Family & Companions
This lanky, versatile blond award-winning stage actor first gained notice in films as part of Robert Altman's stock company in the 1970s, most notably as the ornithology lecturer who becomes increasingly bird-like in "Brewster McCloud" (1970). Usually cast in offbeat, if a bit snooty, character roles, Rene Auberjonois was featured on the TV series "Benson" (ABC, 1980-86), as Clayton Endicott III, the governor's officious chief aide. He has attracted the notice of faithful legions of Trekkers as Odo, an enigmatic shape-shifting alien who serves as the space station security chief on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (syndicated, 1993-99). Despite the constraints of heavy makeup, the actor was able to create one of "Trek's" most complex character using little more than his voice and his eyes, playing Odo as a stern, cynical, discplined lawman with the heart of a romantic hidden underneath.
The New York native graduated from Carnegie-Mellon and studied under John Houseman at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut. He also furthered his training as a company member of the Arena Stage and at the prestigious American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. In 1968, he made his NYC stage debut as the Fool in "King Lear" and within two years had won a Tony Award supporting Katharine Hepburn in the musical "Coco" (1970). Despite achieving success in TV, Auberjonois has periodically returned to Broadway, usually netting a Tony nomination for his work, as in Neil Simon's "The Good Doctor" (1973), paired with Bob Gunton as the Duke and the King in "Big River" (1985), Roger Miller's musicalization of "Huckleberry Finn," and more recently, as the studio chief modeled on Samuel Goldwyn in the Tony-winning "City of Angels" (1989-90).
On the big screen, Auberjonois debuted in Robert Rossen's "Lilith" (1964) before joining Altman in a series of films that has included "M*A*S*H" (1970), "McCabe & Mrs. Miller" (1971), and "The Player" (1992). He cast in the all-star disaster film "The Hindenburg" (1975), as Burgess Meredith's traveling companion. Other film roles of note include a foppish appearance in "Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach" (1988), as Dr. Burton in "Batman Forever" (1995), and as Prof. Artemus Bradford in the live-action feature "Inspector Gadget" (1999).
The small screen has also provided a wide range of roles for the gifted actor. In 1971, he made a guest appearance in an episode of "Night Gallery" before landing a supporting role in "Once Upon a Dead Man" (NBC), the TV-movie pilot for "McMillan and Wife." Auberjonois played Edgar to James Earl Jones' "King Lear" (PBS, 1974) and made his miniseries debut in "The Rhinemann Exchange" (NBC, 1977). He played the very formal Captain Sir David Edney in two "The Wild Wild West" (CBS) reunion TV-movies in 1979 and 1980 and earned an Emmy nod as the famous Washington Irving character Ichabod Crane in "Once Upon a Midnight Dreary" (CBS, 1979). Other notable appearances have included as Merlin in "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur Court" (NBC, 1989) and as a gay man in "The Lost Language of Cranes" (PBS, 1991).
Post-"Deep Space Nine," Auberjonois' credits included a recurring role on the CBS drama "Judging Amy" as Judge Jackson Keeler; a guest spot as a human character on a 2002 episode of UPN's "Trek" spin-off series "Enterprise"; a turn as James Callender in the specualtive historical telepic based on Thomas Jefferson's relationship with a female slave, "Sally Hemings: An American Scandal" (2000), portraying Prof. Buonragazzo in Disney's live-action musical TV production of "Geppetto" (ABC, 2000) opposite Drew Carey and "Trek" regular Brent Spiner; and playing a reverend in Roland Emmerich's American Revolution drama "The Patriot" (2000) opposite Mel Gibson and a pastor in the dark, generational comedy "Eulogy" (2004). The actor returned to series television on David E. Kelley's law drama "Boston Legal" (ABC, 2004 - ) in a recurring role as the wary legal ace Paul Lewiston, this time co-starring opposite "Trek" legend William Shatner.
Auberjonois has also become a specialist in voice work for animation, starting with the voice of the evil Dr. Braxis in 1985's syndicated "Challenge of the GoBots." He is perhaps best recalled as the French cook Louis in the big screen "The Little Mermaid" (1989) and Professor Genius in "Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland" (1990). His other regular TV voices have included Nefir Hassanuf on the Saturday morning version of "Aladdin" and his other credits include "The Adventures of Batman & Robin," "Justice League," "Richie Rich," "The Savage Dragon," "The Legend of Tarzan" and several video games, including voicing Odo for various "Star Trek" products.
Auberjonois and his son Remy-Luc, appeared in a memorable 1988 episode of NBC's "L.A. Law," in which Remy portrayed the neglected progeny of a busy corporate executive who sued his father for abuse in an attempt to gain some attention. His daughter Tessa is also an actress.
Cast (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Family moved to Paris, France (date approximate)
Hired for first theater job by Houseman; served as an apprentice at a theater in Stratford, Connecticut
Appeared in repertory theater with the Arena Stage in Washington, DC
Film debut, "Lilith"
Made Off-Broadway debut as the Fool in Lincoln Center production of "King Lear"
Made Broadway debut in "Fire!"
Appeared on Broadway alongside Katharine Hepburn in the musical "Coco"; won Tony Award
Played Father Mulcahy in Robert Altman's seminal comedy "M*A*S*H*"; also appeared in Altman's "Brewster McCloud"
Made TV-movie debut in "Andre Stryker" (NBC)
First episodic appearance, episode of "Night Gallery" (NBC)
Reteamed with Altman on "McCabe & Mrs. Miller"
Played Edgar in TV version of "King Lear"
Won Tony nomination for his work in Neil Simon's "The Good Doctor"
Had co-starring role in the remake of "King Kong"
Made miniseries debut in "The Rhinemann Exchange" (NBC)
Briefly returned to Broadway in the short-lived "Break a Leg"
Returned to Broadway in featured role of the Duke in "Big River", Roger Miller's musicalization of "Huckleberry Finn"
Began doing cartoon voices with "Challenge of the GoBots"
Voiced the character Louis in Disney's "The Little Mermaid"
Acted in the feature film "Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country"
Had cameo appearance as himself in Altman's "The Player"
Co-starred in the revisionist Western "The Ballad of Little Jo"
Again provided voice of Louis in the direct-to-video sequel "The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea"
Had featured role as a cleric in "The Patriot"
Earned Emmy nomination for guest appearance as a judge in an episode of the ABC drama series "The Practice"
Reunited with "Big River" co-star Brent Spiner in the Disney/ABC TV musical "Geppetto"
Had recurring role on the NBC sitcom "Frasier"
Cast in the black comedy "Eulogy"