(written from a Production point of view)
René Murat Auberjonois (1 June 1940 – 8 December 2019; age 79) was the actor best known for portraying Chief of Security Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He also directed many episodes of the series. Prior to assuming the role of Odo, he appeared as Colonel West in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, although his scenes were initially cut for the film's theatrical release. In addition, he made a guest appearance as Ezral in the Star Trek: Enterprise first season episode "Oasis". His costume from the Deep Space Nine episode "Children of Time" was sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay.  Auberjonois was also briefly considered to portray The Doctor in Star Trek: Voyager. (Starlog, issue #211, p. 45)
Auberjonois was born in New York City on 1 June 1940. His father, Fernand Auberjonois, was a journalist, and his grandfather, also called René Auberjonois, a Swiss painter. His mother was Princess Laure Murat, who was descended from Joachim Murat, one of Napoleon Bonaparte's marshals and one-time King of Naples, and husband of Caroline Bonaparte, Napoleon's youngest sister.
Actor Armin Shimerman, who played Odo's nemesis Quark on DS9, was a close friend of Auberjonois. They acted in a play together prior to DS9 and spent many hours together in make-up chairs while starring in DS9.
Auberjonois initially disliked DS9's season three premiere, "The Search, Part I", in which his orphan character, Odo, met his people, the Founders, for the first time and discovered his origin. Auberjonois felt part of Odo's mystery and vitality as a character stemmed from his not knowing where he came from. However, Auberjonois soon came to like the development because new twists were added as more was learned about Odo's past – whether Odo's loyalties would reside with the Founders and leaders of the Dominion or with the Federation, and whether others would trust Odo during the Dominion War added complexity to his character even after his origin was established. (DS9 Season 3 DVD special features)
Auberjonois died in December 2019 of metastatic lung cancer. He is the first regular actor on a Star Trek spinoff series to pass away. 
Auberjonois first performed on the Broadway stage in the late 1960s, beginning with a revival of William Shakespeare's King Lear and a play called A Cry of Players as part of the Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Center. Both productions ran from November 1968 through February 1969 with a total of 72 performances each; on A Cry of Players, he co-starred with Frank Langella, who later guest-starred on DS9. He also appeared in the short-running drama Fire! in 1969.
In 1970, Auberjonois won a Tony Award as Best Featured Actor for his portrayal of Sebastian Baye in Coco, which ran from 18 December 1969 through 3 October 1970. In 1972, Auberjonois co-starred with Stephen McHattie in a production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
During the 1970s, he appeared in several plays including the musical Tricks (1973) and Break a Leg (1979). Auberjonois received a second Tony Award nomination in 1974 for his role in The Good Doctor (opposite Christopher Plummer) and a third nomination in 1985 for playing The Duke in Big River. He also won a Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical for Big River. Auberjonois performed in Big River from its premiere on 25 April 1985 until 2 September of that year, when his role as The Duke was recast. By 8 October, future Star Trek: The Next Generation star Brent Spiner had taken over the role which Auberjonois had originated; in January 1986, the role of The Duke went to TNG guest actor Ken Jenkins. Another TNG guest actor, Bob Gunton, played the role of The King in Big River during both Auberjonois' and Spiner's tenures.
Auberjonois received yet another Tony Award nomination, as well as a Drama Desk nomination, for his dual role in the musical comedy City of Angels (with Herschel Sparber), which ran from 1989 through 1992. In 1989 he also appeared in Metamorphosis. Auberjonois later starred on Broadway in Dance of the Vampires from December 2002 through January 2003 and Sly Fox in 2004.
Auberjonois first gained fame on television for his Emmy Award-nominated role as the snooty Clayton Endicott III on the comedy series Benson. Auberjonois joined the cast of Benson at the start of its second season in 1980 and remained with the series until it ended in 1986. One of his co-stars was Ethan Phillips, who joined the show's cast at the same time but left before the final season.
Between 2000 and 2002, Auberjonois guest-starred in two episodes of The Practice, receiving his second Emmy nomination (after Benson) for his first appearance on the show. The ABC series Boston Legal featuring Auberjonois was a spinoff of The Practice, although he did not play the same character.
Between 2004 and 2008, Auberjonois appeared alongside Star Trek: The Original Series star William Shatner in Boston Legal. In this series, Auberjonois played Paul Lewiston, who was the managing partner of law firm Crane, Poole & Schmidt for the first three seasons. He was credited as a guest star when the series began in October 2004 but he officially became a regular halfway through the first season. In June 2007, however, it was announced that Auberjonois would no longer be a regular beginning with the show's fourth season. Auberjonois' character was replaced in the next season by Carl Sack, played by Star Trek III: The Search for Spock actor John Larroquette.
Auberjonois' friend and fellow DS9 star Armin Shimerman had a recurring role on the series. Shimerman played a judge who is an acquaintance of Auberjonois' character – and who is suspected of being involved in the murder of Shimerman's wife. Although the two did not act together during the first three of Shimerman's seven episodes, they finally shared a scene together in the fourth episode, entitled "Desperately Seeking Shirley". Star Trek: Voyager actor and Auberjonois' Benson co-star Ethan Phillips also appeared on Boston Legal during this time, playing the father of the boy accused of killing Shimerman's wife.
After being ousted as a regular, Auberjonois returned to the series as a special guest star on four occasions, where where is learned his character had moved up to a higher floor at the firm. He appeared in one episode of the show's fourth season, entitled "Oral Contracts," in 2007; Steven Culp and recurring Boston Legal actor Henry Gibson also guest-starred in this episode. Auberjonois made another appearance in the seventh episode of the show's fifth and final season, titled "Mad Cows," in which Steven Anderson, Henry Gibson, and Ned Vaughn also appeared. Auberjonois was then brought back for the last two episodes of the series, "Made in China" and "Last Call," which were aired together as a two-hour series finale on 8 December 2008.
Other notable TV appearances
In addition, Auberjonois made guest appearances on numerous television shows. His first was a 1971 episode of The Mod Squad, a series starring Tige Andrews and DS9 guest actor Clarence Williams III and created by Harve Bennett. He followed this with guest spots on Great Perfomances (with James Earl Jones), Harry O (with Anthony Zerbe), The Rookie (in an episode with Gail Strickland), Baa Baa Black Sheep (starring John Larroquette and James Whitmore, Jr.), Delvecchio (with James Sloyan), Rosetti and Ryan (with William Marshall), The Rhinemann Exchange (starring Stephen Collins), The Dark Secret of Harvest Home (with Norman Lloyd), Starskey and Hutch (starring David Soul, in an episode with Tracey Walter), Stockard Channing in Just Friends (with Lawrence Pressman), Hart to Hart (with Madlyn Rhue), and Charlie's Angels (two episodes, including one with Ed Begley, Jr.), among many other shows. Auberjonois concluded the 1970s with his second of two appearances on Mrs. Columbo, starring pre-Voyager Kate Mulgrew in the title role. He also appeared in several 1970s television movies including The Birdmen, Shirts/Skins, Incident at Vichy (with Lee Bergere), The TVTV Show, Panache (with Joseph Ruskin), and The Wild Wild West Revisited (with Skip Homeier).
Although his role on Benson limited other live-action television appearances in the 1980s, Auberjonois took on more guest-starring roles after Benson concluded in 1986. During the run of Benson he appeared in episodes of Beyond Westworld, Tenspeed and Brown Shoe, The Righteous Apples, Faerie Tale Theatre (with Sally Kellerman and Richard Libertini), and Blacke's Magic. He later appeared in two episodes of Murder, She Wrote, one in 1987 with Alex Henteloff and another the following year with Frank Gorshin and Matt McCoy. He then appeared on an episode of L.A. Law along with his son, Remy, as well as fellow Trek performers James Avery, Corbin Bernsen, Larry Drake, Miriam Flynn, and Gregg Henry. He later appeared on such shows as Doogie Howser, M.D. (with James B. Sikking), Ashenden (with Francis Guinan), Matlock (with Daniel Roebuck), UPN's The Burning Zone (with Theodore Bikel), Tracey Takes On (starring Seymour Cassel), The Outer Limits, and CBS' Chicago Hope.
