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Lawrence Tierney (15 March 191926 February 2002; age 82) was an actor who appeared as Cyrus Redblock in the Star Trek: The Next Generation first season episode "The Big Goodbye", and Regent of Palamar in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fifth season episode "Business as Usual". Tierney was the uncle of Michael Tierney.


With his gruff, no-nonsense demeanor, Tierney is best known for playing "tough guy" roles throughout the 1940s, primarily mobsters and hardened criminals. He first acquired recognition for his portrayal of vicious gangster John Dillinger in the 1945 film Dillinger, in which he co-starred with fellow Next Generation/Deep Space Nine guest star and fellow "tough guy" actor Marc Lawrence. He is also remembered for his performance as brutal killer Sam Wilde in 1947's Born to Kill, directed by Robert Wise. Both of these films also featured Star Trek: The Original Series guest star Elisha Cook in a supporting role. Tierney again worked with his Dillinger co-star Marc Lawrence in the 1967 Western Custer of the West, which co-starred Jeffrey Hunter.

Although Tierney had starring roles between 1945 and 1950, the 1950s saw him reduced to playing supporting characters, the result of several well-publicized off-screen brushes with the law. These altercations severely damaged Tierney's career, and as the years went on, his movie parts grew smaller. He did, however, have an occasional major role, as was the case with Tough Guys Don't Dance (1987, co-starring Clarence Williams III). He also had a recurring role on Hill Street Blues from 1985 through 1987, on which he played Sergeant Jenkins and worked with series regular James B. Sikking. In addition, he played Elaine Benes' father in an early episode of Seinfeld, the popular NBC series which starred Jason Alexander.

In 1992, Tierney once again gained recognition from moviegoers for his portrayal of group leader Joe Cabot in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. He subsequently had small roles in such films as Junior (1994 film)Junior (which also featured Frank Langella and Alexander Enberg) and Armageddon (1998, co-written by J.J. Abrams and which also featured Anthony Guidera, Marshall R. Teague, Matt Malloy, Jason Isaacs, Andy Milder, and Jim Fitzpatrick). In addition, he made guest appearances on such television series as Silk Stalkings (with Henry Darrow and Freda Foh Shen), L.A. Law (with Corbin Bernsen, Larry Drake, Samantha Eggar, Harvey Jason, and Tom Wright), and ER (with Lily Mariye and George Murdock). He also voiced Don Brodka, the Try-N-Save security guard in the "Marge Be Not Proud" episode of The Simpsons.

Personal life[]

Tierney was born in Brooklyn, New York, on 15 March 1919. He was a track and field star at Brooklyn's Boys High School and earned an athletic scholarship to Manhattan College, but quit after two years to work as a laborer on the New York Aqueduct. He subsequently moved from job to job across the country until an acting coach convinced him to take on acting. Tierney joined the Black Friars Theatre group and later the American-Irish Theatre, where he was spotted by an RKO talent scout and given a film contract in 1943.

As much as he was known for playing a "tough guy" on the big screen, Tierney was known more so for actually being one in real life. Throughout his life, Tierney often got into public altercations with others, including the law. Between 1944 and 1951, he was arrested a dozen times for brawling and drunkenness. These incidents often received ample media coverage, hindering his acting career. He returned to New York in the 1960s, where he did several odd jobs and found occasional film work. An admitted alcoholic, he quit drinking after suffering a stroke in 1982. He returned to Hollywood in 1983 and continued working in film as well as television.

Tierney would even instigate confrontations between fellow actors and other crew members. During the filming of "The Big Goodbye", he menacingly insulted 15-year-old Wil Wheaton with his remarks. [1] While working on Seinfeld, he scared the cast members by hiding a butcher knife from the set under his jacket and wielding it jokingly at series star Jerry Seinfeld. He was never invited back to the show. [2] On the set of Reservoir Dogs, the cast and crew found Tierney's antics both amusing and disturbing, and Tierney nearly got into fights with co-star Edward Bunker and writer-director Quentin Tarantino.

Tierney's agent, Don Gerler, stated that he was bailing Tierney out of jail as late as 1994, when Tierney was 75. [3]

By the time of his Deep Space Nine appearance, Tierney had suffered another stroke. Ira Steven Behr was very pleased to have Tierney make a guest appearance, commenting: "It was one of the highlights of my year to have him on the show. He's one of my icons." Assistant director Louis Race commented: "He really came to deliver one line: 'I'm here to buy weapons; are you here to sell them?' And he delivered that line like somebody calling to you from the other side of death. It was just chilling. So when the guy had to deliver, he did, and when he did his close-up, nobody stayed in their trailers. They all came over to watch." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. ?)

Tierney succumbed to pneumonia in February 2002 in Los Angeles, California. He was 82 years old.

Other Trek connections[]

Additional films in which Tierney appeared with other Star Trek performers include:

External links[]