obituary

Actor William Windom dies at 88

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Ah, sad news indeed. To me he will always be "Matt Decker" from the classic Star Trek episode "The Doomsday Machine". It was a bravura performance. One of Starfleet's finest captains ever.

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To me he will always be "Matt Decker" from the classic Star Trek episode "The Doomsday Machine". It was a bravura performance. One of Starfleet's finest captains ever.

So that's who he was... I thought originally he was just another actor I've never heard of. Yes he was great as Matt Decker... his breakdown when he told Kirk about the planet killer was such a strong performance, allowing William Shatner to go into overdrive.

Shame he gave one of his kids a dog's name: Rebel?

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Windom's performance as Matt Decker was so memorable to Star Trek fans that Gene Roddenberry expanded on the storyline and created a "son" character for the first Star Trek movie, "Star Trek: The Motion Picture". Perhaps you remember Will Decker played by Stephen Collins? He was Matt's son.

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Perhaps one the reasons he was so convincing in his role as a military commander was that he was a World War II soldier in real life. This is from the Memory Alpha site:

Windom was born in New York City. He was named after his great-grandfather, who served as the US Secretary of Treasury in 1881 and again from 1889 until his death in 1891. Windom, the future actor, attended several colleges before enlisting in the US Army during World War II. He served from 1943 to 1946, primarily assigned to the European Theater of Operations as a paratrooper with Company B, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. His final rank was Technician Fifth Grade.

At the war's end, Windom had amassed an impressive record and was a qualified parachutist as well as having been awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB), Good Conduct Medal, and the foreign awards of the Order of Wilhelm and the Belgium Croix de Guerre. He was also awarded the campaign ribbons for the European and American Theaters, as well as receiving the Army Occupation Medal for post war service in Germany and the World War II Victory Medal. In the 1980s, Windom also qualified for the Bronze Star Medal, by virtue of his having been awarded the CIB during World War II.

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