Sci-fi world loses Star Trek film chief, man behind the Bionic Man

Harve Bennett

Producer and writer Harve Bennett passed away February 25 in Oregon, two days before Leonard Nimoy.  Fans of the Star Trek films credited Bennett with resurrecting not only the franchise with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, but with the idea of resurrecting Ricardo Montalban as the show’s charismatic villain.  Bennett served as an active force behind four Star Trek films, and we actually get to see Bennett in front of the camera as an admiral briefly in a conversation with Captain Kirk in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

Bennett was also responsible for talking Leonard Nimoy into staying with the franchise by agreeing to kill off Spock in Star Trek II.  Bennett was executive producer and co-developed the story for that film, and then went on to write the script for and produce Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.  Along with Nimoy, Bennett came up with the “save the whales” theme of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, serving as producer on the film as well.

Bennett’s voice was used for a flight recorder in Star Trek III, but his most far-reaching contribution was not that voice work, but his seven memorable words at the beginning of each weekly episode of The Six Million Dollar Man before Richard Anderson utters his “we have the technology” lines:

Steve Austin, astronaut, a man barely alive.

The Six Million Dollar Man was one of the most popular shows of the 1970s, watched by millions of viewers each week for its five season run.

Bennett was executive producer of pop culture favorites The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, and he produced the Mod Squad, along with several other series.  He won an Emmy for A Woman Called Golda starring Ingrid Bergman and Leonard Nimoy.

Re-watch the title credits for The Six Million Dollar Man and listen for his lines (and try not to wonder if this sequence was going through Harrison Ford’s mind as he crash-landed his 1942 Ryan ST3KR yesterday in a California golf course).

Bennett was 84 years old.

Editor’s Note:  Literally every news source reported that Bennett died March 4, 2015, when the story was distributed on the wire services.  For some undisclosed reason local outlets did not correct this error until March 6.

C.J. Bunce



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