Friday, May 4, 2012

Just a quick note about George Murdock: RIP at 81

No, I did not know or even have the pleasure to meet actor George Murdock, who died last Monday at age 81. But I felt compelled to point out one fact:

The mainstream obits for Mr. Murdock are very complete, but they all love to lead with how he played "God" in Star Trek V ... and even zapped Kirk after the immortal line, "What does God need with a starship?"

That's nice, but ...The "God" role was a glorified, overexposed effects cameo with facial details barely perceptible.  To me, the more memorable of Murdock's two Trek roles is as the heroic  Admiral Hansen, doomed commander of the Starfleet armada wiped out in the infamous "battle" of Wolf 359 (above).

I can just see you saying Ah yes!  as your own light bulb goes off. In fact, I KNOW it did.

The little TV kid in me, too, loves Murdock for his dozen or so guest bits as the creepy Lt. Scanlon of Internal Affairs, an occasional thorn in the side of Barney Miller in the beloved but rarely seen ABC police sitcom. (Totally off-topic, but kudos to Shout! Factory for finally getting the whole 8-year series out on DVD.)

But there's one other role the gruff-talking native of Salina, Kans., could claim from the glory days of TV: he played Dr. Salik, the main doctor of TV"s original 1978 Battlestar Galactica... schlepping around his medical bay with bio-pod beds in that tan uniform.

So, farewell to another great character actor: George Murdock did it all.

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