O’Connell as Thelev {image via Paramount}

Actor William O’Connell, who played Thelev, the imposter Andorian in Star Trek‘s classic episode “Journey to Babel” has died at the age of 94, in Sherman Oaks, California.

In the Every Which Way movies, O’Connell played Elmo: Every Which Way But Loose (1978), Any Which Way You Can (1980). He also performed in the musical western Paint Your Wagon (1969).

SciFi, Fantasy, and Horror Roles

  • Rhelev Star Trek “Journey to Babel” 1967
  • Mr. Perkins Batman “Instant Freeze” 1966
  • Brewster Hocking Kolchak “The Knightly Murders” 1975
  • Simkin Fantastic Journey “Riddles” 1977
  • Priest The Dead Don’t Die (1975)
  • Bank Clerk The Munsters “Happy 100th Anniversary” 1965
  • Art Summers The Alfred Hitchcock Hour “Off Season” 1965
  • Father Kearney The Haunted (1991)
  • Field Rep #1 Twilight Zone “Cavender Is Coming” 1963
  • The Creature The Outer Limits “The Chamelron” 1964

He also appeared in several Clint Eastwood films. He had guest roles on Batman, Kolchak, Fantastic Journey, and Twilight Zone

Although we at SciFi.Radio remember O’Connell best from “Journey to Babel,” like any actor of his generation, he appeared in many westerns, both TV shows and movies.

Western Roles

  • Bryce The Travels of Jamie McPheeter “The Day of Leaving” 1963
  • Hotel Clerk Rawhide “The Lost Herd” 1964
  • Poet Rawhide “The Photographer” 1964
  • Broadside poster Bonanza “A Knight to Remember” 1964
  • Clarence O’Day Pistols ‘n” Petticoats “Shootout at O’Day Corral” 1966
  • Dr. Winterich Wild, Wild West “The Night of the Pistoleros” 1969
  • Horace Tabor Paint Your Wagon )1969)
  • Jackson Gunsmoke “The Badge” 1970
  • Store Clerk Scandalous John (1971)
  • )Bartender The Culpepper Cattle Co. (1972)
  • Barber High Plains Drifter (1973)
  • Jim Carstairs The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

Shakespeare said”All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely Players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts”

William O’Connell appeared on Charlie’s Angels, Dennis the Menace, Daniel Boone, Julia, and Love, American Style. Best known outside of SciFi circles for his collaborations with Clint Eastwood, he also appeared in comedies with Jerry Lewis, Which Way to the Front? (1970) and dramas with Shirley Jones, The Happy Ending (1969) A man deserves to be remembered for more than one role. He was an army veteran, having served honorably in Korea, in the 45th Infantry Division.

Our condolences to his family and friends.


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.