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'Star Trek,' 'Doctor Who' Actor William Morgan Sheppard Dies at 86

01/07/2019

British actor William Morgan Sheppard has passed away. He was 86.

Sheppard is best known for playing four different roles across Star Trek television and movies. He played the Rura Penth commandant in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. He played Cmdr. Data’s “grandfather” Ira Graves in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Schizoid Man.” He also played a Qatai in the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Bliss.” His final Star Trek role was that of the Vulcan Science Council minister is the 2009 Star Trek reboot movie.

He also appeared in the Doctor Who Season Six episode “The Impossible Astronaut.” He played an older version of the character Canton Everett Deleware III. His son, popular character actor Mark Sheppard (Crowley on Supernatural), played the younger version. Both Sheppards are among the few actors to appear in both the Star Trek and Doctor Who franchise.

The Sheppards also played the older and younger versions of the same character in an episode of NCIS. They played Marcin Jerek, a Polish-born former interrogator for the CIA, in the season six episode “Broken Bird.”

Mark Sheppard made a statement about his father’s death on Instagram.

“We went to spend some time with my father today,” he wrote. “Though he couldn’t speak, we held hands, he laughed and was so happy to see us. We left and came home. A good day. He was rushed to hospital and passed at 6:30pm, my mother by his side. I am so grateful that he didn’t have to suffer any longer. Thank you for all your kind thoughts, love and prayers.”

William Morgan Shepard was born in 1932. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Drama and Art in 1958. He served 12 years as an associate artist for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He also appeared on Broadway in productions of Marat/Sade and Sherlock Holmes.

Besides Star Trek, Doctor Who, and NCIS, Sheppard’s other TV credits include playing Blank Reg in Max Headroom and two different roles in Babylon 5. He played the titular character of the episode “Soul Hunter” and the Narn leader G’Sten, G’Ken’s uncle, in the episode “The Long Twilight Struggle.”

In movies, Sheppard played the Confederate army general Isaac Trimble in the films Gettysburg and its prequel Gods and Generals.

Sheppard also did some voice acting. He voiced David Xanatos and Odin in the animated series Gargoyles. He also voiced Santa Claus in the Disney Christmas special Prep & Landing and its sequels, Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa and Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice.

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