(written from a Production point of view)
George Shephard "Shep" Houghton (4 June 1914 – 15 December 2016; age 102) was an actor who played an Empire TV cameraman in the Star Trek: The Original Series second season episode "Bread and Circuses". He received no credit for this role.
Family and early life
Shep Houghton's family was initially from the Ohio Valley region, his grandfather Charles Houghton (1848 - 1906) having settled in the area prior to the American Civil War. Shep's father George Henry Houghton (1880 - 1959) was responsible for moving his own family first to Utah and eventually California, where his son Shep was first exposed to show business.
Starting in 1927, just barely a teenager, Houghton began working as an extra in films, taking background jobs in the weekend (through Central Casting), while attending high school during the week. His career spanned almost five decades of appearing in smaller or background roles, or as a dancer in over 280 films and television episodes.
He can be seen in The Wizard of Oz (1939, with Billy Curtis and Jerry Maren) and Gone with the Wind (1939, with Phyllis Douglas, photographed by Ernest Haller), and had been one of the last surviving cast members of both films.
Work as an Extra
Houghton spent his entire career working as a background extra in films throughout the 1940s through the 70s. One of his more noteworthy appearances was as a courtroom spectator in the 1961 film Judgment at Nuremberg, starring William Shatner. He also appeared in several episodes of The Untouchables which featured guest roles for Nehemiah Persoff and Joseph Ruskin. Houghton also appeared as an extra in the 1963 series Burke's Law, again with guest appearances by Persoff as well as Paul Sorensen.
Retirement and later life
Houghton retired from acting in 1977 and eventually moved to Washington State.
From July 2015 until his death, Houghton was the oldest living known actor to have appeared in the Star Trek franchise, following the death of Star Trek background actor Olaf Pooley. He is only the fourth Star Trek performer to reach the age of 100, following Viola Stimpson, Ellen Albertini Dow, and Pooley. With Houghton's death, Dick Cherney became the oldest living Star Trek performer.