Rene Auberjonois

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Born

6/1/1940 , New York City, New York, USA

Birth Name

René Murat Auberjonois

Gender

Male

Biography:

René Murat Auberjonois was born to an artistic dynasty that compelled him to be a creative performer. His grandfather, Swiss post-impressionist painter (and namesake) René Auberjonois and his father, Pulitzer Prize-nominated Swiss journalist and author Fernand Auberjonois, assured that young René was constantly exposed to a creative atmosphere and any artistic ambition was nurtured. His pedigree does not end there. His mother was Princess Laure Louise Napoléone Eugénie Caroline, who was descended from Joachim Murat, King of Naples and Caroline Bonaparte, sister of Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte.

René was born in New York City on June 1, 1940. When World War II ended, the Auberjonois family returned to Paris. It was there, when he was six years old, that René was first bitten by the acting bug. He was placed in front of his during a rendition of Do You Know the Muffin Man? Since he wasn't really conducting the musical number, he thought of it as acting. When he turned to take his bow, he was hooked. He decided at that moment that he wanted to be an actor. A few years later, the Auberjonois family moved back to New York and took up residence in an Artist's Colony near Rockland County NY. René grew up surrounded by all manner of artist, musicians, actors and composers. Other residents at the time included Burgess Meredith, Helen Hayes and future mentor, John Houseman. When René was sixteen years old, John gave him his first theater job as an apprentice in Stratford CT. Years later, René taught theatre at the Juilliard School under Professor John Houseman.

While in his early 20s, he began a romantic relationship with Judith Mahalyi. On October 19, 1963, the two were married. Together, they have two children, Tessa and Remy Auberjonois. René had to begin a balancing act of supporting his family and furthering his acting career. Fortunately for him, he had more than enough assistance from his own family to allow him to continue his craft.

Fascinated with all aspects of theatre production, he attended Carnegie-Mellon University in their theatre program. After graduation, he performed with a number of theatre companies such as San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. In 1969, he made his Broadway debut alongside Katherine Hepburn in the musical Coco. He was nominated for and won a Tony for his work. It was during this time that René considered changing his family name to "Aubert" since many people he worked with could not properly pronounce "Auberjonois" with its French inflection. However, people seemed to have just as much trouble with "Aubert" and left his name as it was. After Coco, René went on to perform in a number of stage productions, but it was his role as Father Francis Mulcahy in the Robert Altman anti-war film, M*A*S*H, that earned him a degree of international recognition. With his newfound celebrity status, René began getting offers to do episode television. It wasn't long before he landed the role of Clayton Endicott III on Benson. Playing the role of Chief of Staff to a bumbling President of the United States, René endeared him to American audiences with his haughty, holier-than-thou portrayal of Clayton.

When Benson ended its run in 1986, René went on to do a host of television appearances in shows like L.A. Law, Doogie Howser M.D., and Matlock. He had also done a considerable amount of voice work, lending his voice to animated shows like Darkwing Duck, Batman and The Pirates of Dark Water. He continued to work on this project and that for several years, but in 1993, he secured the role of Security Chief Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the newest installment of the Star Trek Universe. He was fascinated by the fact that his character was written as the only one of his species and has no knowledge of where he came from. It offered him a role with unlimited potential for self discovery and evolution.

After Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ended its run in 1999, René continued working in episode television and animation voice work as opportunities presented themselves. In 2004, he signed on to play Paul Lewiston on the Emmy Award winning drama Boston Legal alongside Star Trek legend, William Shatner. It was for performing this character that he won a Prism Award for "Performance in a Drama Series, Multi-Episode Storyline". He had also been nominated along with the rest of the Boston Legal cast for a Screen Actors Guild Award for "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series" in 2006,2007 and 2008.

René spend a great deal of his free time either teaching master classes at various performing arts schools and indulging his personal hobbies of photography and wire sculpture. He is also a very active supporter of several charities such as "Doctors without Borders", "Amnesty International" and the "American Arthritis Foundation". He helps raise funds for all of these organizations through his fan club, Oracle.
  • © 2006 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
  • © 2006 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
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