I thought it would be a breeze to blog about Star Trek actors appearing on Murder, She Wrote. I was wrong. First I compiled a looooong list of Star Trek cast members and checked their profiles on imdb.com for Murder, She Wrote credits. But I also wanted to blog about series regulars popping up on Murder, She Wrote. I made another list. Then because I am a bit of an aficionado of famed character actors and I couldn't resist the temptation to include them. Another list was created. Then it occurred to me that I had overlooked the movies. In short order (well not that short, it was rather time consuming) I had an extensive -- but by no means exhaustive -- master list1 and was faced with the logistical problem of presenting it in a single post.
I have now put more thought in to this topic than I did in to planning my own wedding.
Let's start with Star Trek: The Original Series.
• The only series regular to appear on Murder She Wrote is George Takei. As an aside, Takei only appears in 51 of 80 episodes of TOS. Yet Mr Takei continues to present himself as being the victim of William Shatner's ego. He would prefer if no one drew attention to the fact that Shatner was the star of the show, whereas Takei was set dressing. It was only when the cartoon series was produced, and Takei could be hired for spare change, that Sulu's character developed. But I digress.
Takei appears on "The Bottom Line Is Murder" (MSW, S3) as Bert Tanaka. It's a one dimensional characterization, and it's uncomfortable to watch Takei's performance as a deranged buffoon employed as a janitor. It strays uncomfortably close to Ugly Stereotype category thanks to Takei's over-the-top accent.
In 53 episodes of Murder, She Wrote, William Windom played Seth Hazlitt, Cabot Cove's doctor. Trekkies know him as Matt Decker from "The Doomsday Machine." He took over command of the Enterprise and damn near got everyone killed. But Kirk saved the day. Phew.
Hazlitt often reminds me of TOS' Bones, and is as loveable as Decker was maddening.
•Ricardo Montalbán played the role of Khan in "Space Seed" (and in the second Star Trek movie) and showed up as Vaacclav Maryska in "Murder in F Sharp" (MSW, S7).
•In the same Star Trek episode Madlyn Rhue was Montalbán's love interest Marla McGivers. In Murder, She Wrote she was Cabot Cove librarian, Jean O'Neill. The role was created for Rhue by Angela Landsbury to ensure that Rhue didn't lose her Screen Actors Guild health insurance. Rhue desperately needed the coverage as she suffered from Multiple Sclerosis. Angela Landsbury is a classy lady.
Morgan Woodward is probably a name you don't recognize. But chances are you have seen him -- and heard his distinctive voice -- at some point. He was Sheriff Brademus in "Test of Wills" (MSW, S6). Over twenty years earlier after he was cast twice in Star Trek. In "The Omega Glory" he was Captain Tracey and in "Dagger of the Mind" he was Dr. Simon van Gelder. Both men were off their individual rockers and when I watched the episodes I found him terrifying. In my defense, I was 10.
Melvin Belli was an excellent lawyer and a horrible actor. The latter is evident if you've seen him as Gorgon in "And The Children Shall Lead." Two decades later he was still stilted and awful when he turned up in "From the Horse's Mouth" (MSW, S7) as Judge Harley. Rumour is that Belli leveraged his legal expertise to get clients in Hollywood to cast him in their shows. It's really the only plausible explanation.
Mariette Hartley wooed Spock in "All Our Yesterdays" as Zarabeth which is one of my favourite episodes. "Night of the Coyote" (MSW, S9) was her only appearance on Murder She Wrote.
• The character of Losira in "That Which Survives" is played by Lee Meriwether. She was also Grace Overholtz in "A Lady in the Lake" (MSW, S2). In which series do you think she wore the above ensemble!? GUESS!
• Kim Darby was the titular character in "Miri" (TOS). She showed up twice in Murder, She Wrote. The episodes were "Flim Flam" (MSW, S11) and "We're Off to Kill the Wizard" (MSW, S1). I've seen both of these episodes at least once and I never made the connection to Miri till now. She's a grup, now! Finally she can track down Kirk and show him that she's better than that floozy Yeoman Rand.
If I missed any appearance let me know.
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1 -- This is my defensive way of showing you that I tried my best and I know I missed some names, but please be gentle with me.