René Auberjonois, Odo From ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,’ Has Died At 79

TrekMovie is deeply sad to report that actor René Auberjonois, who played Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for all seven seasons, has died of metastatic lung cancer at age 79.  His son Rèmy-Luc confirmed the sad news, and said that René died at his home in Los Angeles.

Auburjonois had a long and amazing career even before taking on the unforgettable role of Odo on DS9.  He began in in theater, landing his first Broadway role in 1968 and soon appearing in three plays simultaneously, alongside future DS9 co-star Frank Langella.  He eventually became a director as well.

In the movies, he was Father Mulcahy in the original film version of MASH,  as well as dozens of other films, including his first appearance in the Star Trek franchise as Colonel West in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, although the role was initially cut for the theatrical release. Kids of all ages will remember him as Louis the Chef in Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

He appeared on dozens upon dozens of TV shows, and was a regular on three: In addition to playing Odo, he was Clayton Runnymede Endicott III in Benson and Paul Lewiston on Boston Legal. He provided voices for numerous animated characters in cartoons and video games, and guest-starred on Enterprise as Ezral in the episode “Oasis,” He was also a director.

Fans who were fortunate enough to meet him at Trek conventions helped him raise money for his favorite charity, Doctors Without Borders. He signed his autographs with a drawing of Odo’s bucket, and often posted the drawings along with happy fans holding them on social media.

We mourn the loss of this great actor and human being, who played Odo with such grace, depth, humor, and complexity as he fought for justice, struggled with his identity, discovered his origins, fell in love, and sacrificed for those he loved, trading verbal quips and insults with Quark at every step along the way. Our sincerest condolences to his friends and family. We are heartbroken.

 

René’s final tweet:

 

Rene Auberjonois as Odo

René Auberjonois  – June 1, 1940 – December 8, 2019

 

 

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OdoForever

Very sad. Didn’t even know he was sick. Him and Aron in 3 months, the DS9 family must be in a lot of pain right now.

Who cares

We also lost Robert Walker Jr. aka Charlie Evans in TOS’s Charlie X.

PEB

Marina Sirtis lost her husband yesterday as well. Such sad news…

Captain Hackett

RIP, Rene. Thank you for the great memories on DS9, Benson and Boston Legal. :(

JAGT

He was also the only tolerable thing about Police Academy 5… and to call anything about that movie “tolerable” means a lot!

Vantheman77

Rene has appeared in both Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and Deep Space Nine as Odo. He will be missed by Star Trek fans. RIP

JAGT

Oh for cryin out loud. What’s going on these days? Aron Eisenberg, Dorothy Fontana and now René – what a terrible three months for Trek fandom and the TV world in general!

Harry Ballz

So many members of the Trek family are passing away. Time IS the fire in which we burn.

AstroTheGamosian

No, time is a companion that goes with us on our journey and tells us to cherish every moment… because they will never come again. So let us cherish the moments we had with René Auberjonois whenever he graced our movie or television screen.

Matt Holley

So damn true

TG47

All the more reason to be grateful that the DS9 documentary was made and released.

Indeed. I am glad that he and Aron both got to see the documentary before they passed.

Devastating news. We’ve lost such a talented actor who played a character whom so many can relate to. He was great on DS9 and so many other series. Farewell Odo.

Mike Piller

Very sad. RIP Odo.

Dr Zaius

My heart goes out to the DS9 family. Loosing two of their own in so short a time is tragic. RIP Rene you were awesome.

JimG

So sad

Sully

Terrific actor, with such a wide and impressive range. My goodness – to have conveyed even the most subtle of emotions under all of that makeup. Very upset to hear of his passing.

ShaunieB

This sucks. Star Trek is my biggest love in this world. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is my favourite show. And Constable Odo my favourite character. He was distant, stern, sarcastic, dedicated to his job and an outsider. To those who didnt know him he was a cold character; but to those lucky few he allowed into his bubble he was warm, kind, caring and above all loyal.

The character of Odo made a massive impression on me as a young man who felt completely on the fringes of all society. I never fit it. I never felt like “one of the lads”. I was not smart enough to be a science nerd. I was too uncoordinated for sport. I was too shy for Drama etc But through Odo I saw that none of that mattered. The only thing I had to be in life was the best version of me that I could be. As he struggled to find “his place” in the universe, I too was struggling to find my place as well.

And I know it may seem stupid to give all this meaning to a character in a TV show but I honestly believe most of us have “that one show”, “that one movie”, “that one singer” or “that one character” who we see ourselves reflected in and connect too. And as a 14/15 yr old Star Trek fan that character just happened to be a misanthropic, sarcastic, cards close to his chest shapeshifter lol And it was Rene Auberjonois’ performance in every moment that captured that connection for me, and allowed me to see so much of myself in a character who couldn’t have been more different than I was and yet also very similar to who I was becoming.

