Unsung actors: Roger C. Carmel

He’s one of those “Hey, I remember that guy!” actors. Roger C. Carmel was featured in many, many TV series in the 1960s and 1970s. According to his IMDB page, he guest-starred in everything from “The Dick Van Dyke Show” to “The Munsters” to “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” and “Hogan’s Heroes” to “Batman” playing “guest villain” Colonel Gumm.

But Carmel, who died at age 54 in 1986, was best known for two roles. He co-starred in “The Mothers-In-Law,” a 1960s sitcom starring Kaye Ballard and Eve Arden and produced by Desi Arnaz, and he guest-starred in two episodes of the original “Star Trek” series.

Carmel played Harcourt Fenton Mudd, a galactic hustler and con man who shows up in the first season episode “Mudd’s Women,” a fairly straight story about transporting what are, in effect, mail-order brides. But he is probably best remembered for reprising the Mudd role in “I, Mudd,” a second-season episode that finds the Enterprise crew arriving on a remote planet (is there any other kind?) where Mudd is the ruler (and prisoner) of a race of androids.

In the second episode, the tone is much lighter and Carmel plays Mudd with his trademark flamboyance. The effect was appropriate for a returning and not-very-threatening villain.

Carmel provided the voice for Mudd in an episode of the 1970s animated “Star Trek” series. There’s an online reference to plans for him to play the role once more in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” in the first-season episode “The Neutral Zone,” in which three people from the past are revived from suspended animation. It’s a neat Hollywood tale and maybe it’s even accurate.

Carmel, who provided voices for a number of animated TV series in his final years, passed away before he had a third chance to meet the Enterprise crew.


One thought on “Unsung actors: Roger C. Carmel

  1. kleeyaro

    William Campbell is another actor who did a lot of films before he appeared twice in Star Trek. Look up Whit Bissell (Trouble with Tribbles). That guy did a ton of film work. I’ve been watching the original Mission Impossible series and almost every episode has at least one actor who appeared in Star Trek.


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