Monday, May 2, 2011

In Memorium: William Campbell

Although he appeared in many episodic television series, actor William Campbell achieved true cult status for his two guest-starring roles on the original Star Trek, appearing first as the mischievous super-being Trelane (partly in parody of Liberace, whom Campbell resembled), in an episode of the original series called "The Squire of Gothos". Campbell also appeared three times as the Klingon, Captain Koloth. Campbell first played Koloth on the original Star Trek series in the classic episode "The Trouble With Tribbles." He reprised the role of Koloth on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, some thirty years later. Campbell appeared at several Trek conventions in the 1980s and 1990s. His final such appearance occurred in 2006. He passed away from natural causes on Thursday at the age of eighty-seven.

His roles on the big screen opposite such notables as John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and Elvis Presley include Operation Pacific, Escape from Fort Bravo, The High and the Mighty, Battle Cry, Man Without a Star, Love Me Tender, The Naked and the Dead, Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte and Pretty Maids All in a Row.

The Catacombs extends its sincerest condolences to his family, friends and fans.


borky said...

Until now, Chuck, I never knew what this guy's name was, yet he was one of those actors with a peculiar quirky almost leprechaunesque charisma that left the few one off roles you tended to see him in forever imprinted on your psyche.

I haven't see The Squire of Gothos epsiode of Star Trek for - what? - thirty odd years, yet the character of Trelane flooded back to me the moment I glimpsed his picture.

Luck or fate's a strange thing, when far less gifted or powerful actors've gone on to become superstars, whereas the likes of William Campbell or, say, Stephen McHattie get to produce such a relatively miniscule body of work remembered by only a few cognoscenti.

At one stage I thought Lance Henriksen was headed for the same fate - but boy did he bloom when he got his big chance with Millennium; but even then there's so much more he could still achieve, given the backing.

Chuck Wells said...

I concur with your excellent remarks about Mr. Campbell and others. Other than his iconic Trek appearances, I particularly enjoy his role in "Escape From Fort Bravo", a topnotch western with William Holden, John Forsythe, William Demarest, Richard Anderson and Eleanor Parker.