(written from a Production point of view)
René Murat Auberjonois (born 1 June 1940; age 75) is the actor best known for portraying Chief of Security Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He has also directed many episodes of the series. Prior to assuming the role of Odo, he appeared as Col. West in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, although his scenes were initially cut for the film's theatrical release. In addition, he made a guest appearance as Ezral in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Oasis". His costume from the Deep Space Nine episode "Children of Time" was sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. 
Auberjonois was born in New York City on 1 June 1940. His father, Fernand Auberjonois, was a journalist, and his grandfather, also called René Auberjonois, a Swiss painter. His mother was Princess Laure Murat, who was descended from Joachim Murat, one of Napoleon Bonaparte's marshals, and husband of Caroline Bonaparte, Napoleon's youngest sister.
Actor Armin Shimerman, who played Quark on DS9, was and remains a close friend of Auberjonois. They acted in a play together prior to DS9 and spent many hours together in make-up chairs while starring in DS9.
Auberjonois initially disliked DS9's season three premiere, "The Search, Part I", in which his orphan character, Odo, met his people, the Founders, for the first time and discovered his origin. Auberjonois felt part of Odo's mystery and vitality as a character stemmed from his not knowing where he came from. However, Auberjonois soon came to like the development because new twists were added as more was learned about Odo's past – whether Odo's loyalties would reside with the Founders and leaders of the Dominion or with the Federation, and whether others would trust Odo during the Dominion War added complexity to his character even after his origin was established. (DS9 DVD Season 3 special features)
Auberjonois has been performing on the Broadway stage since the late 1960s, beginning with a revival of William Shakespeare's King Lear and a play called A Cry of Players as part of the Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Center. Both productions ran from November 1968 through February 1969 with a total of 72 performances each; on A Cry of Players, he co-starred with Frank Langella, who later guest-starred on DS9.
In 1970, Auberjonois won a Tony Award as Best Featured Actor in for his portrayal of Sebastian Baye in Coco, which ran from 18 December 1969 through 3 October 1970. In 1972, Auberjonois co-starred with Stephen McHattie in a production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
Auberjonois received a second Tony Award nomination in 1974 for his role in The Good Doctor (opposite Christopher Plummer) and a third nomination in 1985 for playing The Duke in Big River. He also won a Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical for Big River. Auberjonois performed in Big River from its premiere on 25 April 1985 until 2 September of that year, when his role as The Duke was recast. By 8 October, future Star Trek: The Next Generation star Brent Spiner had taken over the role which Auberjonois had originated; in January 1986, the role of The Duke went to TNG guest actor Ken Jenkins. Another TNG guest actor, Bob Gunton, played the role of The King in Big River during both Auberjonois' and Spiner's tenures.
Auberjonois received yet another Tony Award nomination, as well as a Drama Desk nomination, for his dual role in the musical comedy City of Angels, which ran from 1989 through 1992. Auberjonois most recently starred on Broadway in Dance of the Vampires from December 2002 through January 2003 and Sly Fox in 2004. In 2007, he again appeared onstage with Frank Langella (who won a Tony for his performance as the former President) in the widely acclaimed drama Frost/Nixon.
Auberjonois first gained fame on television for his Emmy Award-nominated role as the snooty Clayton Endicott III on the comedy series Benson. Auberjonois joined the cast of Benson at the start of its second season in 1980 and remained with the series until its end in 1986. One of his co-stars was Ethan Phillips (Neelix of Star Trek: Voyager), who joined the show's cast at the same time but left before the final season.
Between 2004 and 2008, Auberjonois appeared alongside TOS star William Shatner in the ABC series Boston Legal. In this series, Auberjonois played Paul Lewiston, who was the managing partner of law firm Crane, Poole & Schmidt for the first three seasons. He was credited as a guest star when the series began in October 2004 but he officially became a regular halfway through the first season. In June 2007, however, it was announced that Auberjonois would no longer be a regular beginning with the show's fourth season. Auberjonois' character was replaced in the next season by Carl Sack, played by Star Trek III: The Search for Spock actor John Larroquette.
Auberjonois' friend and fellow DS9 star Armin Shimerman had a recurring role on the series. Shimerman played a judge who is an acquaintance of Auberjonois' character – and who is suspected of being involved in the murder of Shimerman's wife. Although the two did not act together during the first three of Shimerman's seven episodes, they finally shared a scene together in the fourth episode, entitled "Desperately Seeking Shirley". Voyager actor and Auberjonois' Benson co-star Ethan Phillips also appeared on Boston Legal during this time, playing the father of the boy accused of killing Shimerman's wife.
