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René Auberjonois of 'Star Trek,' 'Benson,' 'M*A*S*H' Dead at 79

René Auberjonois of 'Star Trek,' 'Benson,' 'M*A*S*H' Dead at 79
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René Auberjonois, known for his performances as often fussy characters with aristocratic bearing, has died at 79, WPIX reports.

The actor's son, Remy, told The Associated Press that his father had died Sunday at his L.A. home of lung cancer.

Born on June 1, 1940, in New York City, Auberjonois was the son of a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and a woman descended from French royalty. He lived in Paris as a youth, moving back to the U.S., where he studied acting with peers like Burgess Meredith, Helen Hayes and John Houseman.

His early work was on the stage, including at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and at several prominent companies he helped found.

He appeared on Broadway in three productions in 1968, winning a Tony for his work in 1969's "Coco" opposite Katharine Hepburn. He would go on to receive Tony nominations for "The Good Doctor" (1973), "Big River" (1984), and "City of Angels" (1989), among his many other stage appearances. He was also a director in the theatre.

Auberjonois had a varied career in film, but is best remembered for playing Father Mulcahy in the film "MASH" (1970). Other plum roles came in "Brewster McCloud" (1970), "King Kong" (1976), "Eyes of Laura Mars" (1978), "Police Academy 5: Assignment — Miami Beach" (1988), and "Batman Forever" (1995).

On TV, he was Clayton on the series "Benson" (1980-1986), Odo on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (1993-1999), and Paul on "Boston Legal" (2004-2008).

His distinctive voice has appeared in innumerable animated and video projects. Perhaps his most famous voice work was as the French chef in "The Little Mermaid" (1989).

Auberjonois is survived by his wife of 56 years and their two children.

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