(written from a Production point of view)
He is one of the few actors who, along with George Takei, have physically acted in both a Star Trek program and lended their voice to some Star Wars spin-off material (in this case, Rocket was the voice of pirate Nym in the Star Wars: Starfighter videogames), making them both one of the few performers to appear in both popular science fiction franchsies.
Early life Edit
Rocket was born Charles Adams Claverie in Bangor, Maine, and attended the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. Before breaking into acting professionally, he made several short films and fronted his own band (The Fabulous Motels). In the 1970s, he anchored local news for KOAA-TV, an NBC-affiliated station in Colorado Springs, and for CBS-affiliated stations in both Colorado (WPRI-TV) and Nashville, Tennessee (WTVF-TV).
In 1979, Rocket submitted video of his news reports to Lorne Michaels, the producer of the hit NBC variety show Saturday Night Live. Michaels ultimately left SNL due to contract disputes with NBC, but Rocket's tape impressed then-NBC Entertainment head Brandon Tartikoff and new SNL producer Jean Doumanian. They ultimately hired Rocket on as a cast member of SNL.
Saturday Night Live Edit
Rocket acquired some early recognition as a cast member on Saturday Night Live during the 1980-1981 season; this was also Joe Piscopo's and Eddie Murphy's first year on the show. During his tenure on SNL (in which Malcolm McDowell and Sally Kellerman hosted), Rocket was an anchor for the show's Weekend Update news segment, called "The Rocket Report". Rocket gained some notoriety in February of 1981 for uttering the "F" word live on this program, causing some trouble for NBC, who had to apologize on his behalf. He and several other cast members, as well as producer Jean Doumanian, were fired soon after.
Recurring and starring roles Edit
Since his unceremonious exit from SNL, Rocket has become well-known for his recurring roles on several television series, appearing as "Richard Addison" in several episodes of Moonlighting and as "Grossberg" in three episodes of the cult series Max Headroom, starring fellow Star Trek guest actors Matt Frewer, W. Morgan Sheppard, and Concetta Tomei. He later played "Adam", the Angel of Death, on numerous episodes of the drama Touched by an Angel. The late Paul Winfield was also a recurring performer on this series.
During the 1988-1989 TV season, Rocket was a regular on the ABC drama Murphy's Law. He subsequently became a regular on the short-lived CBS comedy Tequila and Bonetti in 1992 and later starred in the NBC comedy The Home Court, which ran during the 1995-1996 TV season. His last series as a regular was the Fox Network comedy Normal, Ohio, which aired in the fall of 2000.
Other television work Edit
Rocket's first TV guest spot came in a 1984 episode of the ABC series Hawaiian Heat, which starred Branscombe Richmond and Tracy Scoggins. He subsequently appeared in an episode of Hardcastle and McCormick, which featured Brian Keith and Daniel Hugh Kelly in the title roles.
Rocket appeared in two episodes of Quantum Leap, alongside Star Trek: Enterprise actors Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell; in one episode, Rocket's character was named Commander Riker. In 1999, he guest-starred on The X-Files in an episode with John Billingsley and Michael McKean. His other guest spots include episodes of thirtysomething (with David Clennon), Doctor Doctor (reunited with his Max Headroom co-star, the aforementioned Matt Frewer), Murder, She Wrote (with Stanley Kamel), Wings (starring Steven Weber), Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (starring Teri Hatcher), and Picket Fences (with Don Stark and Ray Walston).
Rocket appeared in only one mini-series, the 1993 drama Wild Palms. His co-stars in this production included fellow Trek performers Kim Cattrall, Brad Dourif, Bob Gunton, Bebe Neuwirth, and David Warner.
More recently, Rocket guest-starred on the hit sitcoms 3rd Rock from the Sun and The King of Queens. His final TV acting appearance was in a 2004 episode of the NBC drama Law & Order: Criminal Intent, the story of which was co-written by Rene Balcer.
Rocket has appeared in a variety of feature films. Some of his earlier film credits included 1985's Fraternity Vacation (with Leigh J. McCloskey and Matt McCoy), 1986's Miracles (with Teri Garr and Christopher Lloyd), the cult 1988 science fiction comedy Earth Girls Are Easy (with Michael McKean), and the 1990 comedy Honeymoon Academy (co-starring Kim Cattrall and Jonathan Banks).
In 1990, Rocket was cast in the film Dances with Wolves, which went on to win numerous Academy Awards. Rocket went on to share a special Golden Globe award as part of the cast of the 1993 film Short Cuts. Among those cast members he shared the award and the screen with were Bruce Davison and Robert DoQui. Zane Cassidy was also part of the film's cast.
Perhaps Rocket's best known film role is that of the villain, Nicholas Andre, in the popular 1994 comedy Dumb & Dumber. His co-stars in this film included Mike Starr and the aforementioned Teri Garr. That same year, Rocket worked alongside Ed Lauter and Star Trek: Voyager regulars Ethan Phillips and Robert Picardo in the western comedy Wagons East!
His other films include 1991's Delirious (with Zach Grenier), 1993's Hocus Pocus (featuring the voice of Jason Marsden), 1994's It's Pat (with Julianne Christie), 1995's Steal Big, Steal Little (with David Ogden Stiers, Pamela Winslow and Natalia Nogulich), and 1997's Murder at 1600 (which co-starred Daniel Benzali, Ronny Cox, Harris Yulin, and Tom Wright) and Fathers' Day (with Bruce Greenwood). He also co-starred with TNG actors Michelle Forbes and Vincent Schiavelli in the little-known 1998 film Dry Martini.
Both Rocket and Star Trek Nemesis actor Ron Perlman lent their voices to the animated science-fiction film Titan A.E., which opened in 2000. Rocket's last film appearance was in the 2003 independent drama Shade, in which he co-starred with TNG and DS9 actor Michael Dorn.
Rocket was found dead near his home in Canterbury, Connecticut, on 7 October 2005; his throat had been cut. The death was later ruled a suicide. Rocket was 56 years old. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered.