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'I Am All of Those Characters, and I Love That'

René Auberjonois died Sunday at 79
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 8, 2019 4:30 PM CST
This Nov. 9, 2013, file photo shows Rene Auberjonois at the International Myeloma Foundation 7th Annual Comedy Celebration in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
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(Newser) – René Auberjonois, a prolific actor best known for his roles on the television shows Benson and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and his part in the 1970 film M.A.S.H. playing Father Mulcahy, has died. He was 79. The actor died Sunday at his home in Los Angeles of metastatic lung cancer, his son Rèmy-Luc Auberjonois told the AP. René Auberjonois worked constantly as a character actor in several golden ages, from the dynamic theater of the 1960s to the cinema renaissance of the 1970s to the prime period of network television in the 1980s and '90s—and each generation knew him for something different. For film fans of the 1970s, he was Father John Mulcahy, the military chaplain who played straight man to the doctors' antics in M.A.S.H.

"I am all of those characters, and I love that," Auberjonois said in a 2011 interview. "I also run into people, and they think I'm their cousin or their dry cleaner. I love that, too." Born in New York in 1940, Auberjonois was raised in New York, Paris, and London. After graduating from college, Auberjonois hopped around the country joining theater companies, eventually landing Broadway roles including the Fool in a long-running version of King Lear. The following year he would play Sebastian Baye opposite Katharine Hepburn in Coco, and later saw Tony nominations for 1973's The Good Doctor, 1984's Big River, and 1989's City of Angels. Late in his career, Auberjonois would work with independent filmmakers including the artful director Kelly Reichardt.

(Read more obituary stories.)

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