Mark Lenard played three different aliens opposite the original Star Trek cast

He played a Romulan, a Vulcan and a Klingon. Important ones, too.

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Beatles fans argue about who best deserves the honorary title of "Fifth Beatle." Is it producer George Martin? Manager Brian Epstein? Original bassist Stu Sutcliffe? Or, well, Pete Best? 

You can play a similar game with the original cast of Star Trek. Of course, you have the core of Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu and Chekov… but who is that unheralded extra? Majel Barret? Grace Lee Whitney?

We're here to make the case of Mark Lenard, the utility alien for the Original Series cast. Not only did he play three different alien species — the three core non-human species, we might add — they were all historically important in the Star Trek canon.

The Chicago native made his Trek debut in 1966, in the first-season episode "Balance of Terror." In that masterful tale, one of the greatest episodes in the franchise, Lenard played the first Romulan ever seen in the Trek universe. His Romulan Commander proves himself to be a crafty adversary of the Enterprise.

The following season, Lenard played a visually similar if characteristically different alien altogether. He was Spock's dad, Sarek, in "Journey to Babel." The Vulcan father would become Lenard's most notable Star Trek role, one that would carry over into different spin-offs. He voiced Sarek in "Yesteryear," an early episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series that explored Spock's childhood and backstory. Sarek appeared in two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, including the eponymous "Sarek." Sarek also appeared in three of the Star Trek movies, III, IV and VI.

CBS TelevisionSarek in 'The Animated Series'

Speaking of the big-screen blockbusters, Lenard made Trek history again in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In the opening scenes of the 1979 film, he helms a Klingon battle cruiser. As the camera zoomed in on the captain of the IKS Amar, Trekkies saw something rather shocking. The Klingons now had jagged forehead ridges. That's Lenard under all that makeup. Remember, in the Original Series, Klingons were pretty much just bronzed actors.

Lenard's Klingon captain was the first Klingon depicted with that distinctive "Klingon forehead." Oh, he also happened to be the first actor to speak the Klingon language.

So, to recap: First Romulan? Spock's pop? First Klingon to speak Klingon? Seems like Lenard deserves a place amongst the stars.

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Hogansucks1 10 days ago
I am curious though about - while BOTH Nemoy & Lenard were on the same set filming a scene, and the director or crew called out loudly “LEONARD/ LENARD ?? How many times they both respond before they went to a first named basis ??? (Hilarious thought). 😂🤣😆🤪🧐
daDoctah Hogansucks1 10 days ago
Not to mention that Dr McCoy's first name was Leonard, which is probably why he was usually addressed as "Bones" (by Kirk) or "Doctor" (by Spock).
F5Twitster Hogansucks1 10 days ago
Not as confusing or embarrassing as misspelling Leonard NIMOY'S name.
F5Twitster daDoctah 10 days ago
And Martin Landau, who was Gene Roddenberry's first casting choice as Spock, played he character "Leonard" in Hitchcock's "North by Northwest."
Wiseguy F5Twitster 6 days ago
And MeTV misspelled Majel Barrett's name.
MarkSpeck 10 days ago
Lenard was oddly cast in the first of four appearances he made on Hawaii Five-O. In the episode "To Hell With Babe Ruth", he was a Japanese mental patient who thought that Pearl Harbor hadn't been bombed and set out to bomb it. Needless to say, he was far from Japanese in real life.

But he was much more believable as a Japanese character than the actor they originally considered...Ricardo Montalban, who had already played a Japanese mob leader on the show!
MarkSpeck 10 days ago
Although Mark Lenard played Leonard Nimoy's father, in real life, he was only four years older than Nimoy!
F5Twitster MarkSpeck 10 days ago
So? Ernest Borgnine played Kirk Douglas's father in "The Vikings," though Kirk was actually six weeks older.
VBartilucci 11 days ago
I think Suzie Plakson holds the record for the most alien races played on Star Trek. Can anyone confirm? Jeffrey Combs is up there as well.
daDoctah VBartilucci 10 days ago
It's a lot easier to answer this question for "Lost in Space". Has to be Dawson Palmer.
MaryMitch VBartilucci 10 days ago
Jeffrey Combs - he played a Klingon, a human, a Ferengi, an Andorian, a Vorta, and two unknown humanoids (of 2 different species).

