So sad to report that another Star Trek original has passed. The wonderful Bruce Hyde, who will forever be the excitable Lt. Kevin Thomas Riley to Trek fans, passed away from throat cancer on October 13th. He was 74. 😦
The character of Riley was featured in two of the the best original series episodes: The Naked Time and The Conscience of the King. Although he took a dramatic turn as the would-be assassin of the evil Kodos in Conscience… Hyde brought the character a likability beyond adorable. His navigator might have been bored in engineering, but no doubt was loyal and a favorite among the crew. One would love to be pals with the proud Irishman– especially if he could swing you some ice cream in a bowling alley! 😉 The little touches Hyde added to the drunken Riley — posing like a cowboy in the elevator, silently commanding a door to open as he left sickbay– were brilliant. I wish Riley could have been featured in more episodes, but two was probably enough for Hyde, who was surprised and delighted that his fame in this little role was still recognized nearly 50 years later.
I remember seeing Hyde at the BiCentennial-10 Star Trek Convention in NYC in 1976 — I was late to his appearance and just got there in time to see him sing Riley’s drunken ode I’ll take you home again, Kathleen to the crowd –they ate it up!
But I hope Trek fans will also recall that Hyde was more than an actor, but also an author and beloved professor emeritus of communication studies at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, as well as an acting coach. He also appeared on Dr. Kildare and That Girl, as well as in Death of a Salesman on Broadway. You can read more about brilliant Bruce here.
Another wonderful Trek soul is beamed up, he’ll be missed but never forgotten. Thanks for the laughs Mr. Riley, there will be a dance for you tonight in the bowling alley of heaven! And as for Kathleen? I have to say “One…More…TIME!”