Trelane and Koloth actor William Campbell dies at 84 |
jump to navigation

Trelane and Koloth actor William Campbell dies at 84 April 29, 2011

by Charles Trotter , Filed under: Celebrity,DS9,TNG , trackback

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,


1. jas_montreal - April 29, 2011


2. David C - April 29, 2011

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

3. LT, Bailey - April 29, 2011

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

4. Corinthian7 - April 29, 2011

RIP he brought some very entertaining characters to life.

5. SPOCKBOY - April 29, 2011

Good actor.
R.I.P. Trelane.

6. Iva - April 29, 2011

Počivaj u miru.

7. Christopher Roberts - April 29, 2011

“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.”

8. Shatoupee - April 29, 2011

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

9. dane - April 29, 2011

RIP, koloth was the best

10. vantheman77 - April 29, 2011

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.

11. Michael Hall - April 29, 2011

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.

12. Gabriel Bell - April 29, 2011

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

RIP, Trelane.

13. CmdrR - April 29, 2011

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.

14. I'm Cherokee Jack - April 29, 2011

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

15. rm10019 - April 29, 2011

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

16. Kirk's Flying Wig - April 29, 2011

RIP William Campbell.

17. Anthony Thompson - April 29, 2011

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

18. VZX - April 29, 2011

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

19. Dee - lvs moon' surface - April 29, 2011

R.I.P. … My condolence to his family…

20. Kristine M Smith - April 29, 2011

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

21. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - April 29, 2011

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

22. JKP - April 29, 2011

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.

23. John E. Kirk - April 29, 2011

“General Trelane…. Retired.”

Thanks for the good times…

24. Pensive's Wetness - April 29, 2011

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

25. Andy Patterson - April 29, 2011

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

26. Brian - April 29, 2011

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.

27. DWNicolo - April 29, 2011

Gone the way of dust….. RIP.

28. Chris Doohan - April 29, 2011

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

29. captain_neill - April 29, 2011

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

30. Commodore Ray - April 29, 2011

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.

31. Cosmo Kid - April 29, 2011

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

32. Lisa - April 29, 2011

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

33. ster j - April 29, 2011

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.

34. Kev-1 - April 29, 2011

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.

35. TDrake1701 - April 29, 2011

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

36. Dr. Image - April 29, 2011

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.

37. Markus McLaughlin - April 29, 2011

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!

38. Chain of Command - April 29, 2011

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.

39. Captain Archer - April 29, 2011

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

40. Vince - April 29, 2011

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

41. WannaBeatle - April 29, 2011

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

42. Gooseneck Viewer - April 29, 2011

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

43. Pro-Khan-Sel - April 29, 2011

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

R.I.P Mr. Campbell

44. Edwin - April 29, 2011

I am deeply saddened by this news….

45. Son of Sarek - April 29, 2011

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

46. TrekMadeMeWonder - April 29, 2011

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.


47. Iowagirl - April 29, 2011

RIP Mr. Campbell.

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

48. SED - April 30, 2011

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.

49. trekman_dave - April 30, 2011

Sad News, my to rest in peace

50. Rick - April 30, 2011

Rest in Peace, brother…..

51. John from Cincinnati - April 30, 2011

He had such a distinctive, great voice.


52. Tox Uthat - April 30, 2011

It is my understanding that he was also a contender for Picard when casting Next Gen.

53. MrRegular - April 30, 2011

R.I.P. Mr. Campbell
Prayers to the family.

Trelane was a tour de force. One of the most memorable episodes of TOS. Too bad his character didn’t make a second appearance in a later Trek episode or movie, after “maturing”. What would an encounter between a mature Trelane & Q have been like? That could have been the basis of at least one Trek adventure.
Campbell’s work as Koloth was also exceptional. It meant a lot to have him back again on DS9.

54. Tim - April 30, 2011

R.I.P. :( That voice and acting energy brought his Trek characters to life.I remember being a young kid in the early 70’s discovering TOS and his episodes/characters being some of the most memorable. I became a fan of his and the show. They should have brought him back on Next Gen as or with Q.

55. Lord Garth, Formerly of Izar - April 30, 2011

Very sad news
a terrific personality

56. J.C. England - formerly AnotherQ - April 30, 2011

Overly talented… he brought great originality
to Trelane (the basis for the Q character) and
Koloth, a memorable original Klingon…
So sorry to have not seen him in anything
recently. He will certainly be missed… :-(

57. Shatner_Fan_Prime - April 30, 2011

Campbell always seemed like a very genuine, kind man. The extras on the TUC DVD have him reminiscing fondly about De Kelley. Mr. Campbell even gets a bit choked up as he recalls presenting De with the “Golden Boot Award” for stars of classic westerns. Apparently, Campbell and Shatner were also close (in the 60s at least), as Campbell often talked about Shatner visiting his home as the two of them were developing a script.

