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Author Topic: African-American Actors as Klingons  (Read 22783 times)
J'Maq
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« on: 03 19, 2006, 05:19: AM »

Brota was played by actor Brian Evaret Chandler. Children of Time
DS9
Ch'Pok played by Ron Canada. Rules of Engagement
DS9
Drex was played by Obi Ndefo. The Way of the Warrior
DS9
K'Vagh was played by James Avery. Affliction STE
Klaang was played by Tommy "Tiny" Lister, Jr. Broken Bow
STE
Kohlar was played by Wren T. Brown. Prophecy
STV
Koral was played by basketball star James Worthy. Gambit, Part II
TNG
Kornan was played by Trek veteran Rick Worthy. Soldiers of the Empire
DS9
Kozak was portrayed by John Lendale Bennett. The House of Quark
DS9
Kurn/Rodek was played by Tony Todd. "Sins of the Father"
TNG "Redemption, Part I, II" TNG. Sons of Mogh DS9
Morag was played by Reg E. Cathey. Aquiel TNG
Morak was played by Paul S. Eckstein. Prophecy STV
N'Garen was played by model-turned-actress Gabrielle Union. Sons and Daughters
DS9
Nu'Daq/Telok was played by John Cothran, Jr. The Chase
TNG/Crossover DS9
T'Kar was played by Tim Russ, who played several other Star Trek roles, most notably Tuvok on Voyager. Invasive Procedures
DS9
Thopok was played by Trek regular Phil Morris. Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places
DS9
Toq was played by Sterling Macer. Birthright, Part I,II
TNG
Worf/Col. Worf was played by Michael Dorn. ST:VII/TNG/TNG Movies

[Edit -- eliminated a lot of blank space at the end of the post. -=- Kesvirit]
« Last Edit: 03 19, 2006, 08:15: PM by Kesvirit » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: 03 19, 2006, 01:27: PM »

I remember reading a story called Visit to a Strange World Revisited, where the Trek actors were transported onto the real Enterprise. William Shatner saw Klingons on the viewscreen and was surprised to see that they did in fact have different races, as the make up crews had gone to great pains to make all the Klingons a consistant shade. Since this was written in a time before TMP, skin tone had to be all he was talking about, we had no concept of ridges or non-ridges to work with. The fusions were entirely played by white actors, but I believe, and your list may back this up, that the majority of Imperials have been played by black actors. As an aside, at least from my limited east coast perspective, most Klingon fans (those in uniform) seem to be white. I doubt there is any corelation to these two observations, but I lay them out there anyway.
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« Reply #2 on: 03 19, 2006, 08:25: PM »

Well done on the list, J’Maq.

Quote
Koral was played by basketball star James Worthy. Gambit, Part II TNG

The us.imdb bio of James Worthy lists him as the tallest Klingon in Trek at 6’9”.

I look forward to the day when such knowledge will make me the victor of a game of Trivial Pursuit. }}: P

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« Last Edit: 03 20, 2006, 03:20: AM by Kesvirit » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: 03 20, 2006, 02:32: AM »

And the utter contempt he showed for the federation as he poured his drink on the floor, was a masterful stroke. I am sure his height made it all the more dramatic, but his facial expression was truly Klingon.
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« Reply #4 on: 06 06, 2006, 06:02: PM »

Worf/Col. Worf was played by Michael Dorn. ST:VII/TNG/TNG Movies
Wasn't TUC ST VI? Generations was 7...
Well done on the list, J’Maq.

Quote
Koral was played by basketball star James Worthy. Gambit, Part II TNG

The us.imdb bio of James Worthy lists him as the tallest Klingon in Trek at 6’9”.

I look forward to the day when such knowledge will make me the victor of a game of Trivial Pursuit. }}: P

-=- Kesvirit
Sadly I cannot back it up (or can I?), but I'm sure Robert O'reilly has talked about meeting James Worthy once and he didn't believe he was Gowron, until Robert showed him the eyes. Or am I James Worthy up now? Apparently this was before he became Koral...

