(written from a Production point of view)
Joseph Ruskin (14 April 1924 – 28 December 2013; age 89), born Joseph Richard Schlafman, was an American actor who appeared in four of the first five live-action Star Trek television series (the exception being Star Trek: The Next Generation, although he did appear in Star Trek: Insurrection). With the exception of Majel Barrett, who appeared in every Star Trek series excepting those which debuted after her death, he was the only actor to appear in Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise. Furthermore, given that Barrett only provided the computer voice in Star Trek: Voyager, Ruskin was the only actor to appear on screen in all four series mentioned above. Along with Majel Barrett, Clint Howard, Jack Donner, and Vince Deadrick, he was one of only five actors to appear in both Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: Enterprise. He, Barrett, and Howard also appeared in DS9.
Hailing from Haverhill, Massachusetts, USA, Ruskin, like William Schallert, Barry Gordon, and Kitty Swink, served on the Screen Actors Guild Executive Board of Directors, becoming a Trustee at the Screen Actors Guild Pension and Health Plan. Ruskin worked for the SGA between 1976 and 1999.
He had a long and distinguished career, appearing in television series as early as 1959. In his later years, he had a recurring role as Alliance Member Alain Christophe in J.J. Abrams' series Alias, as well as playing an elderly mob boss in Smokin' Aces, which featured Chris Pine.
Other projects in which Ruskin appeared with fellow Trek performers include:
- The Magnificent Seven (1960, with Whit Bissell and John A. Alonzo)
- The Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man" (1962, with Dave Armstrong, Theo Marcuse, and James Wellman)
- The Outer Limits episode "Production and Decay of Strange Particles" (1964, with Leonard Nimoy, Rudy Solari, Barry Russo, Willard Sage, Robert Fortier, and Vic Perrin, makeup by Fred Phillips, and Robert H. Justman as production manager)
- The Time Tunnel episode "Revenge of the Gods" (1966, with James Darren, Whit Bissell, Lee Meriwether, Paul Carr, and Abraham Sofaer)
- Mission: Impossible episode "The Slave" (1967, with Antoinette Bower, Warren Stevens, Percy Rodrigues, and Sid Haig)
- Land of the Giants episode "The Secret City of Limbo" (1969, with Don Marshall, Malachi Throne, and Whit Bissell)
- The Streets of San Francisco episode "The Most Deadly Species" (1974, with Vince Howard and Ruskin's 'Triskelion' co-star Steve Sandor)
- Planet of the Apes episode "The Tyrant" (1974, with Percy Rodrigues, Mark Lenard, Gary Combs, Ron Stein, and Tom Troupe, directed by Ralph Senensky, with cinematography by Jerry Finnerman)
- The Scorpion King (2002, with Dwayne Johnson and Branscombe Richmond)