René Auberjonois

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This article is about the American actor. For his grandfather, the Swiss artist, see René Auberjonois (painter).
René Auberjonois
Rene-Auberjonois-by-kyle-cassidy-DSC 8245.jpg
Auberjonois in 2013
Born (1940-06-01) June 1, 1940 (age 74)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1962–present
Spouse(s) Judith Helen Mahalyi (1963-present)
Children Tessa Auberjonois
Remy Auberjonois

René Murat Auberjonois (/rəˈn ˈbɛərʒənwɑː/;[1] born June 1, 1940) is an American actor. He is best known for portraying Father Mulcahy in the film version of M*A*S*H, Chef Louis in The Little Mermaid (and singing "Les Poissons"), and for originating a number of characters in long-running television series, including Clayton Endicott III on Benson (for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award), Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Paul Lewiston on Boston Legal. He also lent his voice as Flannigan the human director in Cats Don't Dance.

Early life[edit]

Auberjonois was born in New York City, New York. His father, Swiss-born Fernand Auberjonois (1910–2004), was a Cold War-era foreign correspondent and Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer. His paternal grandfather, also named René Auberjonois, was a Swiss post-Impressionist painter.[citation needed] His mother, Princess Laure Louise Napoléone Eugénie Caroline Murat (1913-1986), was a great-great granddaughter of Joachim Murat, one of Napoleon's marshals and King of Naples during the First French Empire, and his wife Caroline Bonaparte, Napoleon's youngest sister.[citation needed] His maternal grandmother, Hélène Macdonald Stallo (1893–1932), was an American, from Cincinnati, Ohio; his maternal grandfather's mother was a Russian noblewoman, Eudoxia Michailovna Somova (1850–1924), and his maternal grandfather's paternal grandmother, Caroline Georgina Fraser (1810–1879) who was married to Prince Napoleon Lucien Charles Murat, was also an American, from Charleston, South Carolina.[citation needed]

Auberjonois has a sister and a brother and also two half-sisters from his mother's first marriage.[2] His family moved to Paris after World War II, where at an early age he decided to become an actor.[citation needed]

After a few years in France, the family moved back to the U.S. and joined an artists' colony in Rockland County, New York, whose other residents included Burgess Meredith, John Houseman and Helen Hayes. The Auberjonois family also lived in London where Auberjonois completed high school while studying theatre. To complete his education, Auberjonois attended and graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1962.[3]

Career[edit]

Theatre[edit]

After college, Auberjonois worked with several different theatre companies, beginning at the prestigious Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. He then traveled between Los Angeles and New York working in numerous theatre productions. Auberjonois helped found the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music Repertory Company in New York. He was a member of the Peninsula Players summer theater program during the 1962 season.[4]

Eventually, Auberjonois landed a role on Broadway in 1968, and ended up appearing in three plays at once: as Fool to Lee J. Cobb's King Lear (the longest running production of the play in Broadway history), as Ned in A Cry of Players (opposite Frank Langella), and as Marco in Fire!. The next year, he earned a Tony Award for his performance as Sebastian Baye alongside Katharine Hepburn in Coco.[5] Auberjonois also received Tony nominations for his roles in Neil Simon's The Good Doctor (1973, opposite Christopher Plummer); as The Duke in Big River (1984), winning a Drama Desk Award; and, memorably, as Buddy Fidler/Irwin S. Irving in City of Angels (1989), written by Larry Gelbart and Cy Coleman.[5]

His other Broadway appearances include Malvolio in Twelfth Night (1972); Scapin in Tricks (1973); Mr. Samsa in Metamorphosis opposite Mikhail Baryshnikov (1989); Professor Abronsius in Dance of the Vampires, the unsuccessful English-language version of Jim Steinman's musical adaptation of Tanz der Vampire; and Jethro Crouch in Sly Fox (2004, for which he was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award). Auberjonois has also appeared many times at the Mark Taper Forum, notably as Malvolio in Twelfth Night and as Stanislavski in Chekhov in Yalta. As a member of the Second Drama Quartet, Auberjonois toured with Ed Asner, Dianne Wiest and Harris Yulin. He also appeared in the Tom Stoppard and André Previn work, Every Good Boy Deserves Favor, at the Kennedy Center and the Metropolitan Opera.

Auberjonois made his debut at the Shakespeare Theatre Company as the titular character in Molière's The Imaginary Invalid through July 27, 2008.

