(written from a Production point of view)
Joseph Ruskin (14 April 1924 – 28 December 2013; age 89) (born Joseph Richard Schlafman) was an American actor who appeared in every Star Trek television series except Star Trek: The Next Generation (although he did appear in "Star Trek: Insurrection ") . With the exception of Majel Barrett, who has appeared in every Star Trek series, he was the only actor to appear in all four of the series in question. Furthermore, given that Barrett only provided the computer voice in Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise, Ruskin was the only actor to appear on screen in all four series mentioned above. Along with Majel Barrett, Clint Howard, Jack Donner and Vince Deadrick, he was one of only five actors to appear in both Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: Enterprise. He, Barrett and Howard also appeared in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Jonathan Frakes also appears in four series (all but the Star Trek: The Original Series).
Hailing from Haverhill, Massachusetts, USA, he was born as Joseph Schlafman. Ruskin, like William Schallert, Barry Gordon and Kitty Swink have all served on the Screen Actors Guild Executive Board of Directors and then have become Trustees at the Screen Actors Guild Pension and Health Plan. Ruskin worked for the SGA between 1976 and 1999.
He had a long and distinguished career, appearing in television series as early as 1959. More recently, he had a recurring role as Alliance Member Alain Christophe in J.J. Abrams' series Alias, as well as playing an elderly mob boss in Smokin' Aces, which featured Chris Pine.
Other projects in which Ruskin appeared with fellow Trek performers include:
- The Magnificent Seven (1960) with Whit Bissell and John A. Alonzo
- The Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man" (1962) with Dave Armstrong, Theo Marcuse and James Wellman
- The Outer Limits episode "Production and Decay of Strange Particles" (1964) with Leonard Nimoy, Rudy Solari, Barry Russo, Willard Sage, Robert Fortier and Vic Perrin, makeup by Fred Phillips and Robert H. Justman as production manager
- The Time Tunnel episode "Revenge of the Gods" (1966) with James Darren, Whit Bissell, Lee Meriwether, Paul Carr and Abraham Sofaer
- Land of the Giants episode "The Secret City of Limbo" (1969) with Don Marshall, Malachi Throne and Whit Bissell
- The Streets of San Francisco episode "The Most Deadly Species" (1974) with Vince Howard and Ruskin's 'Triskelion' co-star Steve Sandor
- Planet of the Apes episode "The Tyrant" (1974) with Percy Rodrigues, Mark Lenard, Gary Combs, Ron Stein and Tom Troupe, directed by Ralph Senensky with cinematography by Jerry Finnerman
- The Scorpion King (2002) with Dwayne Johnson and Branscombe Richmond.