Calgary Expo 2015: Rene Auberjonois
Updated: May 15, 2020
This day was all about Odo! First, I went to get Rene Auberjonois's autograph. He was so genuinely cheerful and very polite! He even consented to my filming a short video as a birthday present for my best friend, Sailor Shipper! If he would oblige, she had requested that he sing a verse from "Big River" because she had very much enjoyed his performance in the musical. Alas, he was sad to admit that he couldn’t remember any of the lyrics ( which was reasonable as it was from very early in his career ) but regardless the video was PERFECT! He spoke so earnestly as he wished my friend a 'Happy Birthday' before giddily singing "Les poissons, les poissons! Hee! Hee! Hee! Hon! Hon! Hon!” instead.
Thank you, Rene. <3
Later I attended his panel and—oh my goodness—he was delightful! He was more than happy to thoroughly answer all questions asked ( which turned out to total about 3 questions, he was that thorough ).
I’m going to jot down some of the stories he shared in point form here because my memory is terrible and I need to get this down before I forget:
He worked with Katherine Hepburn in his youth. That is so very cool!
His first Star Trek role was in "Star Trek VI: the Undiscovered Country". It was a loosey-goosey gig. The director was reaching out to friends for extras, so he was cast as a Starfleet officer named Colonel West. Rene later learned that his scenes were cut out of the theatrical release so he forgot about the job. Unbeknownst to Rene, his scenes were put back into the movie for the VHS release. So at a convention—post VHS release, of course—when he was asked what it was like to play Colonel West, he was so confused. Not knowing what the fan was asking, he ventured a guess and answered about one of his western movie roles. The audience quickly realized that he hadn’t understood the question “and then they turned on me,” he said seriously before quickly adding, “just kidding.” XD
He started working on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" in his late fifties! Wow! He then explained that, because of this, he never felt that the fervent association of the character he portrayed to himself had ever stunted his career as he had already firmly established himself as a character actor beforehand.
He had auditioned for the role of Odo many times! His first audition convinced Rick Berman but not the others. Though the creator of Odo had pictured the character as a young Clint Eastwood, Rene’s second audition won him over. He then had to audition a few more times because a Paramount Exec was holding out. It wasn’t until someone told said exec that the actor would be covered in rubber that he agreed, "Really? Oh, then he’s good.".
His co-star, Armin Shimmerman, dubbed the Parmount Execs "the REAL Ferengis". XD
Rene was describing his latest work, "Untitled Kelly Reichardt Project" ( "Certain Women (2016)" ), which stars Michelle Williams. He went to describe her as the mother of Heath Ledger’s child but it was very difficult for him to say this. Though he struggled, he was determined to follow through. Once he was finally able to string the words together, he quickly admitted that he was getting emotional because he had worked with Heath in "the Patriot" before quickly moving on to the next question. It was heartbreaking! I miss him too, Rene! I miss him too... T_T
After the panel, my parents and I went to have a photo with him. A few spots in front of us was a lovely lady in a scooter. A volunteer kindly helped her walk over to Rene Auberjonois, who supported her with great care. He took a few minutes to talk with her after the picture was taken.
It was a wonderful thing to witness. <3 When it was our turn, he embraced us without hesitation and the photo turned out beautifully.