William Campbell was “the first actor to sing with Elvis Presley in a film,” Mem Alpha says. Campbell played the alien/little kid Trelane, who was “in part a parody of Liberace,” Wiki says. The resemblance does seem obvious when pointed out. Also Wiki: Campbell “married Judith Exner.” That bowled me over, because Exner was the woman who slept with Sam Giancana and John Kennedy. Campbell was the lead in Coppola’s first feature, Dementia 13. Apparently he was never much for the Trek convention circuit, couldn’t be bothered, so I guess he managed to save some money along the way.
To look at him, Campbell seemed like a second-hand Tony Curtis, the way the woman in “Catspaw” seemed like a second-hand Elizabeth Taylor. Maybe these hand-me-down types still show up among tv actors. When you’re watching the old shows, they’re not hard to spot: a guy who looks like Brando but isn’t, or like Tony Curtis but isn’t.
Campbell’s Trelane (the child-alien) is one of the few really good, spirited performances by a Star Trek guest star. The guy had pizzazz. Then again it helped that the role had pizzazz: Anthony Caruso and Victor Tayback were good too in “A Piece of the Action.”
There’s an embarrassing moment in “Tribbles,” where Campbell played the chief Klingon, where he turns on his heel and struts to the door and you see his plump buttocks bouncing. He was in his 40s by then and men of the time didn’t expect to keep their figures, a fact that shows up often enough in old tv shows.
Campbell became pals with Roddenberry and Doohan, who was also a Roddenberry pal, and the three of them played poker.
And here he is: