(written from a Production point of view)
Richard Herd (26 September 1932 – 26 May 2020; age 87) was an American veteran film and television actor known to Star Trek fans for his appearances as Admiral Owen Paris in the Star Trek: Voyager sixth and seventh season episodes "Pathfinder", "Inside Man", "Author, Author", and "Endgame". He had previously appeared as the Klingon L'Kor in the Star Trek: The Next Generation sixth season episodes "Birthright, Part I" and "Birthright, Part II".
Herd is perhaps best known for his role as the Visitor Supreme Commander John in the science fiction mini-series V (1983) and V: The Final Battle (1984). He is also known for starring opposite William Shatner in the 1980s police drama T.J. Hooker, for playing Admiral Noyce on the series SeaQuest DSV, and for his recurring role as Mr. Wilhelm on the hit sitcom Seinfeld. At one point, Herd was the 3rd National Vice-President of the Screen Actors Guild.
He was a member of the Enterprise Blues Band, a musical group that writes and performs songs about Star Trek. Other members include Vaughn Armstrong, Casey Biggs, Steve Rankin, William Jones, and Ronald B. Moore. Herd played the gut box bass, kazoo, and sang some of the back-up vocals.
Early life and career
Herd was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He began acting in high school and participated in a two-year apprenticeship-acting program with the Boston Summer Stock Theater. After graduating from high school, Herd enlisted in the Army, serving for less than a year in 1953 and receiving a discharge as a private.
He made his film debut playing an athletics coach in the cult 1970 fantasy comedy Hercules in New York, which also marked the film debut of Arnold Schwarzenegger. His breakthrough role came in the 1976 Academy award-winning film All the President's Men. Stephen Collins, Nicholas Coster, Paul Lambert, Gene Dynarski, and F. Murray Abraham also had roles in this film. Incidentally, Herd previously appeared with Abraham in an episode of Kojak the previous year.
Herd's subsequent film credits include Norman Jewison's 1978 drama F.I.S.T. (with Kevin Conway), the Academy Award-nominated 1979 suspense thriller The China Syndrome (with Donald Hotton), and the 1979 crime drama The Onion Field. Many other Star Trek alumni appeared in the latter film, including John Savage in the lead role and Phillip Richard Allen, K Callan, Ronny Cox, John de Lancie, Christopher Lloyd, and Michael Pataki playing supporting roles. The Onion Field was edited by John W. Wheeler.
Herd and the aforementioned Christopher Lloyd again worked together in the 1980 horror film Schizoid, which also starred Marianna Hill and Craig Wasson. That same year, Herd was seen as Brigadier General Foley in the hit comedy film Private Benjamin. Lilyan Chauvin, Alan Oppenheimer, and Keone Young had roles in this film as well.
Between 1975 and 1982, Herd guest-starred on such television series as The Streets of San Francisco (with Andrew Robinson), Eight Is Enough (with James Cromwell), and M*A*S*H (with David Ogden Stiers). He also had a recurring role on the prime-time soap opera Dallas, during which time he worked with Michael Bell, Joanna Cassidy, Susan Howard, Leigh J. McCloskey, William Windom, and Morgan Woodward.
Herd played General of the Army Omar Bradley in the 1979 TV miniseries Ike, a role previously played by Karl Malden (an actor for whom Herd is often mistaken) in the film Patton. (Jonathan Banks, Whit Bissell, William Boyett, K Callan, Laurence Luckinbill, and William Schallert also had roles in Ike.) Herd played another historical general, Leslie Groves, in the 1980 TV movie Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb, which also featured Kim Darby, Stephen Macht, and Robert Pine.
One of Herd's best-known roles is that of Police Captain Dennis Sheridan, whom he played for three seasons on the television series T.J. Hooker, which starred William Shatner in the title role. James Darren was a regular on this series as well. Some of the directors Herd worked with on this series included Corey Allen, Cliff Bole, Winrich Kolbe, Leonard Nimoy (who also made a guest appearance on the show), and even Shatner himself.
V and other genre projects
Outside of Star Trek, Herd is also well known for his role in NBC's 1983 science fiction mini-series V, in which he played John, the Visitors' Supreme Commander. He reprised this role in the 1984 sequel, V: The Final Battle. Both of these projects starred Star Trek: Deep Space Nine guest actors Michael Durrell and Andrew Prine. V: The Final Battle starred TNG and VOY guest star Mark L. Taylor and TNG/DS9 guest star Dick Miller.
