Gone. Gone now. Gone. Gone. Gone. If you could only see.
January 8, 2019 6:16 AM   Subscribe

William Morgan Sheppard, prolific character actor in sci-fi/fantasy television & movies, and father to Mark Sheppard, a successful actor in his own right, passed away on January 6th, 2019 at the age of 86.

A classic example of a "That Guy" actor, W. Morgan Sheppard was a veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Broadway. Between TNG, Voyager, the TOS cast movies, and the 2009 Reboot, he's made six appearances in the Star Trek franchise. Along with his son Mark, he played the FBI Agent Canton Everett Delaware III in the Doctor Who episode The Impossible Astronaut. Similarly the two also played older/younger versions of a single character in an episode of NCIS.

In the 80s, when ABC television wanted to adapt the UK's Channel 4's television movie Max Headroom into a regular series for US audiences, Sheppard's Blank Reg was one of the only three roles that were not re-cast with new actors.

He was given the role of a "Soul Hunter" in an early episode of Babylon 5, one of his favorite roles because showrunner J. Michael Straczynski gave him free reign to act the alien as he saw fit (the post title is a partial version one of his quotes from this role). He had also been the runner-up choice to play the main character G'Kar on that show, and did make a second appearance as G'Kar's uncle.

Other genre roles W. Morgan Sheppard is known for include the holographic computer interface "The Professor" on SeaQuest DSV, a Hannibal Lecter knock-off named Dr. Zito on MacGyver, David Xanatos' father Petros on Gargoyles, and Captain Archibald Witwicky in the first Transformers live-action film. He also played General Isaac Trimble in both Gettysburg and Gods and Generals, and was the narrator for the video game Civilization 5.
posted by radwolf76 (37 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
My favorite role is going to be him as the narrator of the Medal of Honor games, going back to the original Playstation.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:21 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]

His Memory Alpha page (Star Trek wiki). I liked him a lot as Qatai in the VOY episode "Bliss", even though Trek has gone to the Moby Schtick well many times.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:23 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]

Blank Reg has never been more relevant than in the age of social media.
posted by Nelson at 6:23 AM on January 8 [14 favorites]

Blank Reg was my model of who I'd be once I got old. Honestly it's not too far off. Sad to see you go mate.

posted by evilDoug at 6:53 AM on January 8 [8 favorites]

posted by Gadgetenvy at 7:00 AM on January 8

posted by Mogur at 7:01 AM on January 8


I can't think of a single character of his I didn't find interesting, even if they were loathsome. Not sure how much a credit it is to the script and how much to his ability to play the character in the script.
posted by mephron at 7:05 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]

So long Data's Grandpa.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 7:17 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]

Oh man oh man how I loved his work. I think the first time I had noticed him was his scene with Martin Sheen in "Gettysburg" and his expressing such fury, exhasperation and sorrow at the same time. I raise a glass to you today, sir
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 7:22 AM on January 8 [4 favorites]

posted by ZeusHumms at 7:23 AM on January 8

"Remember how we used to say 'No Future'? Well, this is it."

posted by Grangousier at 7:40 AM on January 8 [4 favorites]

"Remember how we used to say 'No Future'? Well, this is it."

posted by octobersurprise at 7:50 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]

posted by SonInLawOfSam at 8:23 AM on January 8

Oh no! But what a full life.

posted by Freeze Peach at 8:24 AM on January 8

Wow! I just got my sister to start playing Civ 5. I didn't realize he was Badger's dad.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:28 AM on January 8

"(Sighs) It's haaahdcopy."
"To know him was to love him, and to love him was to know him."
"Cee toh ree cho mon toh ray"
"Put your house in order, either there or here. You will not live in between."

posted by zaixfeep at 8:34 AM on January 8

Ohhh, he was Lane Pryce's absolute monster of a father. Brrr!
posted by PussKillian at 8:39 AM on January 8

posted by camyram at 8:58 AM on January 8

posted by gudrun at 9:09 AM on January 8

posted by dlugoczaj at 9:49 AM on January 8

Wow. I first noticed him -- and the connection to son Mark, a favorite in our house in his own right -- after his turn as Lane Pryce's sadistic father on Mad Men.
posted by uberchet at 9:56 AM on January 8


I first heard of his passing in this "appreciation" article at Retroist, which spotlighted his roles as Max Headroom's Blank Reg, and Babylon 5's Soul Hunter, which earned him for me first note in this year's obits list.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:09 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]

posted by suelac at 10:13 AM on January 8

posted by lapolla at 10:26 AM on January 8

Oh! He was Elvira's evil wizard uncle, Vincent Talbot, in Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Aw.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:13 AM on January 8

Blank Reg!
posted by praemunire at 11:24 AM on January 8

posted by mordax at 12:21 PM on January 8

posted by Sphinx at 12:46 PM on January 8

Wow - checking even further down his IMDB page - he was in practically everything my parents used to watch from Britain. The Sweeny, Z-Cars, the Onedin Line, The New Avengers, When the Boat Comes In (you shall have a fishy), the Professionals, Minder.

That plus B5 and the Treks, that's some history right there, that is.
posted by Sparx at 12:57 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]

I never forgot Blank Reg, great character and great actor. Also a shout out for his appearance in Hawk The Slayer !
posted by Webbster at 1:09 PM on January 8

On the watch, sir! Always on the watch. They don't all fight like fine gentlemen.
posted by hyperbolic at 2:06 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]

posted by giltay at 3:04 PM on January 8

He was in damn near everything and such a great actor. He will be missed.

posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:52 PM on January 8

posted by rhiannonstone at 10:08 PM on January 8

Blank Reg may be the thing that I first noticed him in but Wild at Heart is the film that burned him into my brain as Mr. Reindeer. I can find no clip at this time of the NSFW bathroom scene that just twists my head. My condolences to his family and friends.

posted by Ignorantsavage at 11:00 PM on January 8

Someone just posted a 53 minute supercut of Blank Reg, including content from the original Channel 4 movie version of Max Headroom from the UK.
posted by radwolf76 at 8:38 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]

posted by filtergik at 3:26 AM on January 11

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