04-11 Happy birthday to the late Leonard Mudie, Born: April 11, 1883 and passed away on April 14, 1965.
Leonard Mudie Cheetham was an English actor who appeared as the second illusory survivor of the SS Columbia in “The Cage”, the original pilot for Star Trek: The Original Series, a role which ultimately proved to be his last. He died just five months after filming “The Cage” and one year and five months before The Original Series first aired. Footage including his scenes was later incorporated into the episode “The Menagerie, Part I”. As the original pilot had not been aired at this point in time, this was actually his posthumous first appearance in the role.
He was the oldest actor by cohort who ever appeared in Star Trek. Along with Judith Anderson, Morgan Farley, Richard Hale, Anthony Jochim, Felix Locher, Celia Lovsky, Charles Seel, Abraham Sofaer, John Warburton, and Ian Wolfe, he is one of only eleven credited Star Trek guest stars born in the 19th century to appear in any episode or film. At 81, he was the second oldest actor who ever appeared on Star Trek, surpassed only by Locher, but the first one to pass away.
Born in the English Midlands, Mudie started his acting career in 1908 on the theater stage in Manchester, rapidly making a name for himself. In 1914 he went to America to play on Broadway, first appearing in the original play “Consequences”, where he would, on and off continue to play until 1948. In between, from 1921 to 1923, he moved to Hollywood, to get his first taste of the motion picture industry during the silent movie era, before returning to Broadway. However, in 1931 he definitely returned to Hollywood, never to return to the East Coast, save for a last performance in 1948. In Hollywood, due to his English intonation, he had little trouble finding gainful employment at the start of the sound era from the mid 1930s onward, though mostly as featured extra.
In his career, extending nearly 45 years, Mudie appeared in over 130 feature film, some of the more notable being such classics as 1932’s The Mummy, 1935’s Captain Blood and Les Miserables, 1937’s Lost Horizon (starring Jane Wyatt), 1938’s The Adventures of Robin Hood, 1939’s Dark Victory, 1940’s Foreign Correspondent (with Ian Wolfe) and The Letter, 1942’s Random Harvest (also with Ian Wolfe), the 1951 science fiction classic When Worlds Collide (starring Richard Derr and John Hoyt), 1952’s Limelight, and 1955’s Kiss Me Deadly, which was based on a novel that was referenced in Star Trek: Kiss Me Deadly, and on which Robert Justman worked as assistant director.
Mudie has also appeared in multiple episodes of 1950s television series Adventures of Superman, which also has featured future Star Trek performers Peter Brocco, Elisha Cook Jr., Jeff Corey and Vic Perrin. Other television programs he has appeared in include Sea Hunt and The Untouchables.
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