After his role on V, Herd made appearances on several well-known science fiction shows, including Quantum Leap with Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell. He made several appearances as Admiral Noyce on the sci-fi series seaQuest DSV alongside other Trek guest stars such as Stephanie Beacham, Rosalind Ingledew, and Marco Sanchez. Herd even reunited with his T.J. Hooker co-star William Shatner in the "Hide and Seek" episode of seaQuest DSV. Some of Herd's other genre roles include guest spots on Beauty and the Beast (starring Ron Perlman) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (with Willie Garson).
Herd also played Chairman in the popular 1985 science fiction film Trancers. In 1996, Herd co-starred with LeVar Burton and Malcolm McDowell in the HBO sci-fi movie Yesterday's Target. In the 1998 TV movie I Married a Monster, Herd worked with Vaughn Armstrong and Tim de Zarn. Most recently, Herd had a supporting role in the science fiction film InAlienable, written by and co-starring Walter Koenig. This film's cast also included Erick Avari, Gary Graham, J.G. Hertzler, Andrew Koenig, Judy Levitt, Lisa LoCicero, Courtney Peldon, Jeff Rector, Alan Ruck, and TNG regular Marina Sirtis.
In addition to the above, Herd had supporting roles in such films as the 1983 crime comedy Deal of the Century (with Graham Jarvis, Richard Libertini, Tony Plana, and Wallace Shawn), the 1985 romantic comedy Summer Rental (starring Karen Austin and John Larroquette), the 1987 buddy comedy Planes, Trains & Automobiles (with Bill Erwin, Larry Hankin, Michael McKean, and William Windom), and the 1987 thriller Gleaming the Cube (with Art Chudabala, Ed Lauter, and starring Christian Slater). Some of his more recent films include 1996's Sgt. Bilko (with Pamela Segall), 1997's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (with Bob Gunton, Anne Haney, and Leon Rippy), and 2005's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (with Tim Russ and Time Winters).
On television, Herd portrayed Calvin Kleeger in two 1984 episodes of the prime-time soap opera Falcon Crest, on which Robert Foxworth was a regular. Foxworth also directed Herd's first episode. In between airings of his two Falcon Crest episodes, Herd was seen on Hardcastle and McCormick, which starred Brian Keith and Daniel Hugh Kelly in the title roles. Herd returned to the series in 1985, in an episode with Charles Rocket. That same year, Herd appeared on The A-Team, the action-adventure series which starred Dwight Schultz.
Herd is well-known for his recurring role as Mr. Wilhelm on the hit NBC comedy series Seinfeld. His character was the absent-minded boss of George Costanza, played by fellow Voyager alum Jason Alexander. Herd appeared in eleven episodes of Seinfeld between 1995 and 1998 and won a Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance on the show. Among the other performers he worked with during his time on the show were Ian Abercrombie, Lee Arenberg, Thomas Dekker, Richard Fancy, Teri Hatcher, Harvey Jason, Patrick Kerr, Brian McNamara, Phil Morris, Leon Russom, Armin Shimerman, Brenda Strong, and Heidi Swedberg.
His other television credits during the 1990s includes two back-to-back episodes Knots Landing (with Liam Sullivan and Kenneth Tigar) and an appearance on China Beach (starring Jeff Kober and Robert Picardo, in an episode with Robert Knepper), as well as guest-starring roles on Murder, She Wrote (playing the husband of Sally Kellerman in an episode with Gregory Sierra), Walker, Texas Ranger (with Marshall Teague and Noble Willingham), and ER (with Scott Jaeck and William Utay). He also made recurring appearances on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (working with Edward Laurence Albert, Chad Allen, Elinor Donahue, Georgann Johnson, Nick Ramus, and Gail Strickland) and Pacific Blue (with Manu Intiraymi, Chip Mayer, and Jeremy Roberts).
Herd was among the many Star Trek veterans who participated in the 2003 short film Roddenberry on Patrol, which parodies Gene Roddenberry's creation of Star Trek. This film was directed and produced by Tim Russ, who also appeared in the movie along with Robert Beltran, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Robert O'Reilly, Ethan Phillips, Robert Picardo, and George Takei.
Herd was later seen on such television shows as The O.C. (with Melinda Clarke and Alan Dale), Desperate Housewives (with Teri Hatcher and Mark Moses), and Cold Case (with Charles Napier). He also had recurring roles on Everwood (on which Stephanie Niznik was a regular) and NYPD Blue (which starred Gordon Clapp).