October 15, 1924
Chicago, Illinois, United States
November 22, 1996
New York City, New York, United States
Mark Lenard played a wide assortment of roles in film and television, but none more memorable or beloved than his multiple appearances as Sarek, Vulcan father of Spock in "Star Trek." What began as a peripheral character was turned into something both philosophically profound and emotionally poignant by Lenard's nuanced performance. As Sarek, he embodied the Vulcan principle of logic's primacy over emotion, a lesson he often imparted to his half-human son, Spock. In "Star Trek: The Next Generation," he was given the opportunity to give much more depth to the character. In the episode "Sarek," one of the most touching story lines in the entire series, the aging Vulcan ambassador started to suffer from Bendii Syndrome (akin to Alzheimer's disease), causing his emotions to flare out of control. He found solace in his friendship with Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart), who allowed him to mind-meld and finally express the deeply felt love he had for his son but always kept contained behind his Vulcan stoicism. The episode, and Lenard's subtle performance, served as not only a beautiful valediction for his character, but also a celebration of the legacy of Spock in particular and "Star Trek" as a whole.