(written from a Production point of view)
Jeffrey Alan Combs (born 9 September 1954; age 63) is an actor who has the distinction of portraying eight different characters on Star Trek, most notably those of Brunt and the various Weyouns on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and the Andorian Shran on Star Trek: Enterprise. He is one of only five actors to play seven or more different characters in the Star Trek franchise, the others being Randy Oglesby, J.G. Hertzler, Vaughn Armstrong and Thomas Kopache. Coincidentally, Combs has appeared on Star Trek with all four of those actors.
Personal life Edit
Born in Oxnard, California, Combs was raised in Lompoc, CA along with many older and younger siblings. He graduated from Lompoc High School in 1972, after which he honed his acting talents at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Santa Maria, CA and the Professional Actor's Training Program at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington.
In 1980, after spending four years performing for regional theater, Combs moved to Los Angeles where he landed roles in the films Whose Life Is It Anyway? and Honky Tonk Freeway, both released in 1981. Actress Teri Garr, who appeared on Star Trek: The Original Series, starred in the latter film.
Combs is widely recognized as an actor of science fiction and horror movies. His first experience with both genres came in 1983 when he appeared in the science fiction comedy The Man with Two Brains, a film which also featured fellow Trek guest stars James Cromwell, David Warner, and Earl Boen. A few months later, he was seen in the horror film Frightmare, co-starring Star Trek: The Next Generation guest actor Scott Thomson.
Combs has since starred in many movies in the horror and science fiction genres, specifically those based on the works of writer H. P. Lovecraft. His most well-known Lovecraftian role (and, indeed, his most famous film role in general) is that of Dr. Herbert West in the 1985 cult classic Re-Animator. He reprised this role in two more films, Bride of Re-Animator in 1990 and Beyond Re-Animator in 2003. He is currently slated to play West again in House of Re-Animator.
Other Lovecraftian films starring Combs include 1986's From Beyond (with DS9 guest star Ted Sorel) and 1994's Lurking Fear (with TNG guest star Vincent Schiavelli). Combs' association with Lovecraft was such that he actually played the author in the 1993 horror anthology Necronomicon, which featured fellow Trek alumni Dennis Christopher, Gary Graham, Richard Lynch, and David Warner. His most recent Lovecraftian film was The Dunwich Horror, co-starring Dean Stockwell and set for release in October 2008.
Outside of the Lovecraftian universe, Combs portrayed a Catholic Cleric in the 1991 film The Pit and the Pendulum, also starring Stephen Lee as well as veteran science fiction actor Lance Henriksen. Combs was further notable for playing the title role of Doctor Mordrid in 1992, on which he co-starred with Brian Thompson. Another notable role is that of crazed FBI agent Milton Dammers in the 1996 horror film, The Frighteners, which co-starred fellow DS9 guest performer Julianna McCarthy.
Combs' other non-Lovecraftian sci-fi and horror films include Robot Jox (starring Enterprise co-star Gary Graham), Guyver (with Michael Berryman, Dennis Madalone, Brian Simpson, and Spice Williams), Trancers II (with Richard Lynch), Fortress (co-starring Kurtwood Smith and Tom Towles), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (along with fellow Enterprise guest actor Bill Cobbs), the 1999 remake of House on Haunted Hill (starring Next Generation guest actress Famke Janssen), and Contagion (with Megan Gallagher). More recent horror movie credits include 2006's Abominable (in which he co-starred with Matt McCoy and Phil Morris), the 2007 remake of The Wizard of Gore (which co-starred Brad Dourif), and the upcoming Dark House (with Diane Salinger and Don Stark).
Combs has of course ventured in other genres besides horror or sci-fi. He played "Dinosaur Bob" in the 1994 thriller Love and a .45 and appeared as Gilroy in the 1995 gangster picture Dillinger and Capone. This latter film co-starred fellow Trek veterans F. Murray Abraham, Stephen Davies, Catherine Hicks, Clint Howard, Bert Remsen, and Time Winters. Combs was also seen in the 1996 thriller Felony (co-starring Charles Napier and David Warner), the 1998 crime drama Caught Up (with Tony Todd), and the 2005 thriller Edmond. Additionally, in 1997, Combs and his DS9 co-stars Rene Auberjonois and Armin Shimerman appeared together in the drama Snide and Prejudice (along with Mick Fleetwood).
