Whether it was a gold-armored Klingon, or an omnipotent being who forgot to factor in how long it takes light to travel, William Campbell could play just about anything.
The celebrated character actor, who appeared in both “Star Trek” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” died April 28. He was 87.
Campbell is probably best known to Trek fans as Trelane, the Q-like character who pestered the Enterprise crew in the 1967 episode “Squire of Gothos.” Trelane was actually later added to the Q Continuum, outside of canon, by author Peter David in his popular 1994 book “Q-Squared.”
He also appeared in one of “Star Trek’s” other famed episodes, “The Trouble With Tribbles,” playing the Klingon Koloth. It’s a role he would revive in 1994 for the DS9 episode “Blood Oath,” along with Michael Ansara as Kang and the late John Colicos as Kor. Campbell’s Koloth character was mentioned in the DS9 episode “Trials and Tribble-ations,” but did not appear.
Campbell got his acting start in 1950 as Concho in “The Breaking Point.” However, his big break would come in 1956 when he would star opposite Elvis Presley in “Love Me Tender.” In that film he played Brett Reno, and was the first actor to sing alongside the King of Rock and Roll.
In 1958, he would land the role of Jerry Austin in the truck driver series “Cannonball” that ran on ITC for 39 episodes. He would then be known for his character work the rest of the way in shows such as “Dementia 13,” “Wild Wild West,” “Bonanza,” “Gunsmoke,” and making his final appearance in a 1996 episode of “Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.”
Following the end of a successful acting career 15 years ago, Campbell would go on to raise money for the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s hospital, which helped to take care of elderly actors and crew members in the film industry. He ended up becoming a resident at the home in Woodland Hills, Calif., himself, where he passed away last month.
The home was supposed to have closed down in 2009 after reportedly losing $10 million a year, but has remained opened. Its residents have included DeForest Kelley, Larry Fine and Norman Fell among others.
Campbell is survived by his wife Tereza, whom he married in 1963. He had previously been married to Judith Exner between 1952 and 1958 (who claimed to have had an affair with President John F. Kennedy), and Barbara Bricker from 1960 to 1961.