Sharon Acker, the Canadian actress, who has died aged 87, is best known to sci-fi fans as Odona in the 1969 Star Trek episode “The Mark of Gideon” and as the courageous Anne in Galactica 1980, a reboot of the popular 1970s series, Battlestar Galactica. Away from sci-fi she played Lee Marvin’s ill-fated wife in John Boorman’s hardboiled and highly regarded crime thriller Point Blank.
Sharon Eileen Acker was born in Toronto on April 2 1935, and was adopted when she was nine. She graduated from a four-year commercial art course at Northern Collegiate Vocational School in the city in 1953.
She made her acting debut around the same time with minor television roles, most notably in Anne of Green Gables (1956). She then joined the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, securing a small part in Henry V with a pre-Captain Kirk William Shatner in the title role.
When the Festival travelled to England, Sharon Acker elected to stay. “I had to give it a shot,” she said in 2005. She was rewarded with the part of Christine Callaghan, principal love interest of the hero Jim Dixon (Ian Carmichael) in the 1957 adaptation of Kingsley Amis’s novel Lucky Jim, produced by the Boulting brothers John and Roy and co-starring Terry-Thomas. She was, wrote the Telegraph reviewer “R. P. M. G.”, “a very stunning newcomer”.
But despite favourable column inches, she secretly married her Canadian sweetheart Ronald MacDonald and returned to Canada – angering the Boultings, who had offered her a seven-year contract. “It is a great pity Miss Acker has chosen marriage and babies,” Roy Boulting told reporters, “as she is the most promising, the most talented young actress we’ve found in quite a while.”
Back home in Canada, she played Lady Macduff in a five-part CBC production of Macbeth (1961), featuring Sean Connery, who was shortly to become the biggest film star in the world as James Bond. “He was dreamy but something of a meanie,” she recalled. “Let’s say Sean wasn’t one to offer to buy lunch.”
Besides her acting, Sharon Acker did some lucrative modelling work, and by 1967 she had found her way to Hollywood, where she was signed by John Boorman for Point Blank, playing the unfaithful wife of Lee Marvin’s gangster, Walker.
Two years later she was Odona in Star Trek, playing an inhabitant of a severely overpopulated planet planning to introduce a virus to bring down the numbers; naturally, as the episode’s leading lady, she shared a passionate clinch with William Shatner as Captain Kirk.
The same year she played a divorcee having an affair with a married man (Arthur Hill) in Don’t Let the Angels Fall, the first Canadian feature-length film to play in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, despite mixed reviews and mediocre box office back home.
For the next two decades Sharon Acker’s career consisted largely of one-off appearances in such programmes as Alias Smith and Jones, Mission: Impossible, McMillan and Wife, The Streets of San Francisco, The Rockford Files and Murder, She Wrote, and she was in several episodes each of the soaps Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless.
In 1973 she was in all 15 episodes of The New Perry Mason as the titular defence lawyer’s secretary Della Street (played in the original series by Barbara Hale). It was cancelled mid-series after failing to overtake NBC’s The Wonderful World of Disney and ABC’s The FBI in the Sunday-night ratings.
She retired in 1994 to concentrate on her art, particularly sculpture. She settled back home in Ontario with her second husband, the actor and producer Peter J Elkington. He died in 2001, and she is survived by two daughters, including the casting director Kim Everest.
Sharon Acker, born April 2 1935, died March 16 2023