Outside of Star Trek, Combs has made guest appearances on several other television series. In 1987, he appeared on an episode of Beauty and the Beast, a series which starred Star Trek Nemesis actor Ron Perlman. Also in 1987, he was seen on Houston Knights, on which TOS actress Madlyn Rhue was a regular.
Further expanding his science fiction credits, Combs has worked on The Flash (with Dick Miller), Babylon 5 (with Andreas Katsulas, Bill Mumy and David L. Crowley), Perversions of Science (with Jeff Corey, Ron Perlman, and David Warner), and the 2000s version of The Twilight Zone. He also played the recurring role of Kevin Burkhoff on the cult science fiction series The 4400.
Other series on which he has appeared include Freddy's Nightmares, Hunter (in an episode with Kenneth Marshall), Life Goes On (with David Graf and Bill Smitrovich), The Single Guy (starring Olivia d'Abo and Mark Moses), Martial Law (with Neal McDonough and T.J. Storm), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and Cold Case.
In 1996, Combs had a role in the TV movie Norma Jean & Marilyn. Also starring in this movie were Ashley Judd, Steven Culp, David Drew Gallagher, Alex Henteloff, and John Rubinstein. In 2005, Combs appeared in two made-for-TV horror movies: Voodoo Moon and Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy.
Combs is also a sought-after voice actor, appearing in numerous animated television shows. He has most prominently worked as a voice actor for animation set in the DC Animated Universe, specifically as The Scarecrow in The New Batman Adventures (appearing in the same episode with Charles Rocket) and The Question in several episodes of Justice League, alongside Clancy Brown, Robert Foxworth, Virginia Madsen, and Charles Napier. He also voiced the Scarecrow for the video game Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu, which also featured Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Loren Lester, and Ron Perlman). He recently voiced the Autobot Ratchet in Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman's Transformers: Prime animated series, and The Leader in Avengers: World's Mightiest Heroes.
Association with TrekEdit
Combs auditioned for the role of William T. Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation, but lost the part to Jonathan Frakes. Frakes remembered Combs and cast him as Tiron while directing the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Meridian". (DS9 Season 5 DVD, Special "Hidden File 10")
Combs has since earned himself quite a number of appearances on Star Trek, guest starring in thirty-one episodes of Deep Space Nine, one episode of Star Trek: Voyager, and eleven episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise. In "The Dogs of War", Combs played both Weyoun and Brunt, becoming one of only three Star Trek actors ever to play two unrelated characters in the same episode (the others being Patrick Stewart in "The Defector", in which he played both Jean-Luc Picard and Michael Williams, and Brian Markinson in VOY: "Faces", in which he played both Pete Durst and Sulan), and the only one credited for playing both characters in that episode. He did it a second time while playing Weyoun and an unnamed Holosuite Guest in "What You Leave Behind", the final episode of DS9. He has also appeared in two Star Trek series finales: DS9's "What You Leave Behind" and ENT's "These Are the Voyages...".
The species that he played on Star Trek include three Ferengi, a Vorta, a Norcadian, and an Andorian. He also played an imaginary Human in "Far Beyond the Stars". The name of Tiron's race was never revealed. Combs has said that out of all the Trek roles he has played, Weyoun is his favorite character. 
Recurring guest appearances Edit
Individual guest appearances Edit
Voice acting creditsEdit
After the September 11 terrorist attacks, a "Jeffrey Coombs" (note the spelling) was listed as one of the casualties that day. Combs' fan club and family were deluged with letters and sympathy cards from distraught fans who incorrectly assumed that he had died. Combs quickly moved to reassure fans that he was still alive but was very grateful for their concern and sympathized with the friends and family of Coombs.
When interviewed in Star Trek Monthly issue 43 in 1998 about his two recurring roles on DS9, Combs said that he preferred Weyoun chiefly because he had much more "freedom" to define the character with each appearance, whereas playing Brunt (or any Ferengi character) was simply a matter of following Armin Shimerman's example.
In an interview, Manny Coto claimed that, had Star Trek: Enterprise been given a fifth season, Shran would have joined the crew of the starship Enterprise permanently, making Jeffrey Combs a regular Star Trek cast member.
In his first appearance in Star Trek (in DS9 episode "Meridian") Combs' character orders Andorian Ale, while in his last Star Trek appearance, he plays the Andorian commander Shran in the Star Trek: Enterprise series finale.
Further reading Edit
- "Jeffrey Combs", Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 17, pp. 14-16, 18-21, September 2000