Rene Auberjonois, 'Star Trek' and 'Boston Legal' Actor, Dead at 79

Rene Auberjonois, a prolific character whose career began during the 1960s, died on Sunday at his Los Angeles home. Auberjonois was best known for his roles in Benson, Boston Legal and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The actor was 79.

Auberjonois' son, Remy-Luc Auberjonis, told The Associated Press the cause of death was metastatic lung cancer.

The actor accumulated more than 200 credits in his resume, and earned a breakthrough role as Father John Mulcahy in Robert Altman's M*A*S*H. He also worked with Altman on Brewster McCloud, McCabe & Mrs. Miller and Images in the early 1970s.

Auberjonois was a different character for every generation of pop culture fan. During the 1980s, he was known for playing Clayton Runnymede Endicott III in Benson, which starred Robert Guillaume as the title butler. The series ran from 1980 to 1996.

In 1993, he joined the Star Trek family as the changeling Odo on Deep Space Nine, and played the role until 1999. He also appeared in an uncredited role in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) and starred in a 2002 episode of Star Trek: Enterprise.

Television fans in the 2000s got to know Auberjonois as Paul Lewiston in Boston Legal. Coincidentally, the series starred William Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk in the Star Trek franchise.

"I have just heard about the death of my friend and fellow actor [Rene Auberjonois]. To sum up his life in a tweet is nearly impossible. To Judith, Tessa & Remy I send you my love & strength. I will keep you in my thoughts and remember a wonderful friendship with René," Shatner tweeted after hearing of his friend's death.

Auberjonois last appeared on television as Walter Nowack in four 2016 episodes of CBS' Madam Secretary. In 2019, he returned to acting, appearing in the movies The Circuit, Windows on the World, Raising Buchanan and First Cow.

"Rene Auberjonois a true gentleman & passionate artist passed onto the next understanding & we will miss him so much. I was honored to have worked with him on Windows On The World, his second to last film. He delivered an amazing rendition of NY NY - a brilliant artist," Edward James Olmos tweeted.

Auberjonois earned two Emmy nominations in his career. In 1984, he was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor for Benson. In 2001, he earned a nod for playing a judge in The Practice episode "We Hold These Truths."


Survivors include his wife, writer Judith Auberjonois; son; daughter Tessa; three grandchildren; and his sisters Marie-Laure Degener and Anne Auberjonois.

Photo credit: Getty Images