Star Trek actor Roger Perry, the Air Force pilot who beamed aboard the Enterprise, passes away at 85

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Jul 13, 2018, 6:06 PM EDT

Roger Perry, who played a U.S. Air Force pilot zoomed aboard the Enterprise in one of the original Star Trek TV series’ earliest and most memorable episodes, has died at the age of 85. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, which confirmed Perry’s death with his daughter, Dana Perry McNerney, the versatile character actor passed away at his Indian Wells, California home following a battle with prostate cancer.

An actual veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Perry appeared as Air Force Captain John Christopher in the “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” episode of Star Trek’s first TV season in 1967. Perry’s character piloted the then-present-day fighter jet that scrambled the Enterprise after Captain Kirk and the crew became momentarily trapped in the 1960s, thanks to an astrophysical time warp. 

Perry also starred (in two separate roles) in two early-1970s horror films based on the campy vampire Count Yorga: Count Yorga, Vampire (1970) and The Return of Count Yorga (1971). He also appeared in The Thing With Two Heads (1972) as Phillip Desmond, a surgeon who, as the film’s title suggests, is handed the most unenviable of tasks. 

Following a stint at Desilu Studios after being discovered by Lucille Ball, Perry went on to land a variety of roles in TV shows, westerns and horror films. In 1965, he starred in an episode of The Munsters as a well-intentioned love interest bent on saving a young woman from her (literally) ghoulish family.

In the 1980s, Perry took over the Eastland School principal’s role on NBC’s The Facts of Life for the show’s third season, playing headmaster Charles Parker through the remainder of the series’ run. Perry’s TV career also included appearances in Barnaby Jones, IronsideLove, American StyleThe Bionic Woman, The Bob Newhart Show, and Falcon Crest.