Character actor George Murdock dies

Appeared on 'Barney Miller,' 'Battlestar,' 'Star Trek'

Character actor George Murdock, best known as Lt. Scanlon on “Barney Miller,” Dr. Salik on “Battlestar Galactica” and “God” in “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier,” died April 30 in Los Angeles. He was 81.

Murdock racked up more than 200 credits in TV and film over the course of a career that spanned more than five decades.

In another connection to “Star Trek,” Murdock played Admiral J.P. Hanson in two episodes of “The Next Generation.”

The actor also appeared onstage, originating the role of Judge Julius Hoffman in the Odyssey Theater’s 1979 production of “The Chicago Conspiracy Trial” (and reprising the role 25 years later). As one of the original members of the Melrose Theater, Murdock performed in many plays with the troupe, most notably, “Lester Sims Retires Tomorrow,” which later moved to Off Broadway.

The actor began a steady stream of smallscreen roles in the early 1960s with credits in “Twilight Zone,” “The Untouchables, “77 Sunset Strip.” Later came roles in “Hawaii Five-O,” “Mod Squad,” “Ironside,” “Gunsmoke,” “McCloud,” “Lou Grant” and “The Rockford Files.” He played generals in miniseries “The Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance,” and he was a regular on the brief Yakov Smirnoff vehicle “What a Country” in 1986. Later credits included “L.A. Law,” “ER,” the “X Files” series and movie and “CSI.”

With his characteristic gravitas, Murdock was a natural to play judges, and he did so repeatedly not only onstage but also on television (“Law and Order,” “Judging Amy”) and in film (“Timescape,” “Final Analysis”).

Born in Salina, Kans., Murdock is survived by his wife, Cathy, and a stepdaughter.

A remembrance of Murdock will be held Sunday, May 20, at 2 p.m. at the Odyssey Theater, 2055 South Sepulveda Blvd., L.A.

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