(written from a Production point of view)
|Birth name:||Bruce E. Watson|
|Date of birth:||27 July 1940|
|Place of birth:||North Bend, Oregon, USA|
|Date of death:||11 June 2009|
|Place of death:||Manzano Mountains, New Mexico, USA|
Bruce Watson (27 July 1940 – 11 June 2009; age 68) was the American actor who played Crewman Green in "The Man Trap", the first episode of Star Trek: The Original Series to air on television. The majority of Watson's acting roles were "expendables" – characters who were killed off within an episode.
Watson made his television debut in 1961 with an appearance on the sitcom My Three Sons. This was followed in 1962 with an episode of the adventure series Route 66 for which he was directed by "The Galileo Seven" director Robert Gist. Gist later directed Watson and "Mudd's Women" actress Karen Steele in the first of a two-part episode of The Long, Hot Summer. The second part, directed by Mark Rydell, also featured Watson and Steele, as well as Alfred Ryder and James B. Sikking.
In 1963, Watson appeared on the war drama Combat! with K.L. Smith. In 1966, he worked with fellow TOS guest actors Charles Maxwell and William O'Connell on an episode of the western comedy Pistols 'n' Petticoats. In 1968, Watson guest-starred on the long-running western Gunsmoke in an episode with William Bramley, John Crawford, and Sandra Smith, all of whom, like Watson, appeared on TOS.
In January 1969, Watson was seen in Dragnet 1966, the pilot to the Dragnet 1967 series that was already airing (and on which Watson appeared in 1967). TOS guest performers Vic Perrin and Elizabeth Rogers also had roles in the pilot. Later in 1969, Watson guest-starred on the western series Bonanza, which had him working with Bart La Rue.
In addition to the above, Watson made two separate guest appearances on at least three programs: Adam-12 (one episode with Joan Swift, another with William Boyett and Walker Edmiston), The Mod Squad (with series regulars Tige Andrews and Clarence Williams III and fellow guest stars Lou Antonio, Rex Holman, Paul Sorensen, and Garry Walberg), and Mission: Impossible (one episode with Anthony Zerbe, the other with the aforementioned William Boyett). Watson has also appeared on Mannix in 1972 (with John McLiam) and Charlie's Angels in 1981(directed by Kim Manners). The latter was his last television appearance.
Watson also has a number of films to his credit. His first was the 1966 drama This Property Is Condemned, which was produced and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Watson then appeared in the 1971 war drama Johnny Got His Gun, which also featured Robert Easton, Byron Morrow, and David Soul. Watson had two films open in 1975: the blaxploitation feature Bucktown, which starred Thalmus Rasulala and Fred Williamson, and the independent thriller The Swinging Barmaids, in which Watson played the lead role. In 1977, Watson appeared in the made-for-TV movie Billy: Portrait of a Street Kid, in which Star Trek: The Next Generation's LeVar Burton played the lead role.
In addition, Watson did some voice-over work for children's shows. He voiced D'Artagnan in the animated Three Musketeers segments on The Banana Splits Adventure Hour during its first season (1968-69). He then also provided the voice for Phineas Fogg, Jr. on the Hanna-Barbera cartoon Cattanooga Cats (1969-71). When his acting career faltered, Watson continued doing voice-work, becoming a professional reader for audiobooks.
Watson struggled with bipolar disorder throughout his life, a condition which degenerated in his final years.  On 11 June 2009, at the age of 68, Watson committed suicide in his unfinished home on the foothills of the Manzano Mountains in New Mexico, just south of Albuquerque. He died exactly ten years after his Star Trek co-star, DeForest Kelley. On his blog, Watson's nephew, Randy, described his suicide as "an impulsive act in a fit of pain and rage." In describing his uncle's talents, Randy said the following:
- "Acting was Bruce's soul. That is what he was. He could have been a success in any thing he wanted to. Even acting, in some other venue. In Hollywood, Bruce was expendable. Bruce's dream was expendable. It's the kind of dream you pull up when the plot line requires a dreamer and a tragedy."