(written from a Production point of view)
Vincent Schiavelli (10 November 1948 – 26 December 2005; age 57) was the Italian-American character actor who appeared as the holographic Minosian peddler in the Star Trek: The Next Generation first season episode "The Arsenal of Freedom". He has appeared in over 150 different films and television shows, becoming a familiar face in both media. In 1997, Vanity Fair magazine named Schiavelli one of America's best character actors. 
Schiavelli was born in Brooklyn, New York and studied acting at New York University. He began acting on stage in the 1960s and made the transition to film and television in the 1970s.
He was married to actress Allyce Beasley from 1985 through 1988. Their son, Andrea Schiavelli, was born in 1987. In 1992, Schiavelli married harpist Carol Mukhalian, with whom he also had a child.
Schiavelli died of lung cancer at his home in the Sicilian village of Polizzi Generosa in Italy on 26 December 2005. He was 57 years old.
With a tall frame and deep-set, droopy eyes, Schiavelli is best remembered for playing eccentric characters. Such was the case with his role as a patient in the 1975 Academy Award-winning film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, directed by Milos Forman. Also starring in this film were his fellow Star Trek alumni Louise Fletcher, Brad Dourif, Christopher Lloyd, Peter Brocco, and Michael Berryman.
In addition, Schiavelli remains highly recognized for his role as the demented subway spirit in the 1990 film Ghost, co-starring fellow TNG performers Whoopi Goldberg and Stephen Root; for director Amy Heckerling, he's known for his roles as the caffeine-addicted Mr. Vargas in the 1982 hit comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High, with Ray Walston, Scott Thomson, and Hallie Todd and the mob spoof Johnny Dangerously(1984) which featured Walston as well as Joe Piscopo. Schiavelli may also be remembered for his performance as Leonard the caddy opposite Tim Conway in the 1980s videos Dorf on Golf and Dorf and the First Games of Mount Olympus.
Besides One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Schiavelli appeared in several other films from Milos Forman. He made his film debut in Forman's 1971 musical/comic drama Taking Off. His later collaborations with Forman include 1984's Amadeus, starring Star Trek: Insurrection actor F. Murray Abraham, and 1996's The People vs. Larry Flynt, with James Cromwell.
Star Trek: Enterprise writer and producer Manny Coto directed Schiavelli, as well as Aron Eisenberg and Christopher McDonald, in the 1990 horror film Playroom. Schiavelli's other motion picture credits include Better Off Dead… (1985, with David Ogden Stiers and Kim Darby), Batman Returns (1992, with Branscombe Richmond), Lord of Illusions (1995, with Scott Bakula, Famke Janssen, and Joel Swetow), the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies (1997, with Teri Hatcher and Michelle Yeoh), and Badassss! (2003, with Saul Rubinek).
Notable television appearances
Schiavelli landed his first series role shortly after starting out in Hollywood, that of flamboyant set designer Peter Panama during the first season of the ABC sitcom The Corner Bar. In this role, Schiavelli had the distinction of playing prime time television's first regular gay character.  Schiavelli was let go for the show's second season and Eugene Roche was brought in as a regular, but the season only lasted six episodes before it was canceled.
His only other series was 1986's Fast Times, a short-lived CBS sequel to the 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Schiavelli reprised his role from the film, biology teacher Mr. Vargas, while Ray Walston also reprised his film role for the series. Wallace Langham and Paul Willson were among the other series regulars, but the show was pulled after only seven episodes.
Schiavelli's first TV guest appearance was on a 1977 episode of Starsky and Hutch, which starred David Soul. In 1979, he and Tracey Walter played two characters named Don Pesola in an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, which was produced by Bill Dial. This was followed by appearances on Benson (on which Rene Auberjonois was a regular), Night Court (starring John Larroquette, in an episode with the aforementioned Ray Walston), and Moonlighting (working with actress Allyce Beasley, whom he later married).
