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René Auberjonois, 'Star Trek' and 'Benson' actor, dies at 79

René Auberjonois' nearly 50-year career included memorable roles on "Benson," "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and "Boston Legal."

LOS ANGELES — René Auberjonois, best known for his roles in "Boston Legal," "Benson" and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," died at his home in Los Angeles of metastatic lung cancer. He was 79.

His son, Remy-Luc Auberjonois, confirmed the news to The Associated Press.

Rene Auberjonois at a photocall for Destination Star Trek London in October 2012.Martin McNeil / Getty Images

Auberjonois was a prolific television actor, appearing as Paul Lewiston in 71 episodes of "Boston Legal" and as Clayton Runnymede Endicott III in ABC's long-running sitcom "Benson" — a role that earned him an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor in a comedy in 1984.

He played the shape-shifter Changeling Odo in "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and carried that role into video games, voicing Odo in "Harbinger" and "The Fallen." His appearance as Judge Mantz in ABC's "The Practice" earned him another Emmy nod for guest actor in a drama in 2001.

His guest roles were numerous on classics like "Murder, She Wrote," "The Jeffersons," "The Outer Limits," "L.A. Law," "Stargate SG-1," "Frasier" and the more recent hit "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

His first film role came with "M*A*S*H," in which he played Father Mulcahy in the first of several collaborations with Robert Altman.

He would go on appear in Altman's revisionist Western classic "McCabe & Mrs. Miller," "Brewster McCloud," and "Images." Other film credits included Roy Bagley in 1976's "King Kong" and Reverend Oliver in "The Patriot," as well as parts in "Batman Forever," "Eyes of Laura Mars" and "Walker."

Before his entry into Hollywood, Auberjonois worked in theater, winning a Tony for best lead actor in a musical for his role opposite Katharine Hepburn in "Coco." He received further Tony nominations for 1973's "The Good Doctor," 1984's "Big River" and 1989's "City of Angels."

Auberjonois was also known for his voice roles, particularly in 1989's Disney Renaissance hit, "The Little Mermaid," in which he voiced Chef Louis and sang the memorable "Les Poissons." Fans of "The Princess Diaries" would recognize him as the voice of Mia Thermopolis' father, Prince Philippe Renaldi, in an uncredited role.

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In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife of 56 years, the writer Judith Auberjonois; a daughter, Tessa Auberjonois; sisters Marie-Laure Degener and Anne Auberjonois; son-in-law Adrian Latourelle; daughter-in-law Kate Nowlin; and three grandchildren.

He was remembered on social media by his "Deep Space Nine" co-star Armin Shimerman, who played Quark.

"His last message to me was entitled 'Don't forget...' I know that I, Killy and all that knew him will never forget. The world seems noticeably emptier now. I loved him."