Dennis C. Ott; Actor Became Activist After Contracting AIDS
Dennis C. Ott, a promising character actor who at 6 feet, 11 inches, became a towering Klingon in a “Star Trek” film and a menacing devil in the light comedy “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey,” died Thursday at his home in Philadelphia.
A family spokesman said the actor was 36 and died of complications of AIDS, diagnosed in 1990 when his career was beginning to blossom. The virus was discovered when Ott tried to donate blood to the Red Cross.
Ott did not hide his illness. He gave interviews, spoke about the disease at high schools and marched in AIDS walks.
He unknowingly passed the virus to his wife, Louise. He said he contracted the disease during a relationship with a TV actress in the mid-1980s. She died months before he was diagnosed and he did not learn that she had AIDS until shortly before her death.
Ott was employed as a corrections officer in the Philadelphia prison system when stage director John Flynn spotted him on the boardwalk in Wildwood, N.J., in 1982 and cast him in a bit part.
Besides his roles as a Klingon in “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” and as an alien in “Star Trek IV: The Undiscovered Country,” Ott portrayed a looter in “Police Academy 6" and also had a small part in the film “The Doors.”