Besides also directing many theatrical productions, Auberjonois has starred in the Washington D.C. production of 12 Angry Men; he portrayed "Juror #5" to Roy Scheider's "#8" and Robert Prosky's "#3".

Auberjonois is on the advisory board of Sci-Fest, the first annual Los Angeles Science Fiction One-Act Play Festival, to be held in May 2014.[6]

Films[edit]

After M*A*S*H, Auberjonois's movie roles have included the gangster Tony in Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach (1988) and Reverend Oliver in The Patriot (2000). He has made cameo appearances in a number of films, including Dr. Burton, a mental asylum doctor patterned after Tim Burton, in Batman Forever, and a bird expert who gradually transforms into a bird in Robert Altman's 1970 film Brewster McCloud. He cameoed as Colonel West in the 1991 Star Trek film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. His other notable film appearances have included McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971, starring Warren Beatty), Images (1972, starring Susannah York),The Hindenburg (1975), the first remake of King Kong (1976), The Big Bus (1976), Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), Where The Buffalo Roam (1980), My Best Friend Is a Vampire (1988), Eulogy, The Feud and Inspector Gadget (1999). Auberjonois also portrayed the character of Straight Hollander in the 1993 Miramax film The Ballad of Little Jo. He voiced Professor Genius in Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, Louis the Chef in the 1st and 2nd Little Mermaid films and the Butler in Joseph: King of Dreams.

Television[edit]

Auberjonois (right) with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine co-stars Armin Shimerman (left) and Nana Visitor (center)

In addition to being a regular on three TV shows in three different genres (Benson, a situation comedy; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in science fiction and Boston Legal, a legal drama), Auberjonois has been a guest star on many different television series, including Ellery Queen, Grey's Anatomy, Babylon 5, Hogan's Heroes, The Rockford Files, Charlie's Angels, Starsky & Hutch, Wonder Woman, Harry O, The Jeffersons, The Outer Limits, Night Gallery, Matlock, Murder, She Wrote, The Bionic Woman, Frasier, Judging Amy, Chicago Hope, The Bob Newhart Show, Star Trek: Enterprise, Stargate SG-1, Warehouse 13, Archer, L.A. Law, The Practice (for which he received another Emmy nomination, playing a different character than the one he has played on The Practice spinoff Boston Legal), Saving Grace, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Criminal Minds. His television movie credits include Disney's Geppetto, Gore Vidal's Billy The Kid, the remake of the classic, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and the miniseries Sally Hemings: An American Scandal (2000). He received a third Emmy Award nomination for his performance in ABC's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Most recently, he played NASA scientist Dr. Felix Blackwell in the episode Phoenix on NCIS.

Auberjonois has voiced several animated roles, including characters on Snorks, Batman: The Animated Series, Leonard McLeish on Pound Puppies (2010), Avatar the Last Airbender, Master Fung in the first episodes of Xiaolin Showdown (before being replaced by Maurice LaMarche), Azmuth on Ben 10 Omniverse, Justice League Unlimited, Max Steel, Fantastic Max, Challenge of the Gobots, Archer, Young Justice, and Random! Cartoons. He also provided his voice talents to the 2001 PBS American Experience documentary entitled Woodrow Wilson as the title character along with the 2003 PBS historical documentary Kingdom of David: The Saga of the Israelites.

Auberjonois has directed some TV shows, including Marblehead Manor and several episodes of Deep Space Nine as listed below.

Video games[edit]

One of Auberjonois' earliest forays into video game voice acting was the role of Janos Audron in Soul Reaver 2; he continued to voice the character in subsequent releases in the Legacy of Kain series. According to a behind the scenes featurette in Soul Reaver 2, showing candid discussions among the voice actors during recording, he was surprised at the quality of the writing, asking, "This is for a video game?!" when the purpose of the recordings was brought to light. More recently, Auberjonois provided the voice of Karl Schäfer, the honourable German explorer in the video game Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Mr. House, the reclusive New Vegas casino owner in the 2010 video game Fallout: New Vegas. He is also the voice of Dr. Ignatio Mobius in Command and Conquer: Renegade. He also reprised his role as Odo in the game Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Fallen.

Radio and other voice work[edit]

Pictured in 2010

Auberjonois has also been active in radio drama. Among other programs, he read "The Stunt" by Mordechai Strigler for the NPR series Jewish Stories From the Old World to the New. He has also recorded a number of novels on tape. On PRI he has been featured numerous times on Selected Shorts, reading works of dramatic fiction.