Farewell to one of my favorite TOS guest stars and one of the “big 3″ of classic Klingons. Only Kang remains.

58. Jonboc - April 30, 2011

Such a talented actor. It’s always a treat when I’m watching an old series and the excellent, and always entertaining, Mr. Campbell rears his head. Rest in peace and thank you for bringng so any hours of joy to so many.

59. Pat Gleeson - April 30, 2011

RIP A sad loss – he brought to life two memorable characters – never to be forgotten :-(

60. Jai1138 - April 30, 2011

Good man, fine actor. I wish he could have played Kirk’s Klingon nemesis in a bunch more episodes… but we can always imagine. He tread the boards and he rocked as Trelane.

61. Let Them Eat Plomeek Soup - April 30, 2011

“The Squire Of Gothos” was one of the first TOS episodes I actually remember watching on TV. Trelane annoyed the hell out of me. But he did a great job.

R.I.P., W.C.

62. Locutus - April 30, 2011


63. sarek66 - April 30, 2011

I believe that Mr. Campbell was also rumored to have replaced Paul McCartney in the Beatles after McCartney supposedly died in 1966. The imfamous Paul is dead rumor. Great actor who played two great Star Trek characters. He will be sorely missed. R.I.P.

64. Starbase Britain - April 30, 2011

Very sadenned to hear this. The Squire of Gothos is still one of my favourite episodes. RIP Mr Campbell.


65. JimJ - April 30, 2011

What a bummer. Such a great actor to watch. He made a tremendous mark on Star Trek. RIP Trelane & Koloth!

66. Charles Trotter - April 30, 2011

I just wanted to give my sincerest condolences to Mr. Campbell’s friends and family. We have lost a great soul and a fine actor.

RIP William Campbell

67. Lousy Canadian - May 1, 2011

RIP Mr.Campbell, I was always a fan of your work.

68. Squire of Gothos - May 1, 2011

RIP. Sad news…

Hopefully JJ will play homage to the Squire in Trek 2!

69. Roiann Cooper - May 1, 2011

I had the pleasure to meet Mr. Campbell many years ago in Kansas City and was blown away buy this man who walked up to me and my Friends and simply said”HI! I’m Bill Campbell!!” He did not extend a hand but instead held out his arms for the most wonderful hug!!!! So gracious a man that will be Missed:*( God speed dear Squire!

70. Nick Cook - May 1, 2011

Very sad to hear. Rest in peace Mr Campbell.

71. Thomas Mower - May 1, 2011

Just read the news, You WILL be missed. I met Bill Campbell in 1977 at Equi-conIII/StarconI in San Diego. A wonderful Convention it was My first Convention. I was stationed at NAS North Island at the time. He dragged me and 2 Squadron mates to the Guests Party where we got to meet De Kelly Jimmy Doohan an Nichelle Nichol. My condolences to his family and friend.

72. Samuel - May 1, 2011

He really was one of those quintessential character actors. Sometimes you may not always remember the name, but you do remember the face and performance.

73. Steve - May 1, 2011

To me, he’ll always be the original Q!

74. Cheryl Morris - May 1, 2011

I met Bill Campbell at a convention in or near Baltimore, Maryland back in the 80s. He was very gracious.

75. Jay Sheridan - May 1, 2011

Rest in peace, great actor!

76. Andy Patterson - May 1, 2011

Interesting that this week’s episode on KFWD in Dallas is the Trelane episode. I actually think it was next in rotation. Just an interesting and fateful coincidence.

@71 Thomas, that’s a cool story.

77. DS9 IN PRIME TIME - May 2, 2011

A great warrior enters stovalkore… Rest in Eternal Peace

78. Gothtigger - May 3, 2011

;( Trelane was always and always will be my fave TOS character. RIP

79. Jim Nightshade - May 7, 2011

Remember the classic tos blooper where shatner imitates n mocks trelanes voice saying somethin like i will if you have the courage-hah a classic-rest in peace bill no relation to bruce campbell

80. Anthony Wangrocki - May 8, 2011

Condolences to the Family Of William Campbell. There was one movie that he made where he was a greenlight killer . I saw it as a young man and he scared the s— out of me Rip

81. Cathy - July 4, 2011

So sad to see the passing of my cousin. I followed him throughout his career and remember our childhood christmas times together in Belleville, N.J. He was such a fun loving guy..Your memories willl be held forever in my heart …

82. Red Sam Rackham - December 28, 2011

William Campbell was actually doing a hilarious Liberace impersonation when he portrayed Trelane.

83. T nicholas - April 27, 2012

i think we forgot boothby Mr. Walston died at the age of 86 on New Year’s Day 2001 in Beverly Hills, California on the start of the 21st century and after a 6-year battle with lupus. He was survived by his widow, Ruth, his daughter, Katherine Ann, and two grandchildren. Walston was cremated, and his ashes were given to his daughter, Kate. is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.