Also: has there ever been a non-caucasian, non-african(-american) actor playing a Klingon? I know several actors falling in this group have played other races. I'm just wondering.
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« Reply #5 on: 06 06, 2006, 06:42: PM »

the obvious reason for using dark skinned actors for klingons has to be simply that its easier to do the makeup.
I am white, with quite pale skin and I have experimented with different shades of makeup.  I have found that unless I make my skin alot darker than its natural colour it just looks washed out when its photgraphed.  I tried a mediterranean base and when I saw the pictures it looked like I was a ghost.

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« Reply #6 on: 06 06, 2006, 06:56: PM »

the obvious reason for using dark skinned actors for klingons has to be simply that its easier to do the makeup.
I am white, with quite pale skin and I have experimented with different shades of makeup.  I have found that unless I make my skin alot darker than its natural colour it just looks washed out when its photgraphed.  I tried a mediterranean base and when I saw the pictures it looked like I was a ghost.

Kehlan
The reason why is obvious. I was just wondering whether TPTB had employed say an Asian as a Klingon...
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« Reply #7 on: 12 08, 2006, 07:21: AM »

I tend toward the idea that Klingons have races and shades, much like humans. Being pasty pale white, this theory also helps me with costuming. Perhaps, if we were to make a similar list of caucasian actors who've played Klingons, we could take the pile of characters left over (that don't fit in either list) to determine if ever there were a non-caucasian, non-african actor who played a klingon. Personally, I'd be amazed if not, given that both their TOS and TNG models, as much as the makeup changed, still made them all resemble the races of the East, especially the Mongolians.

Also, just curious, but has anybody noticed the trend that, aside from Worf and his immediate family, most major recurring Klingon characters are played by caucasian actors, with most of the "background" or "throwaway" klingons (only surviving an episode; two at most) tend to be played by actors of african descent?
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« Reply #8 on: 12 08, 2006, 06:09: PM »

As for coloration, we have seen quite a few "Lighter-skinned-Klingons" through the years... More on that in a moment...

As to there being a "Pattern" involved in the selection of Klingon Actors, while anything is possible, and the fact is that Hollywood is often accused of being racist in it's stereotyping... I would none-the-less like to think that Trek might be a little ahead of the curve... Though I believe there are height restrictions in place.

BUT, fact is even amongst the main casts of the various films and series, the majority of the actors appear to be of Caucasian descent. But before reading too much into that, consider that right now in history, Caucasians are still a racial majority in the United States which is where Trek was filmed and originated. Which I think may make it representative as much as anything?

From a purely humorous perspective (At least to me), if anyone wanted to be extra racially conscious of Klingons in Trek, then have a look at all of the Ambassadors and Chancellors we have seen over the years... Oh and even the primary religious leader of the Empire... All white boys...<Smirk>... (The exception being Azetbur taking on her fathers position after his death), Why do I find this funny? Only in terms of our capacity to "Read" what we want to into anything...

As to Robert O'Reilly having met James Worthy prior to Mr. Worthy making an appearance on TNG... Well, a few years back (Quite a few actually), Robert O'Reilly was speaking at a Vulcon in Tampa Florida which I happened to be attending. More interesting however, was that the Lakers were also in town for a game. (Which means that this had to have been prior to 1995 I think).

Anyway, Robert told the story of having met Worthy on an Airplane. And the whole "Gowron Eyes" story was in fact related. Apparently James Worthy is a Trek Fan, and they ultimately ended up trading autographs. According to O'Reilly he had to trade two of his for one of James Worthy. Cheesy The discussion eventually came around to guest spots on the show and I believe that Robert O'Reilly helped put Mr. Worthy in touch with "The Right People".