As for film voice acting, he was heard in Disney's The Little Mermaid (receiving alphabetical top billing as Chef Louis), and as The Skull in The Last Unicorn.

He also did voicework on the Challenge of the GoBots series in 1980s as Dr. Braxis, and was the voice of Peter Parker on the 1972 Buddah Records Spider-Man LP "From Beyond the Grave" (BDS 5119), a radio-style narrative replete with sound effects and rock and roll song interludes provided by "The Webspinners", in which the characters of The Vulture, The Lizard, The Green Goblin, The Kingpin, Aunt May and Doctor Strange also appeared. In 1984 and 1985, Auberjonois gave voice to Desaad, an associate of the villainous Darkseid on the animated series, Super Friends. He also lent his voice to the Bolar Wars season of Star Blazers in which he was the voice of Sandor. From 1986-1987 he voiced Alvinar in a cartoons series Wildfire. René also provided the voice for Janos Audron, an ancient vampire in the Legacy of Kain video game series; he was in Soul Reaver 2, Blood Omen 2, and Legacy of Kain: Defiance. He also provided the voice of Angler in the Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End video game. He voice-played General Zod in the Joseph Ruby-Kenneth Spears animated Superman series episode titled "The Hunter". Auberjonois also provided several minor character voices for Justice League, reprising his role as Desaad, and also parts such as 2003's "In Blackest Night", as Kanjar-Ro, a pirate testifying in the trial of the Green Lantern, and also as a fellow member of the Green Lantern Corps in other episodes. In 2003, he also provided the voice of Katori in the English dubbed version of semi sequel to the Hayao Miyazaki film Whisper of the Heart, The Cat Returns. He reprised an animated version of his character Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in a cutaway joke in Family Guy's Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story. The cutaway featured a more humanoid-faced Odo threatening Stewie's alleged cousin Quark Griffin.

In 2011, he voiced villain Mark Desmond in Cartoon Network's Young Justice, is the voice of Leonard Mcleish in the 2010 Pound Puppies series, and is the current voice of Pepe Le Pew in the Looney Tunes Show and Azmuth in Ben 10 Omniverse.

Much of his work can be seen at a Tumblr account, which highlights various photography, video clips and audio files from his wide body of work throughout the years.[citation needed]

Book narrations[edit]

Auberjonois' other voice talents also include various book narrations.

The Pendergast Novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child[edit]

Other novels[edit]

Title Contributors Year
World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition): An Oral History of the Zombie War Max Brooks (author) 2013 (audiobook edition)
The Bull Dancers Jay Lake 2010
The Rise and Fall of
Khan Noonien Singh, Vol. 2
(Star Trek: The Eugenics Wars)
Greg Cox 2002
Frenchtown Summer Robert Cormier 2000
Isaac Asimov Countdown 2000 edited by
Martin H. Greenberg
1999
Talismans of Shannara Terry Brooks 1998
The Last Day Glenn Kleier 1997
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Jean-Dominique Bauby 1997
Shadow Dawn George Lucas
and Chris Claremont
1996
Mind Slash Matter Edward Wellen 1995
Shadow Moon George Lucas
and Chris Claremont
1995
The Cricket in Times Square George Selden 1995
Batman Forever Peter David 1995
Last Defender of Camelot Roger Zelazny 1995
Unicorn Variation Roger Zelazny 1995
The Fourth Procedure Stanley Pottinger 1995
Star Trek Deep Space Nine:
Warped
K. W. Jeter 1995
The List of 7 Mark Frost 1994
Star Trek Deep Space Nine:
Fallen Heroes
Dafydd ab Hugh 1994
Slaves of Sleep &

the Masters of Sleep

L. Ron Hubbard 1993
Murder at the National Cathedral Margaret Truman 1993
Body and Soul Frank Conroy 1993

Deep Space Nine directorial credits[edit]

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ YouTube - Video Greeting from Rene Auberjonois
  2. ^ "Obituary: Fernand Auberjonois / Much admired foreign correspondent who lived a chronicle of 20th century". Postgazette.com. 2004-08-28. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  3. ^ http://www.cmu.edu/cmnews/051001/051001_rene.html
  4. ^ Peninsula Players 65th Anniversary Program, 1999
  5. ^ a b "Tony Awards Database: René Auberjonois". American Theatre Wing. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  6. ^ "Sci-Fest Team". Retrieved 26 January 2014. 

External links[edit]