This week’s W.Y.O.S.T. subject is Brian Thompson. If you ever watched the original Terminator movie, then you’ve seen him. For a few minutes anyway. In one of the opening scenes, he and Bill Paxton play a couple of street punks who go up against a naked cyborg Arnold … and are promptly killed for their clothes. As first roles go, an actor could do far worse — although from the body of work that’s followed since that movie in 1984, one wonders how exactly Brian Thompson has avoided playing the role of a terminator himself over the years. After all, the square-jawed baritone actor has played just about every other kind of imposing bogey man you can think of — two different vampires, two different Klingons, a shape-changing Gotham City supervillain, an alien bounty hunter, an indestructible demon, and even a vengeful Greek Titan.
A child of two teachers, Thompson broke into Hollywood as a Terminator casualty, but has gone on from there to build a career as either a tough guy or an outright bad guy, mostly in sci-fi/fantasy projects. By the time the 80s were over, he had racked up more than 20 appearances in such shows as Moonlighting, Knight Rider, and Falcon Crest, as well as the classic movies Three Amigos, Miracle Mile, and Alien Nation. In 1989, he landed his first Star Trek role, playing a Klingon officer in The Next Generation, and his relationship with the franchise would persist over the years — he appeared in the Generations movie (1994), in Deep Space Nine (1993 & 1996), and even had a recurring role on Enterprise in 2005.