(written from a Production point of view)
John Colicos (10 December 1928 – 6 March 2000; age 71) was a Canadian actor who played Kor, the first major Klingon seen on Star Trek. As such, Colicos defined the look of the Star Trek: The Original Series Klingons – mustachioed menaces in the Genghis Khan mold. Originating the role in the first season episode "Errand of Mercy", Colicos was to return as Kor in both "The Trouble with Tribbles" and "Day of the Dove", but scheduling conflicts made this impossible. Regardless, he was able to reprise the role of Kor several more times on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
In a career that spanned over five decades, Colicos performed in nearly one hundred film and television projects. His appearance as Kor in the Deep Space Nine episode "Once More Unto the Breach" in 1998 was among his last acting roles. Less than two years afterward, Colicos died in his hometown of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, following a series of heart attacks. He was 71 years old.
Outside of Star Trek, Colicos is well-known for his role in another popular science fiction series, Battlestar Galactica. Fans of this series remember Colicos as the traitorous Count Baltar, who sold out humanity to the evil Cylons. Soap opera fans from the eighties may recall him as Mikkos Cassadine with wife Helena portrayed by Constance Towers, a madman bent on destroying General Hospital's Port Charles. He was also among the regulars of the earlier soap opera The Secret Storm. Others who have starred in this latter show include fellow Trek alumni as Bibi Besch, Cliff DeYoung, Laurence Luckinbill, and Diana Muldaur.
Colicos has many other television appearances to his credit. In 1957, he appeared with fellow TOS guest star David Opatoshu in an episode of Studio One, and in 1962, he co-starred with fellow future Klingon actor Christopher Plummer (General Chang in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "Cyrano De Bergerac". (He co-starred with Plummer again in the 1988 film Shadow Dancing.) Colicos and Plummer are only a few of the many Star Trek actors with training and experience at Canada's Stratford Festival; William Shatner is also among them.
These early appearances were followed by three guest spots on Mission: Impossible, including one episode which also guest-starred Michael Forest, Felix Locher and Judy Levitt (1967) and another guest-starring Ed McCready, John McLiam, Jason Wingreen, and Charles Napier (1968). The third, in 1970, occurred when his TOS co-star Leonard Nimoy was a regular on the series. That same year, he and Morgan Woodward guest-starred in an episode of The High Chaparral, a series starring Henry Darrow. Colicos also guest-starred with Phillip Pine in an episode of Then Came Bronson and with Keye Luke and Kenneth Tobey on It Takes a Thief.
He later guest-starred in a 1972 episode of The F.B.I. with Barbara Babcock. In 1975, he appeared in an episode of Hawaii Five-O with George Takei, an episode of Petrocelli starring Susan Howard and David Huddleston, and a production of Harry O with Henry Darrow, Sabrina Scharf, and Anthony Zerbe. Colicos' later TV guest appearances include Charlie's Angels (with Perry Lopez), Vega$ (with Stephen Brooks and Alex Henteloff), Scarecrow and Mrs. King (with Kenneth Tigar), Beyond Reality (starring Nicole de Boer), and Fast Track (with Duncan Regehr). He even briefly ventured into voice acting, playing the evil Apocalypse in the animated X-Men series (which also featured the voice of Iona Morris as Storm).
Colicos starred in the role of Porthos in the 1960 TV movie adaptation of The Three Musketeers, co-starring Mark Lenard. Other TV movie credits include Goodbye, Raggedy Ann (1971) with Walter Koenig, Portrait: A Man Whose Name Was John (1973) with David Opatoshu and Henry Darrow, and A Matter of Wife… and Death (1976) with Marc Alaimo. In 1974, Colicos would also appear in his own country in one of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's most famous orignal historical productions, The National Dream: Building the Impossible Railway as the American railway tycoon, William Cornelius Van Horne, who successfully oversaw the building Canada's first transcontinental railway. He also appeared in the 1978 mini-series The Bastard with Ian Abercrombie, Kim Cattrall, John de Lancie, James Gregory, Alex Henteloff, and "Errand of Mercy" co-star William Shatner and in the 1997 mini-series The Last Don with Kirstie Alley, Seymour Cassel, Joseph Ruskin, and Mike Starr.
Colicos had been extremely active in film, as well. Among his most notable works in this medium were Anne of the Thousand Days (1969, with Geneviève Bujold and Whit Bissell), Doctors' Wives (1971, with Jon Lormer), Red Sky at Morning (1971, with Kim Darby, Nehemiah Persoff, and Gregory Sierra), The Wrath of God (1972, co-starring Frank Langella and Gregory Sierra), Scorpio (1973, with Joanne Linville, James B. Sikking, William Smithers, and Celeste Yarnall), and The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981). He had his largest film role in the latter, which also featured an appearance by fellow Klingon portrayer Christopher Lloyd (Kruge in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock).
Colicos made his final acting appearance in the concept demonstration trailer for Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming, in which he reprised his role as Count Baltar for the first time in nearly twenty years. The four-minute trailer, which premiered at DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia, in July 1999, was actually part of a thirty-minute pilot film for a proposed new Battlestar Galactica television series that would have continued where the original series left off. Also starring in the film were fellow Star Trek performers Richard Lynch and George Murdock. However, the project was never picked up, and the entire pilot film has never been shown publicly. Colicos died less than a year after the trailer was first screened.