He appeared as French politician Jean Jaurès and Turkish politician Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in the 1996 documentary series The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century; the series was narrated by DS9 recurring actress Salome Jens and featured Malcolm McDowell.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Auberjonois also appeared in many television movies including The Booth (with Judith Anderson and opposite Terri Garr), Longarm (starring Daphne Ashbrook and Diedrich Bader, with Malachi Throne), Billy the Kid (with Andrew Bicknell), Absolute Strangers (with Jennifer Hetrick and Alan Oppenheimer), and Ned Blessing: The True Story of My Life (with Bob Gunton and Jimmie F. Skaggs).
In 2000, Auberjonois appeared in ABC's made-for-TV movie Geppetto (featuring Brent Spiner and Voyager actress Scarlett Pomers) as well as Sally Hemings: An American Scandal (with Kevin Conway. Additionally, Auberjonois was seen on the Sci-Fi Channel's Stargate SG-1 and The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne, working with John Rhys-Davies in the latter. In 2001, Auberjonois guest-starred in two episodes of Frasier, playing Kelsey Grammer's character's mentor from Harvard, Dr. William Tewksbury. He appeared in the episodes "Frasier's Edge" and "The Wizard and Roz". He then appeared in four episodes of Judging Amy (starring Kevin Rahm, with guest appearances by Denise Crosby, John Cothran, Jr., and Gina Hecht).
Auberjonois attended the Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner in August 2006, where his Boston Legal co-star and fellow Trek actor was subjected to the whims of stand-up comics. Also in the audience were Jeri Ryan of Voyager fame (who guest-starred on Boston Legal) and Brent Spiner from TNG. Shatner's TOS cohorts Nichelle Nichols and George Takei participated in the roast, as did Voyager guest star Andy Dick, while Clint Howard and Sarah Silverman had recorded messages to Shatner (Howard appeared in character as an alcoholic Balok, addicted to tranya). The event was hosted by Jason Alexander.
In 2007 and 2008 he appeared in two episodes of Saving Grace, starring Leon Rippy and one of them featuring Steven Culp.
In 2010 Auberjonois became the first former Star Trek star to be a guest star on the Syfy series Warehouse 13 which starred Saul Rubinek. In the episode he played Hugo Miller, a former warehouse employee who accidentally downloaded half of his mind into an experimental computer system. At the end of the episode his character, with his mind whole again, was offered a job by another visiting guest, Douglas Fargo (Neil Grayston) from Syfy's Eureka, although he did not make an appearance on that series. His character appeared in three more episodes until 2014, one of them featuring Brent Spiner.
That year, he also appeared in an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. In 2011, he appeared as himself in the biography series Unscripted and episodes of Bored to Death and Criminal Minds. Auberjonois also appeared in episodes of Grey's Anatomy, BlackBoxTV, NCIS (2012), Good Wife and 1600 Penn (2013), Masters of Sex (2014, with Greg Grunberg), and The Librarians (2015, starring John Larroquette and Rebecca Romijn). In 2016, he had a recurring role in Madam Secretary (starring Keith Carradine and Bebe Neuwirth, with Kevin Rahm).
Altman, Schuck and Kellerman
Auberjonois also became a highly-recognizable face in motion pictures. Early in his film career, Auberjonois, along with his Star Trek VI co-star John Schuck and TOS guest star Sally Kellerman, was a member of an informal acting troupe spearheaded by director Robert Altman. One of Auberjonois' earliest film roles was Father Mulcahy in Altman's original 1970 classic MASH. That same year, Auberjonois appeared in Altman's film Brewster McCloud. Schuck and Kellerman also co-starred in both of these films; Fred Williamson appeared in the former, while William Windom had a role in the latter.
Auberjonois and Schuck went on to co-star together in Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller in 1971, while Auberjonois himself starred in Altman's the following year. Auberjonois and Kellerman went on to co-star together in 1976's The Big Bus, along with Vic Tayback. This film, however, was not directed by Robert Altman. Auberjonois and John Schuck also co-starred together in the 1971 made-for-TV movie .
Other notable film works
Auberjonois had a role in the 1975 disaster movie The Hindenburg. This film was directed by Robert Wise, who went on to direct Star Trek: The Motion Picture. (Rex Holman appeared in this film, as well.)
