Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
“I have had my share of successes and my share of flops, but nothing has ever been like this. ‘Deep Space Nine’ is completely beyond anything that I have ever experienced.” Rene Auberjonois
Rene Auberjonois is an actor recognized for his portrayal of Father Mulcahy in Robert Altman's successful film “Mash” (1970), Clayton Endicott III in ABC's “Boston” (1980-1986), from which he nabbed a Best Supporting Actor Emmy nomination, Odo in the syndicated series “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” (1993-1999) and attorney Paul Lewiston on ABC's “Boston Legal” (2004-2008), where he picked up Screen Actors Guild nominations and a Prism Award for his performance. He received a Daytime Emmy nomination for his acting in “Once Upon a Midnight Dreary” (1979) and an Emmy nomination for his guest appearance in “The Practice” (2001). On stage, Auberjonois won a Tony Award for Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Musical) in “Coco” (1969). He also received Tony nominations for “The Good Doctor” (1973/1974), “Big River” (1985/1987) and “City of Angels” (1989/1992).
Auberjonois has been married to Judith Helen Mahalyi since 1963. They have two children together. Auberjonois has taught acting at the Juilliard School, the University of California at Berkeley, and San Francisco State University.
New York Native
Childhood and Family:
Rene Murat Auberjonois was born on June 1, 1940, in New York City, New York, to Fernand Auberjonois, a Pulitzer Prize nominated Swiss-born journalist and author, and Princess Laure Louise Napoléone Eugénie Caroline Murat, a great-great granddaughter of Joachim Murat, King of Naples. His grandfather was a renowned French Swiss post-Impressionist painter. The Auberjonois family moved to Paris in 1945 and it was not long before young Rene decided to pursue a career in acting. The family returned to the United States after a few years and settled in an artists' colony in Rockland County, New York. Rene grew up surrounded by actors, musicians and composers and was neighbors with Helen Hayes, Burgess Meredith, and John Houseman, who eventually became a mentor. It was Houseman who gave Rene his first acting job at age 16 as an apprentice for a theater in Stratford, Connecticut. Rene would later rejoin his mentor when he taught under Houseman at Juilliard. The Auberjonois family also lived in London, England, where Rene finished high school while studying theater. He returned to the United States to study theater at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and got his BFA in 1962.
On October 19, 1963, Rene married Judith Helen Mahalyi. They have a daughter named Tessa and a son named Remy-Luc.
Rene Auberjonois began his career at age 16 when he was hired by John Houseman as an apprentice at a theater in Stratford, Connecticut. After completing his training at Carnegie-Mellon, he spent three years working with the Arena Stage in Washington before joining the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, from which he was a founding member. He also helped setup the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and the Brooklyn Academy of Music Repertory Company in New York. In addition, he was a member of the Peninsula Players summer theater program during 1962.
Auberjonois made his feature film debut with an unaccredited part in the 1964 drama “Lilith.” In 1966, he debuted on television as a waiter in the episode “Finnegan” of “Loredo.” In 1968, Auberjonois made his New York City stage debut in an off-Broadway production of “King Lear” and eventually scored success with his Tony Award winning portrayal of Sebastian Baye in “Coco” (1969), which starred Katharine Hepburn. He also played Ned in “A Cry of Players” (1968/1969), opposite Frank Langella, and Marco in “Fire” (1969).
Auberjonois' film career gained a boost following his performance as Father John Mulcahy in the popular satirical comedy “Mash” (1970), which was directed by Robert Altman and written by Ring Lardner, Jr., based on the novel “MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors” by Richard Hooke. The film won an Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium and received four additional nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. It also won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Musical/Comedy and the Golden Palm at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival, among other honors. The actor also appeared in Altman's “Brewster McCloud” (also 1970), starring Bud Cort, Shelley Duvall and Sally Kellerman.
Auberjonois was reunited with Altman for the 1971 film “McCabe & Mrs. Miller,” where he costarred with Warren Beatty and Julie Christie. The same year, he also acted in the ABC movie “The Birdmen” and appeared in episodes of “The Mod Squad,” “McMillan & Wife” and “Night Gallery” (all 1971). In 1972, he costarred with Susannah York and Marcel Bozzuffi in the Golden Globe nominated film “Images” (directed by Robert Altman), supported Walter Matthau, Carol Burnett and Geraldine Page in Martin Ritt's “Pete 'n' Tillie” and resurfaced on Broadway in “Twelfth Night,” where he was cast as Malvolio. He went on to play Scapin in “Tricks” (1973) on Broadway and worked with Barnard Hughes, Marsha Mason, Christopher Plummer and Frances Sternhagen in Neil Simon's “The Good Doctor” (1973/1974), for which he received a Tony nomination in the category of Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic).
During the remaining of the 1970s, Auberjonois continued to work in various TV programs, such as “Shirts/Skins” (1973), “Incident at Vichy” (1973), “The Jeffersons” (1975), “Ellery Queen” (1975), “The Bob Newhart Show“ (1975), “Saturday Night Live” (1975), “The Rookies” (1975) and “Panache” (1976). He also appeared in “The Bionic Woman” (1977), “The Rhinemann Exchange” (1977), “The Dark Secret of Harvest Home” (1978), “Starsky and Hutch” (1978), “Wonder Woman” (1979), “The Wild Wild West Revisited” (1979), “Charlie's Angels” (1979) and “Mrs. Columbo” (1979), among others. In addition, he played the role of Dr. John Fox in two episodes of “Rhoda” (1977) and in 1975 resumed his big screen career portraying Major Napier in Robert Wise's “The Hindenburg,” which starred George C. Scott, Anne Bancroft and William Atherton. He was then cast as Father Kudos in James Frawley's “The Big Bus” (1976, with Joseph Bologna, Stockard Channing and John Beck), Roy Bagley in John Guillermin's “King Kong” (1976, opposite Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin and Jessica Lange) and Donald Phelps in Irvin Kershner's thriller “Eyes of Laura Mars” (1978, with Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones and Brad Dourif). In 1979, he briefly revisited Broadway in “Break a Leg.”
In 1980, Auberjonois was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Children's Programming for his portrayal of Ichabod Crane in the “CBS Library” episode “Once Upon a Midnight Dreary” (1979). He also joined the cast of the ABC sitcom “Benson” in the regular role of Clayton Endicott III. He remained with the show until it ended in 1986 and earned an Emmy nomination in 1984 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
Throughout the 1980s, Auberjonois remained busy on the small screen with guest spots in “Tenspeed and Brown Shoe” (1980), “Beyond Westworld” (1980), “Murder, She Wrote” (1987-1988) and “L.A. Law” (1988). He also appeared in the TV films “More Wild Wild West” (1980), “The Kid from Nowhere” (1982), “A Smoky Mountain Christmas” (1986), “The Christmas Star” (1986), “Longarm” (1988), “Billy the Kid” (1989) and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court” (1989). In addition, he appeared in the TV miniseries “Reilly: Ace of Spies” (1983) and did voiceover work in the 1982 animated film “The Last Unicorn,” ABC's “The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians” (6 episodes, 1985), CBS' “Wildfire” (6 episodes, 1986), the Disney film “The Little Mermaid” (1989) and “Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland” (1989). He also acted in the films “Where the Buffalo Roam” (1980), “Teenage Tease” (1983), “3:15” (1986), “My Best Friend Is a Vampire” (1987), “Walker” (1987), “Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach” (1988) and “The Feud” (1989).
Auberjonois returned to Broadway in “Big River.” Directed by Des McAnuff and choreographed by Janet Watson, the production ran for 1,005 performances from April 1985 to September 1987. The cast also included John Goodman, Daniel H. Jenkins and Ron Richardson. Auberjonois was nominated for a 1985 Tony for Best Actor (Featured Role - Musical) for his work in the play. He then played Mr. Samsa in “Metamorphosis” (1989), opposite Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Buddy Fidler/Irwin S. Irving in “City of Angels” (1989-1992), for which he received a 1990 Tony nomination for Best Actor (Featured Role - Musical).
In 1991, Auberjonois landed an unaccredited role in “Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country,” which was directed by Nicholas Meyer. The same year, he also appeared in the Emmy nominated TV film “Absolute Strangers,” starring Henry Winkler, Richard Kiley and Karl Malden, the TV miniseries “Ashenden,” and in an episode of “Doogie Howser, M.D.” He next began his voice role of Kangent in “The Pirates of Dark Water” (16 episodes, 1991-1993). He also made a cameo appearance in Robert Altman's “The Player” (1992), costarred in “The Ballad of Little Jo” (1993), played Dr. Burton in the Joel Schumacher directed “Batman Forever” (1995), and provided the voice of Flanigan in the animated musical “Cats Don't Dance” (1997). In addition, he costarred with his son, Romy, in the drama “Snide and Prejudice” (1997), worked with Mario Van Peebles in Jean-Marc Vallée's “Los Locos” (1997) and portrayed Artemus Bradford in the Matthew Broderick vehicle “Inspector Gadget” (1999). He also acted in the TV films “Ned Blessing: The True Story of My Life” (1992), “Wild Card” (1992) and “The Sands of Time” (1992).