After being ousted as a regular, Auberjonois returned to the series as a special guest star on four occasions, where it is learned his character has moved up to a higher floor at the firm. He appeared in one episode of the show's fourth season, entitled "Oral Contracts," in 2007; Steven Culp and recurring Boston Legal actor Henry Gibson also guest-starred in this episode. Auberjonois made another appearance in the seventh episode of the show's fifth and final season, titled "Mad Cows," in which Steven Anderson, Henry Gibson, and Ned Vaughn also appeared. Auberjonois was then brought back for the last two episodes of the series, "Made in China" and "Last Call," which were aired together as a two-hour series finale on 8 December 2008.
Other notable TV appearances
In addition, Auberjonois has made guest appearances on numerous television shows. His first was a 1971 episode of The Mod Squad, a series starring Tige Andrews and DS9 guest actor Clarence Williams III. He followed this with guest spots on Harry O (with Henry Darrow and Anthony Zerbe), The Rookie (in an episode with Gail Strickland), Baa Baa Black Sheep (starring John Larroquette and James Whitmore, Jr.), Starskey and Hutch (starring David Soul, in an episode with Tracey Walter), Hart to Hart (with Madlyn Rhue), and Charlie's Angels (two episodes, including one with Ed Begley, Jr.), among many other shows. Auberjonois concluded the 1970s with his second of two appearances on Mrs. Columbo, starring pre-Voyager Kate Mulgrew in the title role.
Although his role on Benson limited other live-action television appearances, Auberjonois took on more guest-starring roles after Benson concluded in 1986. He appeared in two episodes of Murder, She Wrote, one in 1987 with Alex Henteloff and another the following year with Frank Gorshin and Matt McCoy. He then appeared on an episode of L.A. Law along with his son, Remy, as well as fellow Trek performers James Avery, Corbin Bernsen, Larry Drake, Miriam Flynn, and Gregg Henry. He later appeared on such shows as Matlock (with Daniel Roebuck), UPN's The Burning Zone (with Theodore Bikel), Tracey Takes On (starring Seymour Cassel), and CBS's Chicago Hope.
Auberjonois appeared in ABC's made-for-TV movie Geppetto, which aired in 2000. Also featured in this movie were Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Brent Spiner and Star Trek: Voyager actress Scarlett Pomers. Additionally, Auberjonois was seen on Sci-Fi Channel's Stargate SG-1 and The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne, working with John Rhys-Davies in the latter. In 2001, Auberjonois guest-starred in two episodes of Frasier, playing Kelsey Grammer's character's mentor from Harvard, Dr. William Tewksbury. He appeared in the episodes "Frasier's Edge" and "The Wizard and Roz".
Between 2000 and 2002, Auberjonois guest-starred in two episodes of The Practice, receiving his second Emmy nomination (after Benson) for his first appearance on the show. Boston Legal, in which Auberjonois later starred, is an off-shoot of The Practice, although he did not play the same character.
Auberjonois attended the Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner in August 2006, where his Boston Legal co-star and fellow Trek actor was subjected to the whims of stand-up comics. Also in the audience were Jeri Ryan of Voyager fame (who guest-starred on Boston Legal) and Brent Spiner from TNG. Shatner's TOS cohorts Nichelle Nichols and George Takei participated in the roast, as did Voyager guest star Andy Dick, while Clint Howard and Sarah Silverman had recorded messages to Shatner (Howard appeared in character as an alcoholic Balok, addicted to tranya). The event was hosted by Jason Alexander.
In 2010 Auberjonois became the first former Star Trek star to be a guest star on the Sy-Fy channel series Warehouse 13. In the episode he played Hugo Miller, a former warehouse employee who accidentally downloaded half of his mind into an experimental computer system. At the end of the episode his character, with his mind whole again, was offered a job by another visiting guest, Douglas Fargo (Neil Grayston) from Sy-Fy channels Eureka. Though he has yet to make an appearance on that series.
Altman, Schuck and Kellerman
Auberjonois has also become a highly-recognizable face in motion pictures. Early in his film career, Auberjonois, along with his Star Trek VI co-star John Schuck and one-time TOS actress Sally Kellerman, was a member of an informal acting troupe spearheaded by director Robert Altman. One of Auberjonois' earliest film roles was Father Mulcahy in Altman's original 1970 classic M*A*S*H. That same year, Auberjonois appeared in Altman's film Brewster McCloud. Schuck and Kellerman also co-starred in both of these films; Fred Williamson appeared in the former, while William Windom (Commodore Matt Decker in TOS: "The Doomsday Machine") had a role in the latter.
