by Susan Macdonald 

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images [Ron Glass, 2013]

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images [Ron Glass, 2013]

2016 has claimed another victim. Actor Ron Glass, best known for playing Det. Ron Harris on Barney Miller and Shepherd Book on Firefly and Serenity passed away November 25, 2016 of respiratory failure in Los Angeles, California.

Ron Glass co-starred in the police sit-com Barney Miller as Detective Ron Harris, a plain-clothes detective who wrote “Blood on the Badge” and other stories. He was dapper, well-dressed, articulate, and ambitious. From 1975 to 1982 Glass portrayed Det. Sgt. Ron Harris. He was nominated for an Emmy as Outstanding Supporting Actor in 1982.

Although Ron Glass was best known as the NYPD detective with literary aspirations and a fine sense of sartorial elegance, he was no stranger to science fiction roles.

He co-starred as Shepherd Derrial Book, the clergyman with a mysterious past in Joss Whedon’s Firefly, and reprised the role in the movie Serenity. Shepherd Book left the abbey to wander the universe and took passage on a battered Firefly-class freighter, becoming the Friar Tuck for Mal Reynolds’ Merry Men. Despite being a shepherd, he was amazingly well informed on weaponry, military strategy, and Alliance organization and tactics.

It’s not about making sense. It’s about believing in something, and letting that belief be real enough to change your life. It’s about faith. You don’t fix faith, River. It fixes you.  “Jaynestown”

Zoë: Preacher, don’t the Bible have some pretty specific things to say about killin’? 
Book: Quite specific. It is, however, somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps.  “War Stories”

Image via 20th Century-Fox  [Ron Glass as Shepherd Derrial Book]

Image via 20th Century-Fox [Ron Glass as Shepherd Derrial Book]

Firefly was not Ron Glass’ only science fiction role, of course. He was in the SF/horror movie Deep Space. He co-starred with Claudia Black (Farscape, Stargate: SG-1), Alan Tudyk (Firefly), Michael Dorn (ST: TNG), Tim Curry (Rocky Horror Picture Show, Legend), Claudia Christian (Babylon 5), and George Takei (Star Trek) in Strange Frame. He portrayed the Devil in the Twilight Zone reboot series and the alien Loken in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. He co-starred as God’s cousin Rod in the TV series Teen Angel and played Dr. Streiten in two episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He also played the Black Knight in one episode of When Things Were Rotten. He did voiceover work for the cartoons Rugrats, Superman, Aladdin, Rugrats: All Grown Up, and The Proud Family, and for two video games, Fable II and Ancient Space.

Ron Glass had his first television role on Sanford and Son in 1972. He appeared in a wide variety of TV shows, including The New Odd Couple, Mr. Rhodes, Amen, and Rhythm and Blues. In addition to Serenity, he was in over a dozen movies.

Ronald Earle Glass was born July 10, 1945 in Evansville, Indiana. He graduated from the University of Evansville with a double major in Drama and Literature. He was a Buddhist, an active member of the Soka Gakkai International. 

-30-