Heartbreak swept through the Star Trek community last night as we learned that Rene Auberjonois had passed away at the age of 79 after suffering from lung cancer. The actor is best remembered to fans of the franchise for his performance as Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and thanks to his place in the Trek world, he was a well-loved part of the family and his fellow stars poured onto social media last night to honor and pay tribute to their late friend.
First of all, William Shatner may not have played Captain Kirk opposite Auberjonois’ Odo but the pair were still firm friends off-camera and The Original Series legend took to Twitter to say he would always cherish the “wonderful friendship” they shared.
I have just heard about the death of my friend and fellow actor @reneauberjonois. To sum up his life in a tweet is nearly impossible. To Judith, Tessa & Remy I send you my love & strength. I will keep you in my thoughts and remember a wonderful friendship with René.
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) December 8, 2019
Shatner’s fellow TOS star George “Sulu” Takei spoke about the man behind the character that Trek fans know. “When I look out to the stars, I shall think of you, friend,” said the actor about Auberjonois.
This is a terrible loss. Star Trek fans knew him as Odo from Deep Space Nine. We knew him as René. He was a wonderful, caring, and intelligent man. He shall be missed. When I look out to the stars, I shall think of you, friend. https://t.co/IE2gtivRcg
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) December 8, 2019
Armin Shimerman – who played Ferengi barkeeper Quark, Odo’s nemesis – worked with Auberjoinois closely on DS9 for years and he recalled the moving last message he received from his old co-star.
It is with great heartache and loss I share with you the passing of dear,dear Rene Auberjonois.His last message to me was entitled "Don't forget…" I know that I,Kitty,and all that knew him will never forget.The world seems noticeably emptier now. I loved him.
— Armin Shimerman (@ShimermanArmin) December 8, 2019
Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Beverly Crusher, Gates McFadden, directed her tweet firmly at the late Auberjonois, calling him a “spectacular artist” and “loving… human being.”
@reneauberjonois You were a spectacular artist from Altman film IMAGES to Star Trek:DS9 and the million performances in between. A devoted family man, a visual artist, and loving and loves le human being. Thanks for showing the world how to do it. #love #admiration
— Gates McFadden (@gates_mcfadden) December 8, 2019
DS9 writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe penned an extended tribute to Auberjonois, recalling how the actor once joked that he hoped Odo would become his most famous role after his death. Wolfe reminded us that the star had a varied career, which included his role in comedy series Benson and many instances of voice acting, notably in Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
When Rene was cast as Odo, he joked "I hope #DS9 will replace Benson on my tombstone." He will be remembered for both, for Boston Legal, for The Little Mermaid, & so much more. His portrayal of Odo, under all that latex, was subtle, emotional, & astounding. One of the greats. pic.twitter.com/Z6YzC5xgMh
— Robert Hewitt Wolfe (@writergeekrhw) December 8, 2019
Let’s give Jonathan Frakes, TNG‘s William Riker, the last word, as he shared a touching image of himself with Auberjonois in happier times. “I always looked up to him and I will continue to,” Frakes wrote.
— Jonathan Frakes (@jonathansfrakes) December 9, 2019
Rest in peace, Rene. The Star Trek universe will miss you.