Doctor Who

Trelane and Koloth actor William Campbell dies at 84

William Campbell, who portrayed the god-like child Trelane and Klingon warrior Koloth on the original Star Trek, has passed away at the age of 84. TrekMovie has confirmed that Campbell died last night at the Motion Picture & Television County Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California following a long illness. See below for more on Campbell and his career.

 

Campbell’s Trek: From Child to Klingon

Campbell made his debut to the Star Trek universe in the 1967 original series episode “The Squire of Gothos” as Trelane, a powerful yet puerile being who turned out to be nothing more than a spoiled child. The following season, he played Klingon commander Koloth in fan-favorite “The Trouble with Tribbles.” (Koloth also appeared in the animated episode “More Tribbles, More Troubles,” but he was voiced by James Doohan.) Campbell reprised the role as Koloth nearly twenty-seven years later in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Blood Oath.” He was one of the three core original series Klingons to appear in “Blood Oath;” the others were Kor, played by the late John Colicos, and Kang, played by Michael Ansara. Campbell also played Koloth in the video game Star Trek: Judgment Rites, but, unlike Colicos’ Kor and Ansara’s Kang, he did not appear in any subsequent Star Trek episodes.


Campbell as Trelane & Koloth on TOS & Koloth on DS9

Campbell’s life and career

Campbell was born in Newark, New Jersey, on October 30, 1926. He made his feature acting debut in Michael Curtiz’ 1950 film noir The Breaking Point, and continued working steadily as a character actor until the late 1970s. He had supporting roles in several classic films, including Operation Pacific (1951), Escape from Fort Bravo (1953), The High and the Mighty (1954), Battle Cry (1955), The Naked and the Dead (1958), and Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964). He also co-starred in Elvis Presley’s first feature, 1955’s Love Me Tender, becoming the first actor to ever sing with Presley in a motion picture. One of his few leading roles was in the Roger Corman-produced 1963 cult horror-thriller Dementia 13, which was the first film directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

Star Trek was not the last time Campbell worked with series creator Gene Roddenberry; one of his last features was the 1971 caper comedy Pretty Maids All in a Row, which Roddenberry wrote and produced. This film also reunited Campbell with TOS regular James Doohan. Additionally, Campbell appeared on seen on such TV shows as Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Streets of San Francisco, Quincy, M.E., and Ironisde. He retired from acting in 1996; his appearance on Deep Space Nine was one of his last two acting jobs.

More on Campbell
IMDb profile
Memory Alpha article
StarTrek.com,

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
jas_montreal
April 29, 2011 2:11 pm

R.I.P

David C
April 29, 2011 2:12 pm

Very sad news. RIP, my dear Captain Koloth. :(

LT, Bailey
April 29, 2011 2:16 pm

The passing of another great ST actor…very sad news indeed. He will be missed. I really enjoyed his western films too.

Corinthian7
April 29, 2011 2:16 pm

RIP he brought some very entertaining characters to life.

April 29, 2011 2:21 pm

Good actor.
R.I.P. Trelane.

April 29, 2011 2:23 pm

Počivaj u miru.

April 29, 2011 2:25 pm

“The Squire of Gothos” is next up in my playlist of episodes to watch. :(

Some great Trelane quotes –

“Make the most of an uncertain future, enjoy yourself today. Tomorrow… may never come at all.”

“Oh, how absolutely typical of your species – you don’t understand something so you become fearful.”

Shatoupee
April 29, 2011 2:36 pm

Anyone remember Campbell’s Fantasticon conventions? He was a great guest at Trek conventions. A much beloved Trek actor. RIP.

dane
April 29, 2011 2:39 pm

RIP, koloth was the best

vantheman77
April 29, 2011 2:41 pm

William Campbell had created a couple of memorable roles in both Trelane and Koloth. Trelane was the forerunner of Q. He will be missed by his family, friends, and the Star Trek community around the world. Thanks for giving us memorable Star Trek episodes.

Michael Hall
April 29, 2011 2:43 pm

Man, bummer. Two very different roles in two signature TOS episodes. (The DS9 outing wasn’t too shabby either, though he played Koloth very differently there.) The humorous rivalry between Koloth and Kirk was particularly refreshing–more due to Campbell’s take on the role, I think, than anything inherent in David Gerrold’s script–and would have been welcome had the character become a recurring guest role as had been discussed.

I’m pretty sure I saw Mr. Campbell once or twice at conventions back in the day, and he was always a lively and funny presence onstage. (Plus, we both apparently share the dubious honor of having been born in Newark.) Peace.

Gabriel Bell
April 29, 2011 2:45 pm

“Wait! I won’t have this! I haven’t dismissed you yet! Stop it!! I won’t have this!!”

RIP, Trelane.

CmdrR
April 29, 2011 3:13 pm

I’m happy to say I’ve seen several of William Campbell’s other performances (including some wierd 60’s b/w thing where he’s a murderous painter) but yes, Trelane is his best, a tour de force.

“He’s not a child, he’s thirty-four!”

My best to his family.

April 29, 2011 3:30 pm

The ranks are thinning…
Thank you,Mr. Campbell, for gracing Trek with your talent and helping to make it memorable.

rm10019
April 29, 2011 3:42 pm

A real talent and true gentleman from all accounts. A true loss for all us fans.

Kirk's Flying Wig
April 29, 2011 3:44 pm

RIP William Campbell.

