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Percy Rodriguez

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Stone (Commodore)

... as Commodore Stone

Percy Rodriguez (13 June 19186 September 2007; age 89) was the Canadian actor of Afro-Portuguese descent who played Commodore Stone in Star Trek: The Original Series' first season episode "Court Martial". As such, he was the first black actor to play a flag officer on Star Trek. Several years after his appearance on Star Trek, Rodriguez worked on another Gene Roddenberry project, the failed TV pilot Genesis II. Among his co-stars on this project were fellow Trek veterans Majel Barrett, Ted Cassidy, and Mariette Hartley.

Rodriguez is known for lending his rich, authoritative voice to the narration of a number of film trailers, most notably for the 1975 summer blockbuster Jaws. He is also recognized for breaking the stereotype barriers faced by black actors during the 1960s and 70s by portraying characters of authority like Commodore Stone. He played the regular role of Dr. Harry Miles on the TV drama Peyton Place during that show's final season (1968-69); when he was initially cast on that series, a headline in the Los Angeles Times read "A Doctor's Role for Negro Actor," signifying the rarity of having black actors portray those types of roles at the time. [1]

In 1972, he starred with fellow TOS actor Phillip Pine in an episode of the Sixth Sense titled "Whisper of Evil". In 1979, he was part of the cast of the acclaimed mini-series Roots: The Next Generations, along with fellow Trek actors Brock Peters, Paul Winfield, and Bernie Casey. In 1980, he played the recurring role of Winston on the short-lived Sanford and Son spin-off Sanford. His other television roles include several appearances on Mission: Impossible, which, like the original Star Trek, was originally produced by Desilu Studios. Leonard Nimoy was a regular on Mission: Impossible when Rodriguez made his last appearance on the show in 1970. Rodriquez also appeared in a n episode of Marcus Welby, M.D. with James Doohan, at least one episode of T.J. Hooker with William Shatner, and at least five episodes of Benson, starring DS9's Rene Auberjonois and VOY's Ethan Phillips.

In addition to his television work, Rodriguez co-starred in the acclaimed 1968 film The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. His other feature film credits include Come Back, Charleston Blue (1972), Rhinoceros (1974), and Invisible Strangler (1976, co-starring Robert Foxworth, Marianna Hill, and Leslie Parrish). His voice can be heard in such films as Galaxina (1980, starring Stephen Macht) and Heavy Metal (1981) and also as narrator of Wes Craven's Deadly Blessing (1981, featuring Michael Berryman and Lawrence Montaigne).

Rodriguez's retired from acting soon afterwards, with his last known screen work was the 1987 Perry Mason telefilm The Case of the Sinister Spirit, co-starring Dwight Schultz, David Ogden Stiers, and Leigh Taylor-Young. Recently, he came out of retirement to record the narration for the trailer of the upcoming documentary The Shark Is Still Workin, which examines the cultural impact of the film Jaws. Some two months later, on 6 September 2007, Rodriguez died due to kidney issues at the age of 89. [2]

Other Trek connections

Additional projects in which Rodriguez worked with other Star Trek alumni include:

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