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William Campbell dies at 87; actor had numerous film, TV roles

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William Campbell, a veteran actor who had memorable roles in the television series "Star Trek," was in Elvis Presley's first film and in the 1950s was married to President Kennedy paramour Judith Campbell Exner, has died. He was 87.

Campbell died Thursday of natural causes at the Motion Picture & Television Fund's hospital in Woodland Hills, said fund spokeswoman Jennifer Fagen.


FOR THE RECORD:
William Campbell: In some copies of the May 1 California section, a news obituary on actor William Campbell misstated the day he died. Campbell died April 28, his wife, Tereza, confirmed. —


He was a busy film and television actor in the 1950s and '60s, making his film debut in 1950's "The Breaking Point" and singing with Presley in 1956's "Love Me Tender."

Campbell's other film roles included "The High and the Mighty" in 1954, "Cell 2455 Death Row" in 1955, "The Naked and the Dead" in 1958, "Dementia 13" with director Francis Ford Coppola in 1963 and "Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte" in 1964.

Campbell had roles in "Star Trek" episodes during each of the original show's first two seasons, including playing a Klingon warrior in the second-season episode "The Trouble With Tribbles." He returned to the role in a 1994 episode of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." Among his many other television appearances was a starring part in "Cannonball," a syndicated half-hour series that debuted in 1958.

Campbell was born in Newark, N.J., on Oct. 30, 1923, according to public records and the Motion Picture & Television Fund. His birth year is listed as 1926 by several sources.

He served in the Pacific with the Navy during World War II.

Campbell met Exner, then Judith Immoor, in 1952 at a party when she belonged to "the young Hollywood set," he told The Times in 1975. They married that year and divorced in 1958. She died in 1999.

A Senate committee in 1975 investigating alleged CIA assassination plots detailed telephone calls between Kennedy and "a close friend." Exner called a news conference after her identity had been leaked.

She said that her relationship with Kennedy was of a "close, personal nature" and that she also had a personal relationship with mafia figure Sam Giancana.

"What mutual friends we had you could count on one hand," Campbell said of his former wife in a 1975 Times article. "How she ever met the president, I don't know."

Campbell spent many years during and after his acting career working with the Motion Picture & Television Fund, including as its chief fundraiser.

Campbell is survived by his wife, Tereza, whom he married in 1963.

keith.thursby@latimes.com

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