Anthony Thompson
April 29, 2011 3:45 pm

Loved Trelane as created by Mr. Campbell. One of the most memorable characters on TOS.

VZX
April 29, 2011 3:55 pm

Awww…he was awesome. RIP. I’m sure sto’vo’kor will welcome this honorable man.

Dee - lvs moon' surface
April 29, 2011 3:56 pm

R.I.P. … My condolence to his family…

April 29, 2011 4:08 pm

A good man! My heart and prayers go out to his wife Tereza.

Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire
April 29, 2011 4:09 pm

He will be Sorely Missed. Genreal Trelene is now Retired and Capt Kolof is in Stofokor. William Cambell is in Heaven. RIP!.

JKP
April 29, 2011 4:15 pm

We all grew up watching the TOS actors over and over and over such that they seem almost like part of the family. Makes is so sad when they pass away.

John E. Kirk
April 29, 2011 4:19 pm

“General Trelane…. Retired.”

Thanks for the good times…

Pensive's Wetness
April 29, 2011 4:30 pm

Today was a good day to die, for some, i suppose… :/

April 29, 2011 4:33 pm

Great prescence. Loved Trelane. The original, better Q.

Brian
April 29, 2011 4:53 pm

Stovorkor… beware a Warrior is on his way… Koloth is commanding a battle cruiser in the Black Fleet.

RIP Bill, thanks for all the good times. Really enjoyed your performances over the years. May you family know peace in the sorrowful time.

DWNicolo
April 29, 2011 5:00 pm

Gone the way of dust….. RIP.

Chris Doohan
April 29, 2011 5:05 pm

William, “Bill” was a long time friend of our family, he will surely be missed. My condolences go out to his family.

captain_neill
April 29, 2011 5:23 pm

Really sad to hear of the passing of Bill Campbell. RIP

Commodore Ray
April 29, 2011 5:49 pm

No.. a real shame, “Uncle” Bill was a wonderful man. Back in the 90’s, we (wife and I) met him on one of Joe Motes’ SeaTrek cruises and also one of Joe’s Vulkon conventions. He was a wonderful actor in a variety of roles, including the ones we know and love the best. He will be missed, but NOT FORGOTTEN.
Rest in peace, Uncle Bill.

Cosmo Kid
April 29, 2011 6:01 pm

Trelane is one of my favorite Star Trek villains. RIP Squire.

Lisa
April 29, 2011 6:18 pm

My very favorite Star Trek baddie. He was a one of a kind.

ster j
April 29, 2011 6:50 pm

He will live on in our memories. Loved his revamped Koloth in DS9–such a tragic character. Rest in peace, and consolation to your family.

Kev-1
April 29, 2011 7:19 pm

I think he also tested for Picard;read that somewhere. He was definitely one of those actors whose performance in a “character” part could frequently eclipse the lead. Sorry to hear this. He did enjoyable work.

TDrake1701
April 29, 2011 7:41 pm

RIP Mr Campbell – Thoughts and prayers to family of course.
He shall surely hold a place in Sto’Vo’Kor

Dr. Image
April 29, 2011 7:44 pm

On Seatrek ’93, he performed a renewal of vows ceremony aboard the Britanis.
It was our one year anniversary, to the day- May 16. It was a day my wife and I will never forget.
He was a wonderful guy. I just read this news… damn.
Oh well… RIP Bill.

April 29, 2011 8:18 pm

God Bless William Campbell, I re-watched Squire of Gothos the other day. He was the original Q and will always remain so! I would have wanted to meet him at a convention, he was a very kind man. He will be missed!

Quapla, Koloth, I hope you died well!

Chain of Command
April 29, 2011 8:30 pm

People really need to check out his non-Star Trek work from back in the day. He had a really interesting career and worked with a lot of the “greats” in film history.

Captain Archer
April 29, 2011 9:05 pm

Very sad news indeed, he was an awesome actor and a joy to watch.

Vince
April 29, 2011 9:23 pm

Thanks for the good times and wonderful performances. You made our lives richer. We will remember…

April 29, 2011 9:36 pm

I’ve dug his style of acting, too. He had a very playful way of doing things..quite entertaining.

Gooseneck Viewer
April 29, 2011 10:22 pm

Too bad…really enjoyed his work on Trek, but no one lives forever…:-(

Pro-Khan-Sel
April 29, 2011 10:23 pm

Greetings and Felicitations!” “Hip hip hoorah. Tallyho!

R.I.P Mr. Campbell

Edwin
April 29, 2011 10:28 pm

I am deeply saddened by this news….

Son of Sarek
April 29, 2011 11:01 pm

Just watched “Squire of Gothos” in his memory. He didn’t do anything wrong, he was just playing…

April 29, 2011 11:04 pm

An amazing contribution to our Trek world. So many memorable performances.

However, I never realized he was Koloth. But then again you could put a pair of sunglasses on and I would not recognize you.

Peace.

Iowagirl
April 29, 2011 11:08 pm

RIP Mr. Campbell.

Loved him on TOS and will always remember his most entertaining performances of Trelane and Koloth!

SED
April 30, 2011 3:50 am

Anyone who could pull off two of the most memorable – and unique – guest characters on the same program, without significant makeup, proves their bona fides as an actor. Mr. Campbell helped make the “Trek” universe that much more rich, and it was only a small sampling of his talents. He will be missed.

trekman_dave
April 30, 2011 4:57 am

Sad News, my to rest in peace

April 30, 2011 5:36 am

Rest in Peace, brother…..

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