Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Space: 1970 Hall Of Fame: Mark Lenard
The idea is to spotlight figures of great influence over the science fiction films and television shows of the Space: 1970 era - writers, directors, artists, producers and actors. I thought I'd kick that feature off today with a remembrance of the great character actor Mark Lenard, born on this day in 1924.
And then, to make it a perfect Trek hat trick, he also portrayed a Klingon captain - the first Klingon we ever saw with the famous ridged forhead - in 1979's Star Trek - The Motion Picture!
So, just within the confines of a single franchise, Lenard was a notable presence in the Space: 1970 firmament. But, as they say in late night infomercials, "wait - there's more!"
In 1979, he was the evil Emperor Thorval of the Cliffhangers serial, The Secret Empire, where he ruled the aforementioned subterranean locale as absolute dictator with ambitions of ruling the surface world as well. He also had a memorable role as an alien ambassador - and former flame of Wilma Deering! - in the second season Buck Rogers episode, "Journey To Oasis."
Additionally, Lenard appeared in the third season episode of The Incredible Hulk, "Captive Night." Surprisingly, he never guested on either of the "bionic" shows...
With nearly 60 film and television credits (mostly TV, where he was a reliable episodic guest star on many shows), Lenard was a familiar face and voice to audiences of the 60s and 70s, and to science fiction fans in particular. I remember how the theater erupted in applause when he made his dramatic entrance in Star Trek III - The Search For Spock.
Mark Lenard passed away on November 22nd, 1996.
A Tip of The Space Helmet: While it is true that I had been thinking about this sort of feature for the last couple years, and even called it the "Hall of Fame" in conversations with my wife, the kick in the backside that finally started me putting it together came from friend of the blog Jason Shepherd. Earlier this year, he suggested the same "Hall of Fame" idea to me in an e-mail, and even suggested some people that would be worthy of honoring. So, thanks, Jason!