Rene Auberjonois, RIP

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I only got to meet Rene Auberjonois a couple of times at conventions we were both guests at. He was a sweet, engaging, fun guy. That same story is being told a lot, as he always was happy to engage with Trek fans, and was always a happy, friendly presence at a convention.

As an actor he was always a sign of quality. I first saw him in Robert Altman’s MASH, in the small role of Father “Dago Red” Mulcahy, and in Benson as Clayton Endicott III, which was probably the role he was best known for prior to being cast in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in 1992. In fact, I remember learning that Auberjonois would be in DS9 27 years ago and being thrilled beyond all imagining, because I knew he’d be amazing.

And he was. As he was in everything he was in, whether it was his two other Trek roles (in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and an episode of Enterprise), other genre shows (he had a delightful recurring role on Warehouse 13, and he had a particularly strong guest turn on an episode of Stargate SG-1), or in one of his many films with Altman (besides MASH, there was Brewster McCloud, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, and Images), or anywhere else (from Boston Legal to The Little Mermaid).

On the DS9 documentary What We Left Behind, Auberjonois said he was always grateful to be cast on a Trek TV show, because it meant that when he died, the headline wouldn’t be that the guy who played Clayton on Benson died. (The joke was on him — while pretty much every headline mentioned Trek, many also mentioned Benson, as well as MASH and/or Boston Legal.)

He was a great man — he was always using the money he made at conventions to raise money for Médecins Sans Frontièrs — and a great actor, and he will be gravely missed.

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