some of the cast of ST: DS9 are relatively newcomers, Rene Auberjonois
has had a long an widely
varied career on stage, in film and on television. Longtime TV viewers may very well recognize him as
Clayton Endicott III, the Emmy Award winning role he played for six years on Benson. As Robert
Guillame's long-time adversary, he was a character audiences loved to hate; as DS9's Odo he once again
plays a character that is in many ways unsympathetic. But he also reveals to us, in every nuance of that
character, that Odo has his own humanity, buried behind the pain of his incredible isolation as the only
known member of his mysterious species.
Auberjonois was born in 1940 in New York City, the offspring of an artistic
family: his father was a
writer and his grandfather was a well known Swiss painter. His father was a news correspondent so the
Auberjonois family travelled quite a bit, living not only in New York City and Rockland County but in
Paris and London as well.
in fact, Rene Auberjonois' stage career has been fairly illustrious, marked
by triumphs and many
prestigious awards. He made his Broadway debut in the musical Coco with Katharine Hepburn. For this
role he won a Tony Award; he also received a Tony for his performances in the Broadway stagings of Big
River and The Good Doctor. But one of the best known Broadway roles for which he won a Tony was as
the character Buddie Fidler, the movie mogul, in the recent musical City of Angels. Other stage work
included appearing with James Earl Jones in the late 1970s Joseph Papp production of King Lear. He
also has had roles in Richard III and Metamorphosis.
Auberjonois made his film debut in 1970 for director Robert Altman in the
hugely popular movie
M*A*S*H. He appeared in Altman's next film, BREWSTER MCCLOUD. This was quickly followed by
MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER, IMAGES, PETE 'N TILLIE, and the 1976 TV movie Panache. Other films
he has appeared in include THE HINDENBERG (with George C. Scott(, the 1976 version of KING KONG,
THE EYES OF LAURA MARS, and POLICE ACADEMY 5. His latest film role was as a crusty old
Western trader in THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO.
I read the pilot script of DS9 I saw this wonderful character; I was very
excited. I see a lot of scripts
and this was something special. I met with the ST people and it was no easy task. They put me through
a lot of hoops to get the part. I went back four or five times to convince them I was the actor--they were
looking for actors for all the parts in London, New York, and everywhere! They were really on quite a search.
It was huge. I have a lot of friends who went up for the rold of Odo and other parts. It was a real coup to get
the role and I'm just loving it!"
Visitor told Superstar Facts magazine, "Rene is one of the most fun people
I've ever met. He's got the
best stories; he's a very vibrant, happy soul and we've gone out to dinner, the whole families. We've gone to
his house for dinner--he's an incredible cook, as his wife. In the back of Bon Appetit they always ask
celebrities, 'If you could choose three people to have a dinner party with, who would they be?' Rene
Auberjonois would be one of mine because he's that much fun."
many actors, Auberjonois does not care to watch his own work if he can
avoid it. However, during
DS9 he has consistently studied his performance. "I've always been a little uncomfortable watching myself.
It's hearing your own voice on a tape recorder: it makes you uncomfortable. When you work on stage, you
give the performance and it goes out into the void. There's a finite number of people who see it and then it's
gone forever. I just accept that as part of what I do."
believes that his background in theater is perfect for his role on DS9.
"It was a natural for me. If you're
going to do pop culture, ST is the closest thing to classical theater. There's nothing else like it." But what
he didn't expect after all his years in show business is the sudden increase in notoriety he's experienced.
"I've been doing this for 30 years. I am not an overnight discovery. I also didn't take this job thinking that I
was about to become part of pop culture; it is such a phenomenon. I am just beginning to get an inkling of
what this is all about. I didn't consider this when I took the job. It just came along at a really good time. I
have two kids in college and I wanted to do steady work. I didn't think about becoming a pop culture icon."
that as it may, Rene Auberjonois is now a part of the ST universe through
his role as Odo, a fascinating
and multi-layered addition to the cosmos first envisioned by Gene Roddenberry, and brought to vivid life by
this talented and distinguished actor.