Susie Plakson played a half Klingon, a Vulcan, a Q, and an Andorian.
BelleFleur 12 days ago
He also portrayed the gorilla Urko on the short-lived Planet of the Apes tv series in 1974.
dmagoon 12 days ago
BTW, on "In Living Color", a skit commented about Klingon, etc. head anatomy resembling certain unembraceable body parts; but the "Buttmans" could be decribed as looking like mutant Klingons.
Hogansucks1 dmagoon 10 days ago
LOL. 😂. Their skits on Star Trek are absolutely hilarious, Jim Carey and co-stars are priceless! And dragoon, try I.L.C.’s- (Romeo & Juliet) skit- LMFAO. 😂
pius 13 days ago
He played the Romulan commander so well. Great actor and I loved him as Sarek.
dingopossum 13 days ago
Mark Leonard was a gifted actor and stern father to spock
dodgebob dingopossum 11 days ago
I love reruns, double takes, double dyes, double mints, twins and carbine repeaters.
Hogansucks1 dodgebob 10 days ago
Particularly .30 cal. M-1 carbine - that’s just me 😋
F5Twitster dingopossum 10 days ago
Mark LENARD.
dingopossum 13 days ago
Mark Leonard was a gifted actor and stern father to spock
F5Twitster dingopossum 10 days ago
Mark LENARD.
daDoctah 13 days ago
One of the Star Trek paperbacks had Spock sent back in time to the 19th century and to the west coast of North America with his memory wiped. At some point he finds himself in Seattle interacting with characters from "Here Come the Brides", including one man about whom he experiences odd, almost familial feelings.

Mark Lenard, of course, was not only Spock's father but played sawmill owner Aaron Stempel on HTCB.
Mirramanee daDoctah 12 days ago
I know that book. It was kind of a ridiculous story, but at the same time, kind of endearing. I still have it in my home library.
OldTVfanatic 13 days ago
For the record, James Doohan (Scotty) co-developed both the Klingon and Vulcan languages.
Very interesting- Who was the other writer/ writer’s? Gene or ?. ? 🧐🙂
Marc Okuda also co-developed the Klingon language.
Thanks for those tid-bits —— I love this stuff 😉
My pleasure. By the way, the Vulcan language is derived from Hebrew.
🧐 🤨 🖖. Fascinating
F5Twitster Hogansucks1 10 days ago
Tidbit, one word (British English: titbit).
OK! Mr. Spellcheck! Thanks for the TID-BIT. 😆. ‘Check that’ 🧐
Pacificsun 13 days ago
Pssst - MeTV Staff

The question is ... do you actually watch the series? Or just read what a ton of people are saying about the show. 😉

If not, you're going to get nailed on this statement. But (shhh) there's still time to correct it.

"Of course, you have the core of Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu and Chekov… but who is that unheralded extra? Majel Barret? Grace Lee Whitney?"

So Extras are most always uncredited (unidentified) filler folks. Like the ones sitting in Perry Mason's Gallery. And ST has a ton of them.

Second, for Trek fans, all the recurring characters (actors) are "core." Particularly Majel Barret (Mrs. Roddenberry). And Grace Lee Whitney (Kirks female yeoman (a Page of sorts). She had a particular role in "Charlie X" and her own following at Conventions.
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StrayCat Mirramanee 11 days ago
I remember Grace Lee Whitney in a small non speaking role in the movie Irma La Douce where she was mostly background eye candy. As Kiki the Cossack she was stunning and might have stolen the show if she were given something to do besides stand around in the background. She was by far the best looking of all the prostitutes.
MarkSpeck StrayCat 10 days ago
She played mostly brassy blondes in crime dramas prior to landing the role of Yeoman Rand. I'm glad to see she got the chance to play an intelligent, strong woman, rather than continue playing the floozy.
Hogansucks1 Pacificsun 10 days ago
What’s funny, is that if a member/ fill-in of the away shore party was wearing a uniform red security shirt - one of Them was gonna get clobbered in some way !! 😂
Hogansucks1 Mirramanee 10 days ago
I rented a vehicle through Enterprise car rental to get to one .😂🤣. No, really- I got that line from ‘The Big Bang Theory’. (Great). 😆
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