After appearing on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Schiavelli acted on several other genre series. On the horror anthology series Tales from the Crypt, Schiavelli appeared in the episode "Mournin' Mess," written and directed by Manny Coto and co-starring Frank Kopyc and Steven Weber. He later played the role of Lenny on The X-Files in the 1995 episode "Humbug," directed by Kim Manners with co-stars Michael John Anderson and Wayne Grace. In 1998, he appeared as Uncle Enyos in two episodes of the cult horror/fantasy series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Both of his episodes co-starred Brian Thompson.
Projects with Christopher Lloyd
Schiavelli worked alongside Star Trek III: The Search for Spock actor Christopher Lloyd on six films and on one television series. After first collaborating in the aforementioned One Flew the Cuckoo's Nest, Schiavelli and Lloyd appeared together in the 1977 western film Another Man, Another Chance. This film also featured their Cuckoo's Nest co-star and fellow Trek veteran Michael Berryman. This was followed by 1979's Butch and Sundance: The Early Days, which also featured an aforementioned Cuckoo's Nest actor, Peter Brocco, as well as Jeff Corey, John Schuck, Noble Willingham, and Peter Weller.
Schiavelli and Lloyd again worked together when Schiavelli made a trio of appearances as Reverend Gorky on the NBC television series Taxi, on which Lloyd was a regular, in 1982 and 1983. Next, they worked alongside Peter Weller a second time in the cult 1984 science fiction film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Clancy Brown, Jonathan Banks, and Robert Ito also starred in the movie.
Years later, Schiavelli and Lloyd both appeared in the 1999 documdrama Man on the Moon. This last film chronicled the life of their bizarre Taxi co-star Andy Kaufman. Schiavelli and Lloyd did not have any scenes together in the movie; Schiavelli appeared as an executive of ABC (Taxi's original network) while Lloyd played himself as an actor on Taxi. It was also Schiavelli's sixth and final film for director Milos Forman.
Lastly, Schiavelli and Lloyd lent their voices to the 2002 animated film Hey Arnold! The Movie, as did Paul Sorvino.
Other Trek connections
- The Happy Hooker (1975, with Richard Lynch)
- The Frisco Kid (1979, with Clyde Kusatsu and Ian Wolfe)
- Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981, with Sid Haig)
- Homer and Eddie (1989, with Whoopi Goldberg, Tommy "Tiny" Lister, Jr., Jimmie F. Skaggs, and Tracey Walter)
- Waiting for the Light (1990, with Clancy Brown and Terri Garr)
- Ted & Venus (1991, with Andrea Martin and Brian Thompson)
- Dry Martini (1998, with Michelle Forbes and Charles Rocket)
- Rusty: A Dog's Tale (1998, with Beau Billingslea, Damara Reilly, Michael Sorich, Frank Welker, and Jim Cummings)
- Inferno (1999, with Larry Drake, Bill Erwin, Jeff Kober, and Robert Symonds)
- American Virgin (2000, with Sally Kellerman)
- 3 Strikes (2000, with Richard Fancy and Phil Morris)
- The 4th Tenor (2002, with Hamilton Camp, Richard Libertini, and Don Stark)
- Trapper John, M.D. episode "Aunt Mildred Is Watching" (1984, with Bibi Besch and Ray Wise)
- Remington Steele episode "Steele on the Air" (1986, with John Hancock; series created by Robert Butler)
- MacGyver episode "Soft Touch" (1987, with Michael Ensign and Teri Hatcher)
- Melrose Place episode "In-Laws and Outlaws" (1994, with William Schallert)
- M.A.N.T.I.S. episode "Progenitor" (1995, with Spencer Garrett)
- Escape to Witch Mountain (1995 TV movie, with Brad Dourif, Henry Gibson, and Kevin Tighe)
- Back to Back (1996 TV movie, with Scott Leva and Leland Orser; written and directed by Roger Nygard)
- Dead Last episode "Heebee Geebee's" (2001, with Franc Ross)