(written from a Production point of view)
Carel Struycken (born 30 July 1948; age 67) is the actor known to Star Trek fans for playing Lwaxana Troi's assistant and valet, Mr. Homn, in several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. He also played The Spectre in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "The Thaw".
A giant of a man at seven feet (2.13 meters) tall, due to a medical condition known as acromegaly (giantism), Struycken is probably most well-known for his role as "Lurch" in the Addams Family movies (The Addams Family in 1991 and Addams Family Values in 1993), in which he co-starred with Star Trek III: The Search for Spock actor Christopher Lloyd.
Early life and career
He was born in The Hague, Netherlands, and grew up on the Caribbean island of Curaçao, where he composed a number of Caribbean waltzes. After returning to the Netherlands at age 16, he graduated from the directing program at the film school in Amsterdam, after which he spent a year at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, California. He was "discovered" on the corner of Hollywood and Vine by a lady who, upon seeing Struycken, abandoned her car in the middle of the street and called out to him that he was needed for a movie.
The film the woman was speaking of was the 1978 musical Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, in which Struycken was cast in the role of "The Brute." The film also featured actor and singer Keith Carradine, who, like Struycken, would later become affiliated with the Star Trek franchise. In addition, Star Trek: The Original Series set decorator Marvin March was the set decorator for this film.
Struycken followed his film debut with roles in projects such as the 1980 comedy film Die Laughing with Larry Hankin and Scott DeVenney. In addition, before he ever appeared on Star Trek, Struycken became one of the few Trek alum to appear in a Star Wars production when he played the antagonist "King Terak" in the 1985 made-for-TV movie Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. Struycken followed this with a supporting role in the hit 1987 film The Witches of Eastwick and a co-starring role in an episode of Hunter with Rosemary Forsyth.
The Next Generation Years: 1987 - 1992
Struycken made his debut as Mr. Homn on Star Trek: The Next Generation in the first season episode "Haven", which aired the week of 28 November 1987. He also had his only line on the show in this episode, when he thanks Captain Picard for "the drinks."
Struycken reprised the role of Homn for four more episodes: "Manhunt", "Ménage à Troi", "Half a Life", and "Cost of Living". As the personal assistant to Ambassador Lwaxana Troi, Struycken always shared the screen with the late Majel Barrett-Roddenberry in each of his appearances. He filmed his scenes for the fourth season episode "Half a Life" on Monday 4 March 1991 on Paramount Stage 8 and 9. For his final appearance as Homn in "Cost of Living", he filmed his scenes between Tuesday 4 February 1992 and Thursday 6 February 1992, on Monday 10 February 1992, and on second unit on Friday 14 February 1992 on Paramount Stage 8 and 9.
In 1988, between his first and second appearance on TNG, Struycken appeared in an episode of the NBC medical drama St. Elsewhere. This series featured many Star Trek veterans in regular roles at the time, namely Ed Begley, Jr., Ronny Cox, Bruce Greenwood, Norman Lloyd, France Nuyen, and Jennifer Savidge. Struycken's episode also featured fellow TNG guest star Robert Costanzo.
Struycken had a recurring role as "The Giant" throughout the second season of David Lynch's cult television series Twin Peaks in 1990 and 1991, appearing with Mädchen Amick, Richard Beymer, and Ray Wise. Also in 1990, Struycken appeared along with Joel Swetow in the HBO movie Framed. He then had a supporting role in the horror film Servants of Twilight, which starred the aforementioned Bruce Greenwood.
The Addams Family
Outside of Star Trek, Struycken is perhaps best known for his role as the tall, macabre butler "Lurch" in Paramount Pictures' hit 1991 film The Addams Family, based on the characters that appeared in the cult 1960s television series of the same name. Struycken reprised the role of Lurch for the 1993 sequel, Addams Family Values. In both films, he co-starred with Star Trek III actor Christopher Lloyd, who played the role of Uncle Fester.
While Struycken is famous for playing Lurch in the film version of The Addams Family, TOS guest actor Ted Cassidy (Ruk in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?") is famous for originating the role on the classic 1960s TV show.
Struycken was the only actor from the first two Addams Family films (with the exception of Christopher Hart's hand playing the role of Thing) to reprise his role in the 1998 direct-to-video sequel Addams Family Reunion. Struycken's co-stars in this film included the aforementioned Ed Begley, Jr. as well as Ray Walston, Leigh Taylor-Young, and Clint Howard.
Struycken appeared as The Giant in the series "Twin Peaks" by David Lynch in 1990-1991. He co-starred with Voyager star Tim Russ and Star Trek: Insurrection actor F. Murray Abraham in the 1993 television version of Journey to the Center of the Earth. The following year, he made an appearance as a trader in the second season of the science fiction series Babylon 5, co-starring Andreas Katsulas, Bill Mumy, and Keith Szarabajka; the episode was written by Peter David.
Struycken played "Gaunt" in the Oblivion movies (Oblivion in 1994 and Oblivion II: Backlash in 1996). Also starring in these movies were Star Trek: The Original Series actor George Takei, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine guest actress Meg Foster, Original Series guest actress Julie Newmar (Eleen), Voyager guest actress Musetta Vander, and Deep Space Nine guest actor Jimmie F. Skaggs.
In addition, Struycken was one of the many Star Trek performers to appear in the 1995 TV movie Out There. The movie's stars were William O. Campbell and Wendy Schaal, which Leslie Bevis, Bill Cobbs, and Paul Dooley lent support and Robert Picardo made an uncredited cameo.
Struycken appeared in the 1995 film Under the Hula Moon with his Oblivion co-star and fellow Trek alum Musetta Vander. He also appeared as an alien in the 1997 science fiction blockbuster Men in Black. He was then part of the ensemble cast of 1998's I Woke Up Early the Day I Died, as were Ron Perlman, Lee Arenberg, and Mark Rolston. In 1999, he appeared in the action film Enemy Action along with Larry Hankin and Henry Darrow.
Since then, Struycken has worked with actor-director (and fellow TNG guest star) Jeff Rector on two movies: 2002's First Kiss and 2007's Revamped. Struycken also appeared in the 2001 direct-to-video film The Vampire Hunters Club with Daniel Roebuck and has guest-starred on the hit television series Charmed (with Tony Amendola and Aaron Lustig) and My Name Is Earl (directed by Marc Buckland). In addition, he has filmed a number of projects in his native Netherlands, including a recurring role on the TV series De Erfenis.
- TNG: (all as Homn)