Kenneth Mitchell, 'Star Trek' actor, dead at 49

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 04: Actor Kenneth Mitchell attends Day 3 of Creation Entertainment's 2018 Star Trek Convention Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel & Casino on August 4, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

Kenneth Mitchell, known for his roles in "Star Trek: Discovery" and "Captain Marvel," died on Saturday from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) complications. He was 49.

"For five and a half years Ken faced a series of awful challenges from ALS. And in truest Ken fashion, he managed to rise above each one with grace and commitment to living a full and joyous life in each moment," a statement read, which was shared across his social media platforms.

"He lived by the principles that each day is a gift and that we never walk alone. His life is a shining example of how full one can be when you live with love, compassion, humour, inclusion, and community. Ken was an inspirational work of art to all the hearts he touched."

Kenneth was born in Toronto, Canada, on Nov. 25, 1974 to Diane and David Mitchell. He was known for being "a giver, a listener, a sentimentalist, and an excellent observer of his surroundings. One of his most endearing qualities as a friend is that Ken loved to watch others shine. He was a conductor of connecting friends together and thoroughly enjoyed prompting a good story," the statement said.

"And boy oh boy did he love to laugh. He absolutely loved to laugh. Ken had a keen passion and detailed eye for beauty in the arts. He thrived creatively which could be easily seen in his architecture, graphic design, acting, photography, writing, broad love of music, and throughout his home in Studio City, California.


"Ken is forever grateful for the massive amounts of love and endless support he received from his community along this journey. Especially the courage, resilience, and strength displayed from his extraordinary wife, family, and friends."

Mitchell portrayed Klingons Kol, Kol-Sha and Tenavik, in addition to Aurellio on "Star Trek: Discovery." He also voiced a number of characters on the animated science fiction series, "Star Trek: Lower Decks."

He starred in more than two dozen episodes of "Jericho," portrayed Deke Slayton in "The Astronaut Wives Club," and was known for playing Carol Danvers' father in "Captain Marvel." 

Mitchell was diagnosed with ALS in 2018, and revealed his diagnosis two years later. He told People magazine that after he received his diagnosis, he turned down a lead role in a television show as it required him to move to Newfoundland. He began using a wheelchair in 2019.


"I think it, over time, became the theme of us accepting this with grace," he said. "Trying to see the beauty in it, in a way. I’ll never forget, one of my ‘Star Trek’ co-stars told me, because they had dealt with some trying times with illnesses and stuff, and I remember them communicating to me, saying, ‘You have a choice. You can look at this in many different ways, but maybe try to look at this like a gift where you get to experience life in a way that most people don’t.'"

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is named after the former New York Yankee great who was forced to retire in 1939 due to the debilitating disease. Gehrig played for the team for 17 seasons and retired at the age of 36. He died two years later.  

ALS is a progressive neurological disease which targets the nervous system and motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, weakening muscles and limiting physical function.

The cause is unknown and symptoms can vary, but muscle weakness that worsens over time is common in many cases. There is currently no cure for the disease and progression of symptoms varies from each case.

Mitchell is survived by wife Susan and their two children, Lilah and Kallum.

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