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Keye Luke (18 June 190412 January 1991; age 86) was the Chinese born American actor who played Donald Cory in the Star Trek: The Original Series third season episode "Whom Gods Destroy". He filmed his scenes between Thursday 17 October 1968 and Tuesday 22 October 1968 at Desilu Stage 9 and Stage 10.

According to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 141), Luke was briefly considered for the role of Doctor Noonian Soong in the Star Trek: The Next Generation fourth season episode "Brothers" when it was thought having Brent Spiner play three roles in the episode would not be feasible.

Brent Spiner made the suggestion of having himself in the role instead, though as he began to consider the implications, he thought about requesting that Luke be called in instead. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 4 Blu-ray - Relativity: The Family Saga of Star Trek - The Next Generation - Part Two: Posterity)

Luke had a long and fruitful acting career, appearing in numerous films and TV roles from the 1930s right into the 1990s, mainly playing East Asian characters.

Biography

Luke was born as 陸錫麟 (Luk Sek Lan or Lù Xílín) in 1904 in Guangzhou, China. His family emigrated to the United States and settled down in Seattle, when he was a child. He became a naturalized US citizen in 1944. Before his acting career, Luke was also a talented visual artist who worked on some of the murals inside Grunman's Chinese Theater, and the original artwork for 1933's King Kong pressbook.

In 1934, he made his acting debut in The Painted Veil. In 1935, Luke received his first notable role, as Lee Chan, the main character's number one son in the Charlie Chan series of movies. He played this role several more times until 1938, and 1948 he returned to the franchise in his old role for two more pictures. In 1972, Luke returned to the Charlie Chan series, this time as the main character, in the animated series The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan.

Luke was also known for portraying Kato in the original Green Hornet film shorts of the 1940s, and for his role as Master Po on the 1970s television series Kung Fu. In 1957, Luke worked with a young George Takei during the English dubbing of Rodan, one of the first Japanese monster movies. Luke and Takei again worked together on the English version of Gigantis, the Fire Monster (1959).

Luke was reportedly considered for the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope but the role went to Sir Alec Guinness instead, who provided what would be a very different take.

In the 1980s, he had two notable guest appearances in The A-Team (alongside Dwight Schultz) as Sam Yeng, the owner of The Golden Pagoda restaurant, who enlists the help of the A-Team to fight off a Chinese organized crime boss from taking over his restaurant, which he and his daughter Sun Yeng (Lydia Lei) purchased from them in an earlier episode.

He played the role of Mr. Wing in the 1984 Joe Dante film, Gremlins, and its 1990 sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Fellow Star Trek alumni Zach Galligan, Dick Miller, Kenneth Tobey, and even composer Jerry Goldsmith appeared in both of these films, while Jonathan Banks and William Schallert appeared in the former and Robert Picardo, John Glover, Henry Gibson, Raymond Cruz, and Ron Fassler were in the latter.

His final role was in 1990's Alice.

Voice acting

In 1965 he began his career in voice acting as Charlie in 'Jonny Quest. 1972 saw him voice a Charlie Chan animated series (see above). One of his most recognized voice roles was providing the voice of Zoltar in the hit Japanimation series, Battle of the Planets. He did more voice-over work in Jem, Scooby-Doo & Scrappy-Doo, Thundarr The Barbarian, Spider-Man, and Alvin & The Chipmunks.

Personal Life and Death

Luke was married to Ethel Davis from 1942 until her death in 1979. They had one daughter, Ethel. Luke became ill in 1990 (which prevented him from becoming one of the few actors to have appeared in both the original Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation) and died from a stroke on January 12, 1991, at the age of 86.

External links

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