Auberjonois and Schuck went on to co-star together in Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller in 1971, while Auberjonois himself starred in Altman's Images the following year. Auberjonois and Kellerman went on to co-star together in 1976's The Big Bus, along with Vic Tayback. This film, however, was not directed by Robert Altman. Auberjonois and John Schuck also co-starred together in the 1971 made-for-TV movie Once Upon a Dead Man.
Other notable film works
Auberjonois had a role in the 1975 disaster movie The Hindenburg. This film was directed by Robert Wise, who went on to direct Star Trek: The Motion Picture. (Rex Holman appeared in this film, as well.)
His many other feature film credits include Pete 'n' Tillie (1972, with Whit Bissell), King Kong (1976, with Joe Piscopo), The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978, with Brad Dourif), Walker (1987, with Keith Szarabajka and Biff Yeager), Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach (1988, with David Graf and Matt McCoy), My Best Friend Is a Vampire (1988, with David Warner), The Ballad of Little Jo (1993), Batman Forever (1995), and Inspector Gadget (1999, with Andy Dick, Brian George, Brad Blaisdell, Richard Penn, Johnny Martin, and Michael McAdam). He then played Reverend Oliver in the 2000 American Revolution epic The Patriot. Leon Rippy also had a role in this film. In 2004, Auberjonois had a role in the film Eulogy, which starred TNG guest actress Famke Janssen and featured Sherman Howard.
- See also: Star Trek parodies
Auberjonois has become well-versed as a voice actor. One of his earliest voice-over roles was the talking skeleton in The Last Unicorn (1982). Perhaps his most famous voice-over work, however, was Walt Disney's The Little Mermaid (1989), in which he voiced the French chef, Louis. DS9 guest actors Gerrit Graham, Kenneth Mars and Hamilton Camp also lent their voices to this film.
Interestingly, Auberjonois lent his voice to an animated series called Wildfire, which revolved around a horse. His DS9 co-star, Nana Visitor, recently starred in a live-action TV series called Wildfire – which is also about a horse.
Auberjonois later supplied voices for the animated films Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1992, with Michael Bell) and Cats Don't Dance (1997). Star Trek: Enterprise star Scott Bakula and Star Trek: Voyager guest star John Rhys-Davies also supplied voices in the latter film. In addition, Auberjonois has lent his voice to such animated TV shows as The Smurfs,The Snorks, DuckTales, The Pirates of Dark Water, Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, and Avatar: The Last Airbender. He even portrayed an animated version of Odo in Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story!, a direct-to-DVD movie based on the hit animated FOX series Family Guy (created by Seth MacFarlane). Auberjonois supplied the voice of Odo in a scene which parodied Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Auberjonois was not the first actor to parody his own Star Trek role. The entire cast of the original series, with the exception of James Doohan and the late DeForest Kelley, voiced themselves in a popular episode of FOX TV's Futurama; William Shatner has frequently parodied his Kirk role in films such as Airplane II: The Sequel and Free Enterprise; Voyager actress Jeri Ryan voiced an alarm clock version of Seven of Nine in an episode of Dilbert; and TNG actors Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis and Michael Dorn parodied Captain Picard, Commander Riker, Counselor Troi and Lieutenant Worf in two episodes of Family Guy, while the whole cast of TNG appeared in "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven".
He also had an uncredited voice-over role in the live-action Disney movie The Princess Diaries. In 2005, he voiced the character known as Mr. Sneaps in Geppetto's Secret. Armin Shimerman; DS9's Quark, voices a character in that production, as well. In 2005, he also provided the English voice for a character in the Studio Ghibli anime feature Neko no Ongaeshi (The Cat Returns) (with additional voices by Bradley Pierce).
In video games, he provided a voice role in the video game series Legacy of Kain as the ancient vampire Janos Audron. This video game series also contained voice roles from Trek alumni Michael Bell, Simon Templeman, and Tony Jay. He lends his voice to Fallout: New Vegas as the mysterious autocrat Mr. House.
Appearances as Odo
Additional Voice Credits
|Star Trek: Deep Space Nine regular cast|
|Rene Auberjonois • Avery Brooks • Nicole de Boer • Michael Dorn • Terry Farrell • Cirroc Lofton • Colm Meaney • Armin Shimerman • Alexander Siddig • Nana Visitor|
Star Trek interviews
- DS9 Season 1 DVD special feature "Section 31-Hidden File 03" (interview from 18 September 1992)
- DS9 Season 1 DVD special feature "Section 31-Hidden File 04" (interview from 18 September 1992)
- DS9 Season 1 DVD special feature "Deep Space Nine Scrapbook Year One" (interview from 18 September 1992)
- ReneFiles.com - official fan site
- Rene Auberjonois at Wikipedia
- Rene Auberjonois at the Internet Movie Database
- Rene Auberjonois at the Internet Broadway Database
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