Stage, film and television star René Auberjonois died today at his home in Los Angeles after a battle with metastaic lung cancer, he was 79.
Auberjonois had a long and commendable career as an actor, voice actor, singer and director. He was best known for his roles in Benson, Boston Legal and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Auberjoinois is also well known for his voice role as Chef Louis in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. He was was nominated for three Emmy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and several Tony Award nominations, amoung many others. In 2007 Rene won the Prism Award for his role in Boston Legal. In 2018, Rene was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
Coming from an atistic family and born in New York in 1940, Rene knew that he wanted to be an actor from the age of five. His paternal grandfather was a Swiss post impressionist painter. His mother, Princess Laure Louise Napoléone Eugénie Caroline Murat, was a distant relative of Napoleon Bonaparte. It was when the family lived in Paris after WWII that young Rene stated his amitions for the stage.
Auberjonois finished high school in London and then attended Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh. After college he worked with several theater compaines and traveled throughout the United States, including Los Angeles and Broadway, performing on the stage. His first film role would come as Father Mulcahy in 1970’s MASH. Rene had a small role in 1991’s Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country as Colonel West.
Over the years Auberjonois had many roles on television, but for Sci-fi fans he is best known for playing Constable Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Wearing heavy makeup that made facial expression nearly impossible, Rene Auberjonois was able to convey more emotion than most. His character, a misunderstood and unknown species (at the start of the series), forged a strong connection with those of us living on the fringes of scociety. Even after his role on DS9 ended, Auberjonois continued to make apperances at Star Trek and Sci-fi conventions.
It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to René Auberjonois. If I may speak on a personal level, Odo was a hero of mine. Much like Odo, I was an outsider growing up. As a child, Odo taught me that it was okay to be different and that, often, it’s a better thing to not fit into anyone else’s mold.