Nicolas Coster from Star Trek TNG “The Offspring” passed in June

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 26: Nicolas Coster attends The Bay's Pre-Emmy Red Carpet Celebration at 33 Taps Hollywood on April 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 26: Nicolas Coster attends The Bay's Pre-Emmy Red Carpet Celebration at 33 Taps Hollywood on April 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images) /

Nicolas Coster, a memorable Star Trek: The Next Generation guest star, died this summer.

He’s best known to Star Trek fans for having played the Starfleet “badmiral” (bad admiral) who made life difficult for Data in the Star Trek: The Next Generation fan favorite episode “The Offspring.” But Nicolas Coster, who died on June 26, 2023, had a long and varied career, during which he crossed paths with other Star Trek actors several times.

Born December 3, 1933 in London, Nicolas Coster spent time in Canada and Los Angeles before returning across the pond to study acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, from which he graduated in 1951. (David Warner, known to Star Trek fans from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, would graduate from RADA a decade later.)

Coster’s career in film and television began two years later; IMDB lists four uncredited roles from 1953 for him, beginning with a sailor in Titanic (the 1953 film starring Barbara Stanwyck). He worked steadily in the seven decades that followed, mostly in television, although a 1987 car accident “put him in a coma and cost him his memory for some time,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

TV fans know Coster best from his work on soap operas. He is especially remembered for two long runs: He played Robert Delaney on Another World for a full decade (1970-80), and then Lionel Lockridge in 599 episodes of Santa Barbara (1984-93).

One of Nicolas Coster’s highest profile film roles was that of Markham in All the President’s Men (1976), the political thriller based on Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s investigations of the Watergate scandal. “Markham” was the on-screen version of Douglas Caddy, the first attorney for the five arrested Watergate burglars.

Coster’s resume was light on science fiction and fantasy. However, he was in a 1978 TV movie A Fire in the Sky, about a comet on a crash course with Phoenix, Arizona. And he appeared in episodes of The Amazing Spider-Man and Wonder Woman, both in 1978; The Incredible Hulk (1979); Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1980); Knight Rider (1983); War of the Worlds (1989, a series currently marking its 35th anniversary); and the time-traveling police series Timecop (1998)—playing a “Captain Harriman” other than the one aboard the ill-fated maiden voyage of the U.S.S. Enterprise-B in Star Trek: Generations—and two episodes of the sci-fi sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun (1998-99).

He also appeared in five episodes of the popular ’80s NBC sitcom The Facts of Life, as “David Warner”—not his fellow RADA alum and Star Trek actor, but wealthy father of Lisa Whelchel’s Blair.

Nicolas Coster and other Star Trek actors in non-Star Trek projects

Nicolas Coster shared the screen with the crew of the Enterprise-D as Admiral Haftel in “The Offspring” (first aired the week of March 12, 1990).

But his turn as the Starfleet admiral who wants to take Data’s daughter away from him for research before—too late—relenting wasn’t the only time Coster shared the screen with actors from various Star Trek projects.

For example, Coster appeared in a 1983 episode of T.J. Hooker, the police drama starring William Shatner in the title role, as well as James Darren (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s Vic Fontaine). Shatner, of course, also enjoyed the limelight for his appearances as the Big Giant Head on 3d Rock from the Sun.

In both All the President’s Men and the comedy film The Big Fix (1978), Nicolas Coster costarred with F. Murray Abraham, who played the villainous Ru’afo in Star Trek: Insurrection (1998).

In The Electric Horsemen (1979), Coster was in the cast with James B. Sikking, who played arrogant Captain Styles of the Excelsior in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

Coster also appeared in the 1978 TV miniseries The Word, based on Irving Wallace’s novel about a controversial ancient document purporting to be an eyewitness account of Jesus of Nazareth’s life. The Word’s cast also included Christopher Lloyd (Commander Kruge in Star Trek III) and Kate Mulgrew (Captain and, later, Admiral Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager and the late, lamented Star Trek: Prodigy).

Since her father’s death, Dinneen Coster has been posting not only looks back at his career but also tributes to his work outside acting. For example, Nicolas Coster was a certified scuba diving instructor who helped people with physical disabilities enjoy the sport.

“Please remember him as a great artist.” Dinneen Coster wrote when announcing his death. “He was an actor’s actor!”

Star Trek fans may not have lost much love for Admiral Haftel in “The Offspring,” but we continue to send condolences and best wishes to Nicolas Coster’s family and friends and are grateful his long and impressive career included one stop on the final frontier.

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