So tonight I raise a glass to you fine sir and steal the following line from a fellow Odo admirer; “What’re you talking about? That man loves me! Couldn’t you see? It was written all over his back”.

Michael Hall

You’re very eloquent in your praise and sorrow. I’m sure Mr. Auberjonois would appreciate that he was able to provide the hope and inspiration you needed in life through his work, even more than the praise. Pass that on in whatever way you can, as your way of repaying that debt which can never be repaid. Peace.

Just me

ShaunieB
Same here… I went through the same thing and related to Odo immensly. I also had my Major Kira growing up, your In-the-Friend-Zone unreachable woman… and again, for Odo and for myself it turned out ok at the end. We both got them… :-) and I always get tears in my eyes when I watch “His Way”

With the Picard show coming up, I somehow had hopes they revisit the character I so looked up to.

RIP Rene, thank you for giving that wonderful character life, you’ll be missed.

noraa

What a great actor, and an even better person. He played Odo with unmatched skill and grace, creating one of the most compelling characters in all of Star Trek. This is a painful loss.

Schultz

I applaud you, Mr. Auberjonois. Thank you for the wonder.

Mel

RIP. He was such a great actor.

Garth Lorca

RIP. Great, wonderful actor who was perfect for the role he played.

This marks a a truly historic moment for the Star Trek franchise. It’s the very first time a main actor from one of the “modern” Star Trek products dies (apart from Yelchin’s lethal accident and Eisenberg, who did NOT play a main character).

I guess, this shows how important it is we finally get PICARD as a revival for that era. It’s the final chance for this generation of Trek actors to reprise their beloved roles…

DarExc

Sad for his family. I enjoyed watching DS9 quite a lot and no small part of that was his portrayal of Odo. RIP

DeanH

So sad to hear another member of the Star Trek family has passed on. Rene did amazing work as Odo on DS9 and he obviously cherished being a member of the Trek alumni. I forgot all about his “Battling Bickersons” scene in M*A*S*H that made me laugh as a teenager and he definitely will be remembered by fans and myself as Odo, an outsider who battled to be accepted by his friends, co-workers and his home world and one who struggled with his feelings for Kira. R.I.P. Rene and don’t worry, Odo is who you will be remembered for by me and so many others, not for your role on Benson.

Tiger2

Wow this is devastating! To lose such a great actor and guy in general. And our second DS9 actor in the same freaking year along with Aaron Eisenberg. :(

I still remember seeing him at Star Trek convention back in 1996 (my very first Star Trek convention in fact) with other DS9 actors Nana Visitor, Armin Shimerman and Terry Farrel. He sung the song from The Little Mermaid he played in as his character on stage. The crowd went wild! And he was so funny and easy going, the complete opposite of Odo lol.

It’s been a rough few months for the Trek community. He will be missed greatly.

TrekMD

I am thankful that I got to meet him more than once at conventions. I loved that he had Odo’s bucket at his table when he came. I’m sad to learn of this and that he had lung cancer. My heart goes to his family and friends. Rene, rest in peace. You will always be remembered…

kmart

Even when he was in pap like the 76 KONG or a disco ep of CHARLIE’S ANGELS, he still never phoned it in. Definitely a class act. BOSTON LEGAL and DS9 were my faves of his, though he was very good in the Altmans as well.

Lodged Torpedo

RIP Rene.

Poor Marina’s husband just passed away in his sleep last night. Sad day for Trekdom. 🖖

TG47

Thanks for letting us know that Marina Sirtis is also bereaved.

Heavy hearts in Trekdom indeed.

TrekMD

I didn’t know about this. A sad day indeed. My condolences to Marina and family.

Citation, please?

Tim

Marina has tweeted about this being true. https://mobile.twitter.com/Marina_Sirtis

TechNoir

It’s on Marina’s Twitter page.

I saw that, yet that information is nowhere else. Hopefully this either gets confirmed or cleared up.

TG47

Phil, there’s no reason to believe that Marina’s verified official Twitter account has been hacked.

She said in the message that she was signing off for a bit, including Cameo. There’s been no further messages on her Twitter or other accounts which would be unlikely if it were hacked.

Newspaper death announcements in the US might be the only official place you might find a confirmation.

Sites like Startrek.com are usually pretty good about putting up life events of those close to the franchise. So far, nothing. Absent any other information, it’s just as likely that her account was compromised. I’d hope the mods here could comment on this, one way or the other. I’d not want to be spreading this kind of rumor, knowing the pain it could cause, if there were any reason at all to believe it was fake. If it’s not, then clearly condolences to the family are in order.

Marina tweeted it. It’s legit.

TG47

Phil, I don’t have a lot of confidence in the official Star Trek social media team this week.