However, Auberjonois did not gain major recognition until he won the role of Odo, the shape shifting security chief, in the syndicated series “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” opposite Avery Brooks, Nicole de Boer, Michael Dorn and Terry Farrell, among others. He was on the show from 1993 to 1999. While on the series, Auberjonois directed the episodes “Prophet Motive,” “Family Business,” “Hippocratic Oath” and “Indiscretion” (1995), “The Quickening” and “Let He Who Is Without Sin...” (1996), “Ferengi Love Songs” (1997), “Waltz” (1998) and “Strange Bedfellows” (1999). Auberjonois' other TV work in the 1990s included guest spots in “Civil Wars” (1992), “Eerie, Indiana” (1992), “Matlock” (1992-1993), “The Burning Zone” (1996), “Richie Rich” (1996), “Tracey Takes On...” (1998), “The Outer Limits” (1998), “Poltergeist: The Legacy” (1998-1999), “Chicago Hop” (1999) and “The West Wing” (1999). He also contributed his voice to episodes of “Batman” (1992), “Marsupilami” (1993), “Rugrats” (1994), “The Little Mermaid” (1994), “Aladdin” (1994), “Mighty Max” (1994), “The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century” (1996), “Captain Simian & The Space Monkeys” (1996) and “Extreme Ghostbusters” (1997).
Entering the new millennium, Auberjonois reprised his voice role of Chef Louis for the 2000 direct to video sequel “The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea,” played James Callender in the TV movie “Sally Hemings: An American Scandal” (2000, starred Carmen Ejogo), had a role in the Mel Gibson film “The Patriot” (2000), was reunited with “Big River” costar Brent Spiner in the musical “Geppetto” (2000), and costarred in the biographical movie “We All Fall Down” (2000). Still in 2000, he also guest starred in “Stargate SG-1” and “The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne.” However, it was his portrayal of Judge Mantz in an episode of ABC's “The Practice” called “We Hold These Truths” (2000) that brought the actor a 2001 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. He then returned to the show to play Mantz for a 2002 episode called “Pro Se.”
Auberjonois next landed a recurring role in the NBC sitcom “Frasier” (2 episodes, 2001), portrayed Pierre in the comedy “Burning Down the House” and had an unaccredited voice role in “The Princess Diaries” (2001). From 2001 to 2002, he appeared as Judge Jackson Keeler in several episodes of “Judging Amy” and from 2001 to 2003, provided the voice of Renard Dumont in the animated series “The Legend of Tarzan.” He also had various voice roles in “Justice League” and from 2002 to 2003, appeared on stage in “Dance of the Vampires.” In addition, he played the role of Master Fung on the TV animated series “Xiaolin Showdown” from 2003 to 2004.
In 2004, Auberjonois worked with Hank Azaria, Daniel Collins, Jesse Bradford, Zooey Deschane, Glenne Headly, Famke Janssen, Piper Laurie and Kelly Preston in the comedy “Eulogy” and appeared in a stage production of “Sly Fox” on Broadway. It was also that year that he was cast in a role in the series “Boston Legal” (ABC, 2004-2008), opposite James Spader and William Shatner. As attorney Paul Lewiston, he shared Screen Actors Guild nominations for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series from 2006 to 2008 and won the Prism Award for Performance in a Drama Series, Multi-Episode Storyline in 2007.
From 2005 to 2007, Auberjonois voiced Mechanist in “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and played Father Patrick Murphy in two episodes of “Saving Grace.” He also played the voice role of Mr. Sneap in “Geppetto's Secret” (2005) and Alphonse LaFleur in the direct to video animated film “Chill Out, Scooby-Doo” (2007). In 2010, he appeared as Hugo Miller in an episode of “Warehouse 13,” McLeish in three episodes of “Pound Puppies” and Dr. Larry Myers in three episodes of “It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” He also voiced Mannfred in “Archer” (2 episodes, 2010) and Mark Desmond in “Young Justice” (2 episodes, 2010).
Prism: Performance in a Drama Series, Multi-Episode Storyline, “Boston Legal,” 2007
Tony: Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Musical), “Coco,” 1970