(written from a Production point of view)
Brock Peters (2 July 1927 – 23 August 2005; age 78) was an accomplished veteran actor of stage, film, and television. He played Admiral Cartwright in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and later portrayed Joseph Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Life and career
Peters was born as George Fisher in New York City to African and West Indian parentage and began acting at the age of ten. He trained in his craft at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City. He studied physical education at the City College of New York, which he abandoned after landing a role in the opera Porgy and Bess in 1949.
Beyond the realm of Star Trek, Peters is probably best known for his performance as Tom Robinson, the black man unjustly accused and convicted of raping a white girl, in the classic 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird. His co-stars in this film included Star Trek: The Original Series guest actors Frank Overton, Paul Fix, William Windom, John Megna, and Richard Hale. On the set of that film, he struck up a lifelong friendship with star Gregory Peck, and delivered the eulogy at Peck's funeral in 2003.
Peters also became friends with actor Charlton Heston after working with him on several stage productions in the 1940s and 1950s. Peters later worked with Heston on three films: Major Dundee (1965), Soylent Green (1973), and Two-Minute Warning (1976).
Peters made his film debut in 1954's Carmen Jones, having dropped his birth name the previous year. He then made his Broadway stage debut as Ajali in the Martin Beck Theatre production of Mister Johnson in 1956. He performed in the Broadway Theatre two years later in the musical production The Body Beautiful.
Peters had a supporting role in the 1959 musical film Porgy and Bess, based on the stage opera which Peters had acted in ten years earlier. TOS actress Nichelle Nichols had a bit part in this film, while Loulie Jean Norman provided the singing voice of Diahann Carroll's character, Clara.
Peters attracted attention with his roles in The L-Shaped Room and the aforementioned To Kill a Mockingbird, both released in 1962. His subsequent film credits included The Pawnbroker (1964), the aforementioned Major Dundee, and Slaughter's Big Rip-Off (1973).
In 1967, Peters guest-starred on an episode of the hit action drama series Mission: Impossible, which, like TOS, was produced by Desilu Studios. The following year, Peters co-starred with TOS regular George Takei and TOS guest actors Davis Roberts and Malachi Throne in an episode of It Takes a Thief, directed by Marc Daniels.
In the 1973 science fiction film Soylent Green (photographed by Richard H. Kline), Peters portrayed Chief of Detectives Hatcher while fellow Star Trek alumni Whit Bissell, Robert Ito, Roy Jenson, Leigh Taylor-Young, and Celia Lovsky also had roles. That same year, Peters was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of South African minister Stephen Kumalo in the stage musical Lost in the Stars. He also won the 1972 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance. He reprised the role of Kumalo in the film version of Lost in the Stars in 1974.
Peters guest-starred on many television shows throughout the 1970s, including Mannix (directed by Corey Allen and co-starring Phillip Pine), The Virginian (in a 1970 episode with Walter Koenig), Gunsmoke (with Robert Pine), The Streets of San Francisco (with Roy Jenson and Kenneth Tobey), McCloud (with Terri Garr), and The Bionic Woman (with James B. Sikking). He also worked with Ed Lauter in a 1975 episode of Baretta (with Ron Soble) and in two episodes of Police Story in 1976.
In 1979, Peters was a guest star in one episode of the popular science fiction series Battlestar Galactica, in which his role of Chief Opposer Solon returned him to a courtroom setting, this time as a prosecutor. Later that year he was a part of the ensemble cast of the epic mini-series Roots: The Next Generations. His co-stars in this production included fellow Star Trek alumni Bernie Casey, Percy Rodriguez, John Rubinstein, Bruce French, Paul Winfield, and Bill Quinn.
In 1982, Peters became a regular on the CBS daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless, portraying the role of Frank Lewis until 1989. In the latter year, he was once again seen alongside his Star Trek film co-star William Shatner in the TV movie Broken Angel. Star Trek: Voyager regular Roxann Dawson also appeared in this production.
During his time on The Young and the Restless, Peters guest-starred on the mystery drama series Magnum, P.I. (along with Keone Young), Murder, She Wrote (with Lenore Kasdorf), and Cagney & Lacey (with Gregory Sierra). He also co-starred with John Schuck, Ben Vereen, and Alfre Woodard in the Fairie Tale Theatre production of Puss in Boots.
In 1990, the Screen Actors Guild awarded Peters a Life Achievement Award for decades of outstanding performances.  To date, Peters and Ricardo Montalban are the only Star Trek alumni to have received this honor.
Peters had a supporting role in the 1996 drama Ghosts of Mississippi. This film also featured Whoopi Goldberg, Susanna Thompson, Bill Smitrovich, Terry O'Quinn, Richard Riehle, Bill Cobbs, and Thomas Kopache. He again worked with Terry O'Quinn in the 2002 made-for-TV movie entitled The Locket.
Peters' rich, baritone voice was used on such animated shows as Challenge of the GoBots, DuckTales, Gravedale High, The Pirates of Dark Water, and Batman: The Animated Series. On the latter series, he voiced the recurring role of businessman Lucius Fox; other performers whose voices were heard in his episodes include Adrienne Barbeau, Ed Begley, Jr., Robert Costanzo, Gary Frank, John Glover, Loren Lester, Ron Perlman, David Warner, and aforementioned TOS regular Nichelle Nichols. He also lent his voice to three non-consecutive Hanna-Barbera produced action cartoon, either as a main or primary villain – he played Tormack in Galtar and the Golden Lance, Bloth in The Pirates of Dark Water, and Dark Kat in SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron (the latter alongside Barry Gordon).
In addition, Peters lent his voice to the character of Jomo in a 2000 episode of The Wild Thornberrys and in 2002's The Wild Thornberrys Movie, in which Alfre Woodard and Ethan Phillips also supplied voices. Peters even supplied the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars radio series (with David Clennon and Keene Curtis), making him one of the few actors to have worked in both the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises; coincidentally, James Earl Jones, who voiced Vader in the Star Wars films, was nearly cast as Joseph Sisko's son.
Peters made his final acting appearance in the 2005 episode of JAG entitled "Bridging the Gulf". This episode also featured his fellow Trek performers David Andrews, Erick Avari, Scott Lawrence, Zoe McLellan, Phil Morris, and Jennifer Savidge.
Peters died of pancreatic cancer on 23 August 2005 in Los Angeles, California. He was 78 years old.
Star Trek appearances
As Admiral Cartwright
As Joseph Sisko
- Star Trek: Starfleet Command III as General Mi'Qogh (voice)
Star Trek interview
- "The Other Darth Vader", Tom Weaver, Starlog, issue 234, January 1996, pp. 32-35