While StarTrek.com has posted about Rene Auberjonois under news, they haven’t management to tweet their own news story on their Twitter account and it’s 3 days since his death.

CBSAA Twitter is carrying on tone-deafedly with promotional tweets and no mention of Rene.

There seems to be a 3 working day lag on tweeting. It all has the air of a gridlock in corporate approval processes. My guess is that it has do do with short run PR restrictions arising from the ViacomCBS merger.

In the meantime, it reflects poorly on ViacomCBS for Variety and new wire services to have a obituaries up for two days and no recognition from TPTB.

We can’t count on them to verify and get the word out.

PaUl

Rene was also so very good & memorable as a camp friend of Faye Dunaway in the classic late 1970’s TV movie The Eyes of Laura Mars!

Just saw that movie for the first time this year. He’s so great in it.

Luke Montgomery

So sad. The highlight of my day one afternoon in Los Angeles in 1994 was when the gas guy came to fix a leak and told me that the customer he just saw before me was Rene. He told me how nice and funny he was. The gas guy was a fellow Trek fan so we both geeked out about it. It’s an odd, tangential connection, I know, but it was my first brush with what would be many moments like that and later on the sets of the shows themselves. You always remember your first. Au revoir, René.

That is a lovely anecdote, Luke… thanks for sharing. :)

Quinton Chloe

My love for you was the most a stranger could ever feel toward a stranger; strong, hardy, but faraway. Your love for us all made my love for you barely a drop in the river; passionate, proactive, and near and dear to our every heart.

Godspeed, Rene.

Tim

Founder, you honored us with your presence. Rejoin the great link and be at peace.

Gary 8.5

My first thought as well.

i'mpaul

Damn. A looot of people are going to be feeling this one. Sad.

Cygnus-X1

Sad to learn of this, but, all good things. . .

And, at least we still have his work. His contributions to DS9 were major, and, as noted above, he had a long career prior to DS9.

Dr C

So sad to hear this.

One of my favourite moments was when he appeared on Family Guy as Odo ripping on Stewie’s cousin Quark Griffin…! There are too many DS9 and Boston Legal memories to mention.

RIP René.

Lukas

This hurts like hell. Especially when you see how much he meant to those who knew him best.

This has been a hard three months for the Star Trek family. René was a funny guy, a terrific actor, and a wonderful human being. I already adored him for his beautifully iconic portrayal of Odo (not to mention his vast body of non-genre work), but when I found out several years ago that he was a longtime supporter of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) my admiration increased an order of magnitude.

The world has lost one of the good guys. My deepest sympathies and condolences to René’s family, friends, and his countless millions of fans.

Michael K

This is so tragic and sudden, it feels like we just saw him in good health and full of life! This is another reminder to cherish the time we have with those we love, this year has been tough. This also marks the first time we’ve lost a member of the TNG/DS9/VOY/ENT era main cast, I’m grateful the DS9 doc was finished this year so we could look back one last time at the entire cast together. RIP Rene and Aron!

Long Live Odo

Most people (present company excluded) do not understand the challenge of taking on an untested character such as Odo, but René Auberjonois exceeded anyone’s expectations for the character. He follows a long line of Shakespearean Actors who have made their characters legendary in the world of ‘Trek. Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, etc. Star Trek is deeply layered with culture, and it’s because of truly stellar performers like René Auberjonois.
His contributions to the world will forever be remembered.
My heart goes out to his close friends and family. I am sorry for your loss.

LOFC_Ed

So sad to hear this :(

RIP Constable.

Calculon

So sad so many deaths this week just this morning Marina Sirtis announced her husband Michael passed in his sleep last night

kmart

I caught an old IRONSIDE episode last night, and was kind of amazed at how nearly every guest star — Andy Robinson, George Murdock,
Bill Zuckert, Ken Lynch, Tige Andrews and Michael Strong– was a Trek alum … and then I realized all of them except Robinson were now dead.

Rhett Coates

I met Rene at a GalaxyCon show in Richmond, Va. earlier this year: we talked about his various roles, especially Odo – and also his role in the 1970 movie “M*A*S*H” which inspired the TV series. He had one of the best / most memorable lines in that or any other movie – one that pretty much summed up the entire storyline and answered why some people end up in wars…. Maj. Margaret ‘Hot Lips’ O’Houlihan (Sally Kellerman, who portrayed Dr. Dehner in TOS’s second pilot) had just been humiliated by the guys, particularly Hawkeye Pierce (Donald Sutherland), and demanded, in outrage, to know how anyone with his mentality could ever achieve a position in ANY army as a surgeon. Rene, as Father John Mulcahy, responded, simply, “He was drafted.” (LOL) Rene said he actually made up that line himself and the director liked it enough to include it in the picture. And – may I say Rene LOVED TO LAUGH, and was extremely gracious to everyone at the Convention; I won’t forget him, ever. May he rest in peace, and may he Live Long and Prosper in the next life.

