I hate writing eulogies. And when it’s the passing of an actor who was a significant part of Star Trek, it hurts even more. But when that actor was also a friend to fan films, that’s a Vulcan neck pinch, a phaser on stun, and a punch to the gut all at the same time.
GARY GRAHAM, who passed away yesterday from a heart attack and subsequent brain bleed at the age of 73, enjoyed a long career in Hollywood, beginning to act professionally way back in the mid-1970s when he was in his twenties. While he was never an “A-lister,” Gary achieved something few actors ever do: he became the lead in a network television series. In this instance, it was Alien Nation, adapted from the movie of the same name, which ran for a single season on the then-fledgeling FOX network and was later named by TV Guide in 2013 as one of 60 shows that were “Cancelled Too Soon.” However, Gary went on to star in five made-for-TV Alien Nation sequel movies that aired throughout the 1990s. Gary played human detective Matthew Sikes.
Although you can see Gary’s full filmography on his IMDb page, Star Trek fans are most familiar with his portrayal of the Vulcan Ambassador Soval on all four seasons of Enterprise. Gary also appeared as an Ocampan in the second season Voyager episode “Cold Fire.” But Soval was the character that fans really embraced, which was one of the reasons that Soval was one of only three non-main characters to appear in all four seasons of Enterprise (along with JEFFREY COMBS’ Andorian Shran and MATT WINSTON’s temporal agent Daniels…and no, VAUGHN ARMSTRONG’s Admiral Forest did not appear in season three).
Soval was so popular that ALEC PETERS brought the character into PRELUDE TO AXANAR back in 2014 and again in THE VULCAN SCENE the following year, and Gary knocked it out of the park both times. His line, “An Andorian acquaintance once said, ‘Don’t push the pink-skins to the thin ice.’ It wasn’t very eloquent, but the Klingons found it to prove quite prophetic…” became a fan favorite quote thanks to Gary’s incredible delivery.
Around the same time, Gary was also doing other Star Trek fan films. His original character of the mercenary Ragnar (nothing like Soval!) debuted in STAR TREK: OF GODS AND MEN in 2007 and then returned in STAR TREK: RENEGADES in 2015 and then RENEGADES THE SERIES in 2017.
Gary wasn’t just a gifted actor, he was also a talented singer and songwriter, and his band, The Sons of Kirk, would occasionally perform at conventions like the 2016 Creation 50th anniversary of Star Trek con in Las Vegas…
Two years later, fans would donate $21K to help Gary and his band produce their first album. Sadly, the pandemic interrupted the project, and the album was never completed.
I met Gary in person in late 2018 at the first Axacon gathering at ARES STUDIOS in Lawrenceville, GA. And let me tell ya, Gary was a trip and a half…!Continue reading “R.I.P. – GARY “AMBASSADOR SOVAL” GRAHAM (1950-2024)”