His many other feature film credits include Whit Bissell), King Kong (1976, with Ed Lauter), (1978, with Brad Dourif), Walker (1987, with Keith Szarabajka and Biff Yeager), Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach (1988, with David Graf and Matt McCoy), (1987, with David Warner), The Player (1992, as himself, directed by Robert Altman, with Brian Tochi, Whoopi Goldberg, Malcolm McDowell, Sally Kellerman, Teri Garr, and Dean Stockwell), (1993), Batman Forever (1995), Snide and Prejudice (1997, with Jeffrey Combs), and Inspector Gadget (1999, with Andy Dick, Brian George, Brad Blaisdell, Richard Penn, Johnny Martin, Michael McAdam, and Michael G. Hagerty). He then played Reverend Oliver in the 2000 American Revolution epic The Patriot. Leon Rippy and Jason Isaacs also had roles in this film. In 2004, Auberjonois had a role in the film Eulogy, which starred TNG guest actress Famke Janssen and featured Sherman Howard.(1972, with
In 2013, he appeared in the short movie Evermore and in 2015 starred in This Is Happening. 2016 saw Auberjonois appear in Certain Women and 2017 he featured in Blood Stripe.
Among his final projects were Cortex, Windows on the World (with Edward James Olmos), and a role as President James Buchanan in Raising Buchanan. In 2019 he appeared in The Circuit, directed and written by Tim Russ, featuring ten different, but interconnected, science-fiction stories. Among the film's actors were Russ himself, Doug Jones, Olivia d'Abo, Terry Farrell, Robert Beltran, Ethan Philips, Armin Shimerman, John Billingsley, Manu Intiraymi, J.G. Hertzler, Robert O'Reilly, and Hana Hatae.
Auberjonois became well-versed as a voice actor. In 1979, Auberjonois was one of the uncredited voice actors for Star Blazers along with Kenneth Meseroll and Christopher Collins. He was the voice of Sandor for its third season, The Bolar Wars. Among his other early voice-over roles was providing additional voices in The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang (1980/1981).
During the 1980s and 1990s he provided voices for many television series such as The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries, SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show (with James Avery), Challenge of the GoBots (with Brock Peters), The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (with Robert DoQui), DuckTales, The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley (with Robert Ito), Superman (with Alan Oppenheimer), Snorks, The Smurfs, Timeless Tales from Hallmark, Darkwing Duck, Batman: The Animated Series, The Pirates of Dark Water, Bonkers (with Ron Perlman), Mighty Max (with Kate Mulgrew), Aladdin, Richie Rich, Extreme Ghostbusters (with Clyde Kusatsu), and Men in Black: The Series (with Jennifer Lien and Charles Napier).
Interestingly, Auberjonois lent his voice to an animated series called Wildfire in 1986, which revolved around a horse. His DS9 co-star, Nana Visitor, starred in a live-action TV series called Wildfire in 2005 – also about a horse.
Auberjonois continued his voice work for television in the 2000s with series such as The Legend of Tarzan (with Olivia d'Abo, Brock Peters, and James Avery), The Mummy (with Charles Napier), Justice League (with Kurtwood Smith, Brian George, Ron Perlman, and Michael Dorn), Xiaolin Showdown, Duck Dodgers (with Michael Dorn and Richard McGonagle), Xyber 9: New Dawn, and Avatar: The Last Airbender. He reprised his role from The Legend of Tarzan for the 2002 direct-to-video movie Tarzan & Jane.
Among his later voice credits are episodes of Young Justice (2010, with Bruce Greenwood and Keith Szarabajka), Dan Vs. and The Looney Tunes Show (both 2011), and Winx Club: Beyond Believix (2012). In addition, between 2010 and 2014 he appeared in three episodes of Archer, had a recurring role in Ben 10: Omniverse, and starred in Pound Puppies; in 2015 he lent his voice to the television movie Buddy: Tech Detective and two episodes of Avengers Assemble.
