R.I.P. director Winrich Kolbe, 1940-2012

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    Sad news – ’90s Star Trek uber-director Winrich Kolbe has checked out. [LINK]

    In 1988 Kolbe began long associations with two successful successful dramas, In the Heat of the Night and Star Trek: The Next Generation. But it was the latter that would become his main late-career meal ticket, as “Rick” Kolbe became a franchise favorite who continued on to the Star Trek spinoffs Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and (briefly) Enterprise. Kolbe directed several first-rate Next Generation episodes, including “Darmok” (with Paul Winfield) and the finale, “All Good Things…”, but his chief claim to fame within the Star Trek universe may be his three-year relationship with Kate Mulgrew during the early seasons of Voyager. (Kolbe was married at the time, and the romance made the tabloids.)

    A quick trawl through our own database shows that Kolbe directed some of the best and most important Trek eps: in addition to All Good Things and the Voyager pilot, he directed one of my all time favorite TNG eps, Pen Pals, the incredibly weird Allegiance, the all-time classic Darmok, and two episodes of the awesome second-season opening trilogy of DS9. He also directed the much-hyped “old Klingons” DS9 episode Blood Oath, during which he reportedly had Wagner’s “Die Walküre” blasted over speakers on set during the over-the-top fight sequences. His nickname among cast and crew was “The Baron” because of his thick accent. He even directed a ’70s Battlestar Galactica episode.

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