Louisiana – Jeffrey Hunter
If you’re a younger Star Trek fan you may not realize you Jeffrey Hunter is. Although he was a respected actor in the 1960s, he unfortunately passed away back in 1969. Older movie lovers might recognize him as Jesus Christ in the classic biblical film The King of Kings. But he also plays a little seen, often forgotten role in the Star Trek universe, though it’s a very important one.
In the original pilot for the TV series called “The Cage”, Hunter plays Captain Christopher Pike. You’re reading that right. Captain Kirk was not the original captain of the Star Trek series. Gene Roddenberry’s original vision had Spock exploring new worlds with Captain Pike, instead.
However, when another pilot was ordered to be filmed to pick up the series, Hunter would decline reprising the role. He would go on to focus on other TV shows. This opened the door for Captain Kirk to be written into the story. But when the full episode was made publicly available decades after Hunter’s death, he finally got the recognition from the fans who enjoyed his character.
Hunter can in fact still be seen on the actual Star Trek series as well. Footage from the unused pilot was later edited into an episode called “The Menagerie” which continued Pike’s story.