The prolific actor, voice actor, and musician David Ogden Stiers died on Saturday at 75 from bladder cancer. Now the official Star Trek website is memorializing the actor, who appeared in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Stiers played Dr. Timicin in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Four episode "Half a Life," which originally aired on May 6, 1991. Timicin was a scientist from Kaelon II. The Kaelon culture determined that, at a certain age, its citizens must undergo the Resolution, a form of ritual suicide that allowed the old to pass on to make room for the young to take charge.
Timicin's participation in the Resolution was put in doubt when he came aboard the Enterprise-D and fell in love with Deanna Troi's mother, Lwaxana Troi, played by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry. "Half a Life" remains a highly-regarded episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation for its powerfully emotional story that gave Barrett-Roddenberry uncharacteristically serious material to work with as Lwaxana. It is also remembered for being a rare Star Trek episode that focuses almost entirely on its guest stars, and for the brilliant performances given by both Stiers and Barrett-Roddenberry.
In 2007, Stiers reflected on the story of Dr. Timicin in an interview with StarTrek.com.
"They really let it focus on the two of us, which was very unusual," Stiers said. "I just watched a clip of it this morning. I had forgotten how beautifully written the arguments are. The whole moral dilemma was beautifully presented. I'm not jumping up and down, but I really like the idea that I live in a state with dignity legislation and physician assisted suicide, should it ever come to that. That seems to me to be an intelligent and mature middle ground. You don't use it if you don't want to, but it's there if you are in need, for whatever reason, of a legitimate reason for ending your life."
Stiers will remain best known for his role on MASH, but his performance on Star Trek: The Next Generation and his many voice-acting roles for DC Comics and Disney animated productions won't be soon forgotten either.