Tuesday, October 27, 2015

First Leonard, then Grace, and now Bruce...

While I was surfing through the web to check out the dealings of a Star Trek forum group that I'm no longer a part of, I found out about the tragic news of the death of Professor Bruce Hyde, the actor who played one of my favorite characters on Star Trek, Lt. Kevin Riley.  He was 74, and died of throat cancer.

This has, so far, been a very sad year for Star Trek fans of the Original Series.  

First, we lost Leonard early this year, then Grace, and now Bruce follows them.

Now, I don't know about you all, but I've always thought that Bruce Hyde as Kevin Riley should have become a regular on the show! I'll never understand just why the decision to keep him on was never made. To be an actor who can play a character- and a good one at that- so well in only two episodes that he leaves such a strong impression is a real testament to that actor.

I really hate to say this, but I would have preferred it if Gene Roddenberry had kept both Rand and Riley, with the original actors reprising their roles, of course-and canning Chekov.

Or, to put it more accurately, to never have added Chekov in the intergalactic roster in the first place.

Bruce Hyde, as Kevin Riley, brought a charm, charisma and humor to his role that was second to none.  He was funny, boyish, vulnerable, brave, capable, and loyal.  There was also a little bit of an edge to him, however. He did not have the typical bad boy overkill that is all too apparent in too many characters on TV and film these days; it was more subtle, as if a little nudge might get that element of his on its way.  He was both soft and cocky, and it was a great combination.

I understand that he was an actor for only six years before leaving the field to explore other options in his life, later to become a college professor teaching communications and the arts.  How lucky those students must have been! I frankly can't remember having a really cool college professor, can you?

Well, I am going to close this little tribute by saying that, in writing the Riley character in my story 'Tis Charity To Show, I tried to flesh out the character to the best of my ability and I hope that I truly
did him justice.

I also plan to use Kevin Riley in future stories, without question! 

Rest in peace, Professor Bruce Hyde.

Your presence on Star Trek certainly made my life much richer, and I am quite grateful for that.

Bruce Hyde
1941-2015


Godspeed to you, Sir.

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