(written from a Production point of view)
William Smithers (born 10 July 1927; age 94) is the character actor from Richmond, Virginia, who played Captain R.M. Merik in the Star Trek: The Original Series second season episode "Bread and Circuses".
He was well-versed for playing villainous roles, and is perhaps best known for his recurring role as J.R. Ewing's arch nemesis Jeremy Wendell on the classic television series Dallas, primarily from 1984 through 1989. Prior to this, Smithers had brief stints on such popular TV shows as Young Dr. Malone (from 1962 through 1963) and Peyton Place (1965 through 1966). He was also a regular on the short-lived 1976 series Executive Suite, co-starring fellow Trek actors Sharon Acker, Richard Cox, Leigh J. McCloskey, Paul Lambert, Madlyn Rhue, Percy Rodriguez, and Mitch Ryan. Corey Allen was among the directors of this series. Allen later directed Smithers in the 1980 made-for-TV movie The Return of Frank Cannon, which co-starred Diana Muldaur.
Besides Star Trek, Smithers has made frequent television guest appearances. Among the shows on which he has guest-starred are Mission: Impossible (which, like TOS, was originally produced by Desilu), The F.B.I., Mannix, The Invaders (with Paul Carr), The Mod Squad (starring Clarence Williams III and Tige Andrews), Ironside, Barnaby Jones (with Lee Meriwether), Quincy, M.E. (featuring Robert Ito and Garry Walberg), and Walker, Texas Ranger (with Noble Willingham and Marshall R. Teague). Smithers only has a few feature films to his credit, however. Among these are 1972's Trouble Man (starring Robert Hooks and Paul Winfield), the 1973 films Scorpio (which co-starred fellow TOS guest actors John Colicos, Joanne Linville, James B. Sikking, and Celeste Yarnall) and Papillon (co-starring Bill Mumy, Ron Soble, Vic Tayback, and Anthony Zerbe), and 1978's Deathsport, with Star Trek: The Next Generation guest star Richard Lynch.
Other Trek connections
- Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea episode "The Plant Man" (1966) with Arch Whiting
- Call to Danger (1968 TV movie) with Laurel Goodwin and James Gregory
- Where the Ladies Go (1980 TV movie) with Lou Antonio