Star Trek fans were saddened yesterday to learn of the passing of Edward J. Paskey, who died three days short of his 82nd birthday.
If his name isn’t familiar even to longtime fans of the original Star Trek series, chances are good those same fans would recognize his face. Mr. Paskey was a ubiquitous presence in numerous episodes throughout the show’s three-year run.
Though he sometimes had other names – whenever he had a name at all – Paskey’s character was most often referred to as “Mr. Leslie” or “Lieutenant Leslie.” As you can see from the small gallery of photos, he showed up all over the place, wearing different uniforms and occupying different positions, such as various bridge stations or as a member of a landing party or security detail. He also served as a stand-in for William Shatner and his hands were used in a couple of close-up shots as stand-ins (hand-ins?) for James Doohan, who was missing the middle finger of his right hand as a consequence of wounds suffered during his service in World War II.
Beginning with the second pilot episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” Mr. Paskey appeared in 58 of the show’s 79 episodes, more than George Takei as Sulu or Walter Koening as Chekov, though his role was of course much smaller. He only had spoken dialogue in four episodes, and only received screen credit for two of those appearances. He even died a couple of times, only to appear an episode or two later, perhaps wearing a different color shirt or sitting at a different station. This “phenomenon” is but one of the original series’ many quirky charms, and Mr. Paskey’s contributions to the show make for one of its most fun anecdotes.
We send our sincere condolences to Mr. Paskey’s family and friends for their loss.