05-07 Happy birthday to Jon Rashad Kamal, born 7 May 1935.
Rashad Beyzade Kamal, often credited as Jon Rashad Kamal, is an actor who made his film debut as Commander Sonak in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The great-great-grandson of Sultan Mehmet V of the Ottoman Empire, Kamal left his home in Egypt in the aftermath of the 1952 Revolution which resulted in the removal of Prince Farouk from power. Kamal came to the United States where he realized his dream to perform on the American stage.
Born in Cairo, Kamal attended Egypt’s prolific Victoria College, where he learned multiple languages, including English. He went on to graduate from The American University in Cairo with a BA in English. He came to the United States on a student visa, earning a master’s degree in playwriting from the University of Utah. At the university, he performed in such productions as Hamlet, King Lear, and War and Peace. He also worked at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, where he not only performed on stage but also designed and painted the sets and backdrops for the theater’s productions.
Kamal went on to perform in such stage productions as Under the Yum Yum Tree, Count Dracula, and Leviathan ’99. In Florida, he starred opposite Cyd Cherisse in Once More With Feeling and co-starred with Sandy Dennis in Wait Until Dark. He even performed off-Broadway, in the play Touch of Orpheus. He made his television debut with a small appearance in a 1973 Kojak episode which also featured Stewart Moss and Jason Wingreen.
After Star Trek: The Motion Picture, his next film appearance came in the 1986 cult comedy The Malibu Bikini Shop, co-starring Bruce Greenwood, Jay Robinson and Charlie Brill. This was followed by a brief appearance in The Bonfire of the Vanities in 1990 and guest spots on Murder, She Wrote, L.A. Law (starring Corbin Bernsen), and Silk Stalkings (with Charlie Brill and James Darren). In 1996 he was part of the “loop group” for Disney’s live-action remake of 101 Dalmatians and starred in the musical comedy I Crave Rock & Roll.
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