Danpaine

Strange, just Friday night the series finale of DS9 was playing on H&I, and I watched the scene where Odo morphs into a tuxedo to part with Kira and wade into the ‘water,’ waving goodbye to her. Very poignant scene, and now this happens. What a rough few weeks in the Trek world with regard to losses. RIP, all.

Alec Grimes

And Marina Sirtis husband died in his sleep last night. Condolences to all.

Alec Grimes

Always thought we would see his character again. But in hindsight…what we leave behind is the perfect sendoff for his character.

ML31

Tough few months for the Trek family. I echo the sentiments mentioned above. I’ve heard nothing positive things about the guy over the last few decades. Condolences to all who knew him.

TG47

Yes, a tough few months for the fan community, and the community of 90s Trek actors.

Nana Visitor’s eulogy of Rene published by Variety really shows her respect for his craft and his humanity as well as a true friendship. The DS9 company sounds to have been one of the strongest of all the Trek shows, and while the other actors were aware Rene’s time was drawing short, it must leave be a tremendous gap.

The outpouring here and on other fan sites and many media outlets shows that the connections to the characters and the actors who brought them to life are enduring.

I appreciate how quickly TrekMovie was able to get this story and thread up so that we could express and share our remembrances.

This is all the more important since the official Star Trek site is not a board where we can respond, and the CBSAA Twitter site seems to have switched to only promoting current shows and managed to get through the end of Monday without acknowledging Rene’s passing even with a tweet of the official site’s story.

Alec Grimes

Sending love to Marina Sirtis ( counceler Deanna Troi ) who’d husband died in his sleep at 61 years of age last night.

John Bigbootee

Godspeed, and thank you, Mr. Auberjonois.

Gary 8.5

A Life Well Lived is its own reward.

DaddlerTheDalek

RIP René Auberjonois…

Jimmy Norris

That’s truly heartbreaking. I had slim hope that some future series would explore the current state of the Dominion. But with Odo it might not work.

Jai

This is very sad news.

There are many brilliant DS9 scenes that come to mind when you think of René Auberjonois. Sisko and Odo quietly talking while Odo is experiencing alcohol for the first time. Odo’s story arc with Kira. His arc with the female Founder during the Dominion War. His banter and one-upmanship with Quark. His final scene, wearing a tux. Many more. We all have our favourites.

This wasn’t unique to René on DS9, but I’ve been trying to identify the “extra something” he brought to his performance. The answer is “gravitas”. René treated the role and the setting with absolute seriousness and imbued the performance with a level of sincerity that gave the character dignity and realism. Not easy at all when it involves a fictional shapeshifting alien, in a rubber mask, in the most notoriously nerdy sci-fi franchise of all. And yet, René pulled it off, so that Odo not only commanded respect from viewers but believably commanded respect in the Trek universe too.

René’s performance on the peerless Boston Legal was also superb, of course.

There was one major difference between Odo and René in real life. It’s something you notice when you see photos of René, especially at conventions etc: The genuinely kind gaze and the smiling and the laughter, always, from a man who clearly triggered the same heartwarming reaction in everyone around him. Admit it, when you think of René’s expression in those photos, you’re finding yourself smiling right now.

I take no credit for the following eloquent statement, as someone else on Twitter quoted it when news broke of René passing away. However, it is a particularly appropriate description now: “The drop has become the ocean”.

My condolences to René Auberjonois’s family and friends. May he rest in peace.

Baxter

Great actor, great role. RIP in the Great Link, friend.

Harry Ballz

It’s just been announced that William Shatner is divorcing his wife! The guy is 88. Holy crap!

Baxter

Is…is this a reply to an RIP thread? :o

Harry Ballz

I already expressed my condolences above. I was simply sharing news on the latest thread.

Just a touch off topic there….

Marja

I was sad to learn of his death. He brought such depth to Odo. The sarcastic smile he saved for Quark, the sweet smile for those he cared for, the impatience with process, the love of justice, the many complexities of being a Changeling in a Solids universe, the loneliness, the defensive prickliness from being a lonely person. Considering his makeup was painful to wear [per something he said in What We Left Behind] I have that much more respect for him. His body language and voice were fine instruments that helped him express so much in Odo.

What an actor! I will miss him.

Markus

RIP :( :(

I Just realized DS9 isn’t one of the nee Shows anymore. Although it still feels Like the Most modern ST Show with its development in Story Arc and Characters.

And I Just realized WE never will See anything from DS9 anymore, certainly Not from Odo.

A great actor is eine :(

tacotuesday

You will be greatly missed Rene.