Williams/Star Trek Connections, like the rest of the world, was deeply shocked and saddened by Robin Williams' death last week. Williams never appeared on Star Trek, but apparently Star Trek appeared on him. In fact, there are several Williams-Trek connections worth addressing in some detail.

First, though it's impossible to 100% confirm this, the Mork costume that Williams wore when playing his breakthrough character on Happy Days and later on the spin-off Mork & Mindy (when talking to Orson) was apparently a redress of the costume that Phillip Pine wore when he portrayed Colonel Green in The Original Series episode "The Savage Curtain."

Later, after Williams had graduated from guest star on Happy Days to series lead on Mork & Mindy, the Paramount wardrobe and prop departments recycled another familiar TOS costume or two. In one episode of Mork & Mindy, a character wore a costume consisting of both a space helmet from "The Tholian Web" and a protective suit from "The Naked Time." And let's not forget that Mork's Orkan greeting gesture very much resembled (and/or parodied) Spock's Vulcan greeting gesture. Na-Nu, Na-Nu, indeed.

And then there was the fourth-season Mork & Mindy episode "Mork, Mindy and Mearth Meet MILT." Mork and Mearth (Jonathan Winters) beam home, only to have William Shatner "crossbeam" between them. There's some playful banter before Shatner says, "Beam me up, Orson" and vanishes. Mork then comments, "Wait a minute. You've got to tell me if they kill off Spock or not." The episode aired on Feb. 18, 1982, several months before Spock was killed off (temporarily) in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which opened June 4 of that year.

Many years later, Williams -- who was a longtime Trek fan -- almost guest starred on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The role of Berlinghoff Rasmussen was written with Williams in mind, but the actor had to pass due to his commitment to playing Peter Pan in the movie Hook. Matt Frewer ultimately played Rasmussen and was terrific, but we can only imagine what Williams would have brought to the part.

Our thoughts are with Williams' family, friends and many, many fans.