The Star Trek website has paid tribute to actor David Ogden Stiers, who once played a memorable role in the television series. Stiers passed away recently after a lengthy battle with bladder cancer. He was 75 years old.
A beloved character actor, Stiers first found fame as The Announcer in George Lucas' first film, THX-1138. He was most famous for his role as Major Charles Emerson Winchester III on the situation comedy M*A*S*H* but played a number of other notable roles, performing in over 150 projects over the course of his career. He was particularly famous for his voice work, performing as Cogsworth the clock/butler in Beauty and the Beast and Mr. Maellard the park owner on Regular Show.
Related: David Ogden Stiers Passes Away at 75
The memorial was posted on the official Star Trek website. While discussing Stiers' career highlights in brief, the focus of the piece was on Stiers' role as Dr. Timicin - a one-off character from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Half a Life."
The plot of the episode focused on Dr. Timicin - a Kaelon scientist who had devoted his life to studying the problem of his world's sun going out. Seeking the help of the Federation in testing his theories on a similar star, the widower Dr. Timicin found a new romance with Ambassador Lwaxana Troi (played by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry) during his time on the Enterprise. Unfortunately, the romance was cut short as the customs of the Kaelons demanded that Dr. Timicin undergo ritual suicide upon his 60th birthday. Though he initially sought asylum with the Federation hoping to continue his work and pursue his romance with Lwaxana, Dr. Timicin was eventually persuaded to return to his homeworld, though the loss of his mind to fully understand his research might mean the doom of his species.
Even today "Half a Life" is considered one of the finest episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation of all time as well as one of the most unusual. The episode focused on two supporting characters, with very little of the story involving the regular cast - a rarity for any television series, but especially a character-driven drama like Star Trek. It is also fondly remembered for the powerful performances delivered by both Stiers and Barret-Roddenberry and the writing, which seemed to make a strong case in favor of assisted suicide.
Source: Star Trek