Star Trek: William Campbell Dies; Farewell Trelaine and Koloth

Star TrekAn actor who played two memorable villains from the original Star Trek series has died. William Campbell passed away on April 28th at the Motion Picture & Television Country Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. He was 84 years old.

Originally from Newark, New Jersey, Campbell appeared in several movies from the 1950s through the 1970s, including Love Me Tender (with Elvis Presley), Dementia 13, Operation Pacific, Battle Circus, The High and the Mighty, and Pretty Maids All in a Row.

The latter was written by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Campbell had worked with Roddenberry on two memorable episodes of Star Trek in the latter part of the 1960s. He played Trelane, an all-powerful being who had taken the form of a Liberace-like fop, “The Squire of Gothos.” He reprised the role for the Star Trek: Judgment Rites video game many years later.

Campbell’s other Trek role was playing an arrogant Klingon named Koloth for the memorable “The Trouble with Tribbles” episode. He reprised that role many years later in a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode called “Blood Oath.” He was one of the few actors to play the same role in both the original series and one of the spin-offs. Classic footage of Koloth was also incorporated in the Deep Space Nine episode “Trials and Tribble-ations.”

In addition to Trek, Campbell appeared on numerous TV shows like Adam-12, The Streets of San Francisco, Perry Mason, The Wild Wild West, Gunsmoke, Quincy M.E., and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. He also took part in the reunion movie The Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman. A part in a 1996 episode of Kung Fu: The Legend Continues was his last on-screen role.

Campbell is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years, Tereza. Donations in his memory can be made to the Motion Picture & Television Country Home and Hospital.

What do you think? How will you remember Campbell’s work?

Canceled and renewed TV show

9 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. robert r charpentier says

    William Campbell may have had a somewhat limited career but when he was on screen he was unforgetable. I will miss you Willy, you were loved by all us Trekkies as a true blue memory of the great episodes of TOS (the original series) as well as your other roles. Many people may not know that William Campbell also starred (actually was a lesser co-star) in the movie The People Against O’Hara (from 1951) starring Spencer Tracy and a very young James Arness (as the man O’Hara who was on trial). Campbell also starred with Kirk Douglas in a classic western in which he typically played the spoiled (just like the character Trelane in Star Trek) fop who Kirk ends up having to deal with after he gets a big head (also just like Trelane). Anyway farwell Willy you were a good one. Perhaps when I get to the Pearly Gates you’ll meet me dressed like Trelane. StocktonRob

    • Joy Marcus says

      Well stated. I was just listening to the Earwolf podcast and they mentioned Trelane. All these years later (I watched Star Trek for the first time in the 1970s), I heard the name Trelane and almost immediately remembered he was played by William Campbell. A memorable and engaging actor.

  2. warren keller says

    “Aw, but you said I could, you said I could!” Great, classic performance as The Squire of Gothos!

  3. M.Young says

    I remember seeing William’s various roles in films and always noted him to stand out from the crowd. His appearance & acting were out of the realm of the ordinary. He consistently gave a really noticable performance. Enjoyed his acting very much for many years. Bon Voyage, William.

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