'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' actor René Auberjonois dies at 79

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 05:  Actor Rene Auberjonois speaks at the "Director's Cut" panel during the 17th annual official Star Trek convention at the Rio Hotel & Casino on August 5, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)
Rene Auberjonois (Credit: Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)

René Auberjonois, best known for his roles on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and law drama Boston Legal, has died at the age of 79.

His family confirmed that he died following a battle with lung cancer.

New York-born Auberjonois played the character of the changeling Odo, head of security on the Deep Space Nine and a fan favourite, appearing 173 episodes of the Star Trek series.

He also played lawyer Paul Lewiston in five series of Boston Legal, and the role of Clayton Endicott III in the sitcom Benson, as well as a wealth of other TV work, including appearances on shows like Charlie's Angels, Starsky & Hutch, The Rockford Files, Frasier and Murder, She Wrote.

René Auberjonois as Odo in Deep Space Nine (Credit: Paramount)
René Auberjonois as Odo in Deep Space Nine (Credit: Paramount)

The son of a Pultizer Prize-winning writer and an impressionist painter, he was born in New York, but grew up in Paris and London, where he studied theatre.

Auberjonois also worked many times with the auteur Robert Altman, first in the Korean war black comedy MASH, in which he played Father Mulcahey, and then in movies like The Player with Tim Robbins, McCabe & Mrs Miller, with Warren Beatty and Julie Christie.

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As a voice actor, he also played Chef Louis in Disney's The Little Mermaid – singing the song Les Poissons – and latterly lent his skills to video games including the Uncharted and Fallout series.

Many of the Star Trek alumni, as well as countless fans, have paid tribute to Auberjonois.