Later on (I think it was while Robert O'Reilly was judging the costume contest), James Worthy popped into the auditorium for a surprise visit... Obviously this was a show stopper and there were many minutes of craziness as fans scrambled for photo ops while Worthy and O'Reilly greeted and hugged each other... It was a pretty kewl moment to witness as a young-ish fan-boy at the time... Thumbs up!
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« Reply #9 on: 12 09, 2006, 12:21: AM »

Star Trek has always been ahead of the game, from the first interracial kiss on network television, to the greeting of a klingon into starfleet (ugh.), the sociopolitical standards upheld and "preached" in ST have always been years ahead of their time. I just think that it's humorous to see the fluke happenings of chance order things in such a way on such a progressive series.
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« Reply #10 on: 12 18, 2006, 01:01: PM »

I don't think it is a fluke at all. Most of the Klingons we see are darker skinned, so they hire darker skinned actors to play them. I think the only time they bother looking at acting ability or lack thereof is when they have a major recurring character like Gowron or Martok. Remember Worf was originally a background character in season 1. I think this is done to make the make up less difficult. As much as I liked James Worthy as a Klingon, I doubt acting ability was a factor in him getting hired, he was a famous athlete and Paraborg saw a stunt casting opportunity and leapt at it. I actually think that a white (or any lighter skinned) actor wouldn't have much chance at a Klingon background role, because the casting agents already have an idea what they are looking for.

As for Asians, that would be more difficult, because of obvious visible difference, like eyes. For a physical feature that prevalent it would either have to be covered up, if possible or acknowledged in the script. Seeing how Paraborg waited years to admit to fusions, I don't see Asian Klingons comming any time soon. We are lucky that some Klingons have beards and some don't.
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« Reply #11 on: 12 18, 2006, 02:19: PM »

Branscome Richmond played a Klingon on ST3.  He played Bobby Sixkiller in "Renegade" tv show and the Rock's brother in Scorpion King.  He is American Indian or Mexican...one of the two.
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« Reply #12 on: 09 26, 2007, 02:58: AM »

I know this thread's from last year, but-
Also: has there ever been a non-caucasian, non-african(-american) actor playing a Klingon? I know several actors falling in this group have played other races. I'm just wondering.
Well, Roxanne Dawson (maiden name Caballero), who of course played B'Ellana Torres, is Latina, as well as Rosana DeSoto (as mentioned by Abbot Nej vIt), who played Azetbur. Also, I just found out Michael Ansara, who played Kang, is Syrian by birth.
The reason why is obvious. I was just wondering whether TPTB had employed say an Asian as a Klingon...
I wish! Though I don't know for sure. Unless we could acquire a list of ALL the Klingon extras ever (yah right), one can only hope there could just be a few Asians there in the mix.
As for Asians, that would be more difficult, because of obvious visible difference, like eyes. For a physical feature that prevalent it would either have to be covered up, if possible or acknowledged in the script.
Well, to be sure, the term Asian includes a broad range of ethnicities from the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, mainland Asia even to India. (It still seems an ongoing debate over the inclusion of the grey area that is the Middle East.)
Consequently, some Asians have almond eyes, some don't.  Along this line, though, I still have the non-Canon Klingon Covert Operations Manual from the early 90's, and I dig how, in all of the illustrations, Klingons of all kinds are represented, including Asian ones. On a small tangent,  I like to think that, following non-Canon history/sociology, that since darker Klingons are Northerners and lighter Klingons are Southerners on Kronos (correct me if I am wrong), that Asian Klingons would be from the West! (As opposed to the obvious East). Eh, more food for thought.  Great list and great converastion y'all.
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« Reply #13 on: 01 25, 2008, 08:03: PM »

I wonder why more Klingons weren't played by hispanic actors?  This is probably silly but one of the reasons I got interested in Klingons was because of a trek song by Voltaire (?), The USS Make[stuff]up.  There was a line about TOS-era Klingons looking like P[ue]rto Ricans dressed in Gold Lamey(?)--I couldn't stop laughing!  I can imagine Hector Elizondo (Chicago Hope, Caine) as an elder Klingon.
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« Reply #14 on: 05 28, 2009, 12:05: PM »

Hector Elizondo would make a great Klingon. Where can one buy a copy of that song?
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