July 14 2024

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Cobb As A Doomed Redshirt

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Julie Cobb once played Yeoman Leslie Thompson, a redshirt who lost her life in the original series’ By Any Other Name.

In the episode, Thompson was reduced to a cube, which was than crushed by the Kelvan alien Rojan.

Cobb was only twenty-one when she took on the role of Thompson in her first acting gig. “I had an agent and I was auditioning for things,” she said. “I got that job, and it was directed by Marc Daniels, who had been a contemporary of my mother and father (actors Helen Beverley and Lee J. Cobb). William Shatner had been in a film with my dad, The Brothers Karamazov. But I’d like to think I got the part on my own, even though I was very nervous auditioning. I was even more nervous on the set. But it was a great experience and it’s followed me all these years, all my life.”

Although nervous, the director and actors soon set Cobb at ease. “[Director] Marc Daniels was a gentle, intelligent, sweet guy,” she said. “I remember being so nervous that I could barely walk and talk at the same time. Shatner was paternal, funny, sweet. Leonard Nimoy, oddly enough, had been my first acting teacher. When I was sixteen, I was in an acting class that Leonard taught. So I got through it. It was a few days’ work. It’s kind of a blur to me because I was a baby. But they made me feel great.”

Cobb’s daughter Rosemary Morgan (Star Trek: Voyager: The Chute) saw the clip where Thompson’s cube was crushed and reacted to it as a writer might react. “I will tell you about my daughter’s sense of humor,” said Cobb. “We found the clip of them reducing me to a little cube and crushing me to death. William Shatner was nothing if not intense as Kirk. He picks up the remnants of my body and he has a look of such loss on his face. Rosemary saw that and said, ‘Whooaa, clearly there was a backstory there.'”

Cobb is still acting, but has branched out into writing. She will be appearing at this summer’s Las Vegas Star Trek convention.

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8 thoughts on “Cobb As A Doomed Redshirt

  1. Wasn’t Leslie Thompson also the only woman redshirt to be killed on the show? Anyway, that scene with the 50/50 crushing chance sure was one intense redshirt moment. That along with Kirk realizing he just beamed two redshirts in outer space in ‘And the Children Shall Lead’.

  2. Yup, that was the only way they could get away with killing a white woman instead of a black man on 1960s TV.

  3. Always fun to hear from the one-time, relatively minor guest stars on TOS and what they’ve been up to all these years.

    That “death” scene again provided TOS with another great Shatner/Kirk moment that really shows why, after all these years, the character of James T. Kirk has endured. Despite her being merely another “red shirt” of his crew, when Ms. Cobb’s character is killed, Shatner really delivers with that anguished look on his face and makes you (the audience) realize that the death of any member of his crew (and so meaningless in this case), no matter how down the chain of command he/she may be, is a terribly sad thing to behold.

    It’s these “human” moments that really help to elevate the show and its characters into something greater than just another TV show, IMHO…

    Jon

  4. I was a bit confused by this article as it sounded like this actress had died… but that’s not the case. Feel like I’m missing something!

  5. I feel the wrong cube was crushed or there was an editing error on which cube was who. Following hand motions I think they crushed the other redshirt. Either way, a Redshirt gotta die, but let’s be accurate, ‘m’kay?

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