One of his first movie voice roles was as "The Skull" in the 1982 The Last Unicorn, followed by Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (with Alan Oppenheimer and Michael Bell) in 1989. Perhaps his most famous voice-over work was Walt Disney's The Little Mermaid (1989), in which he voiced the French chef, Louis. Gerrit Graham, Kenneth Mars, and Hamilton Camp also lent their voices to this film. In 1994 he reprised this role for the eponymous television series, with Bradley Pierce. In 1997, he voiced for Cats Don't Dance; future Star Trek: Enterprise star Scott Bakula and John Rhys-Davies also supplied voices in this film. 1998 saw him voice for An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island (with Ron Perlman) and 2000 for Geppetto, alongside Brent Spiner. In 2001, he also had an uncredited voice-over role in the live-action Disney movie The Princess Diaries. In 2003 he voiced a role in the video short Kids' Ten Commandments: The Rest Is Yet to Come (with Paul Winfield in one of his last roles). In 2005, he voiced the character known as Mr. Sneaps in Geppetto's Secret; Armin Shimerman voiced a character in that production as well. In 2005, he also provided the English voice for a character in the Studio Ghibli anime feature The Cat Returns (with additional voices by Bradley Pierce). In 2014 he voiced a role in Planes: Fire & Rescue (with Teri Hatcher).
In addition to his participation in Star Trek video games, Auberjonois provided voices for several other video games. In 1999, he voiced a role in Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned, with Carolyn Seymour and John de Lancie. Starting in 2001, he had a recurring part in the Legacy of Kain game series as the ancient vampire Janos Audron. This series also contained voice roles from Trek alumni Michael Bell, Simon Templeman, and Tony Jay. In 2002 his voice was featured in New Legends (with James Horan) and Command & Conquer: Renegade. He also voiced roles in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007, with Brian George and Lee Arenberg), two games of the Uncharted franchise (with Richard McGonagle), Ben 10 Omniverse 2, and Skylanders: SuperChargers (with Diedrich Bader). In 2010, he lent his voice to Fallout: New Vegas (which also featured his fellow DS9 alumnus Michael Dorn, as well as William Sadler, Wil Wheaton, and Ron Perlman) as the mysterious autocrat Mr. House.
Notably, Auberjonois even lent his voice to a Star Trek parody. He portrayed an animated version of Odo in Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story!, a direct-to-DVD movie based on the hit animated FOX series Family Guy (created by Seth MacFarlane). Auberjonois supplied the voice of Odo in a scene which parodied Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Auberjonois was one of only five actors to have appeared in both Batman: The Animated Series and a live-action movie based on the Batman comics franchise – the others being Ed Begley, Jr., John Glover, Vincent Schiavelli, and US Senator Patrick Leahy.
Prior to the eight DS9 episodes he directed, Auberjonois had directed two episodes of Marblehead Manor in 1987 and 1988, which starred Phil Morris.
Appearances as Odo
Additional voice credits
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Harbinger as Odo
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Fallen as Odo
- Star Trek Online as Odo
- Fallen Heroes (narrator)
- Warped (narrator)
- The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh, Volume Two (narrator)
|Star Trek: Deep Space Nine regular cast|
|Rene Auberjonois • Avery Brooks • Nicole de Boer • Michael Dorn • Terry Farrell • Cirroc Lofton • Colm Meaney • Armin Shimerman • Alexander Siddig • Nana Visitor|
Star Trek interviews
- DS9 Season 1 DVD special feature "Section 31-Hidden File 03" (interview from 18 September 1992)
- DS9 Season 1 DVD special feature "Section 31-Hidden File 04" (interview from 18 September 1992)
- DS9 Season 1 DVD special feature "Deep Space Nine Scrapbook Year One" (interview from 18 September 1992)
- DS9 Season 3 DVD special feature "Crew Dossier: Odo"
- DS9 Season 5 DVD special feature "Section 31-Hidden File 01"
- DS9 Season 5 DVD special feature "Section 31-Hidden File 02"
- DS9 Season 6 DVD special feature "Section 31-Hidden File 06"
- DS9 Season 6 DVD special feature "Section 31-Hidden File 07"
- The Captains
- ReneFiles.com – official fan site
- Rene Auberjonois at Wikipedia
- René Auberjonois at the Internet Broadway Database
- Rene Auberjonois at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
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