William O’Connell, whose extensive TV and film acting credits in the 1960s and ’70s included a memorably villainous role on Star Trek and a string of adversaries in the films of his frequent collaborator Clint Eastwood, died January 15 at his home in Sherman Oaks, CA. He was 94.
His death was announced to Deadline by a family friend. A cause was not disclosed.
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O’Connell scored a lengthy roster of TV episodic credits in the 1960s, becoming a busy character actor of the day. He had small roles, often nameless characters distinguished only by their job titles — Flagman, Cabbie, Field Rep. #1 — in Highway Patrol, Peter Gunn and The Twilight Zone, also popping up on Dennis the Menace, My Three Sons, The Outer Limits, Bonanza, The Munsters, Batman and The Lucy Show.
His most memorable TV role from the era came in 1967, when he was cast in the Season 2 “Journey to Babel” episode of Star Trek as Thelev, a duplicitous Orion agent disguised as an Andorian ambassador. His mission to destroy the Enterprise was unsuccessful, but he did manage to wound William Shatner’s Captain James T. Kirk with a poison knife.
On the big screen, O’Connell was most familiar for frequent, if occasionally small and often adversarial, roles in the 1960s and ’70s films of his friend Clint Eastwood, including Paint Your Wagon, High Plains Drifter, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Every Which Way but Loose and its 1980 sequel Any Which Way You Can.
Born May 12, 1929 in Los Angeles, O’Connell served in the Korean War as a 1st LT in the 45th Infantry. He received many decorations including the Bronze Star.
Complete survivor information was not immediately available.
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