A face that should be very familiar to Star Trek fans after appearing in an astounding five different Trek series over the years passed away earlier this week, .
Joseph Ruskin, 89, died of natural causes on Dec. 28 in California. The prolific character actor leaves behind a legacy that includes The Twilight Zone, Alias, The Outer Limits and Mission: Impossible — but he’s arguably best known for his contributions to Trek.
Ruskin broke into the Trek circle with his memorable turn as Galt in the Original Series episode “The Gamesters of Triskelion,” then kept popping up all the way through to Enterprise. He would eventually play the Klingon Tumek in the Deep Space 9 episodes "The House of Quark" and "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places,” a Cardassian informant in Deep Space 9's "Improbable Cause,” a Vulcan master in the Voyager episode “Gravity" and a Suliban doctor in the Enterprise pilot episode.
In addition to his series work, Ruskin also played a Son'a officer in the Next Generation-era flick Insurrection, and has lent his voice to Star Trek videogames Hidden Evil and Away Team.
It’s not something you see a whole lot of nowadays, but the reuse of guest actors is a hallmark of the classic age of sci-fi television. It gets harder in the modern era because of our utter obsession with continuity, but if you have a good guest actor, why not keep using him?
Rest in peace, Joseph, and we thank you for the good times. Best of luck as you head off into the real final frontier.