Merritt Butrick: Wikis


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Merritt Butrick
Born Merritt R. Butrick
September 3, 1959(1959-09-03)
Gainesville, Florida, U.S.
Died March 17, 1989 (aged 29)
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1981–1989

Merritt R. Butrick (September 3, 1959 – March 17, 1989) was an American actor who was known for his role as Captain James T. Kirk's son David Marcus in the movies Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. He also appeared in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Symbiosis". Earlier in his career he starred as "Johnny Slash" Ulasewicz in the sitcom Square Pegs. He also appeared in the 1982 comedy Zapped! and the cult film Fright Night II (1988), and as Barbara Hershey's hillbilly son in the 1987 drama Shy People.


Early life and career

Butrick was born in Gainesville, Florida and was an only child. He graduated from Tamalpais High School, where he was known as Ritchie, in Mill Valley, California, in 1977.[1] He attended the California Institute of the Arts for acting, but was told by his college instructors that he didn't have the skill or talent to make it as an actor, and was later dismissed. Determined to prove them wrong, he shortly thereafter was cast in Square Pegs, which, although it was cancelled after only one season, garnered a large following and reputation, in part due to the fact that Saturday Night Live alumni were involved. On the strength of this, he was called in for his first Star Trek appearance. Director Nicholas Meyer has commented in interviews, saying how he felt Merritt's appearance was plausible casting as he had the blonde look of his screen mother Bibi Besch, combined with his curly hair resembling screen father William Shatner.

Whilst Star Trek is what Butrick will be best remembered for, he had success in episodic work for television and TV movies as well as several more high profile movies appearing in films that also starred Danny DeVito, Robert Mitchum, Alec Baldwin and Judge Reinhold. However, he also received critical acclaim from Time magazine for his final performance in the play Kingfish, in which he played a ditzy, petulant muscle-boy prostitute, which played in LATC in Los Angeles.

Death and legacy

Butrick died of AIDS on March 17, 1989 at the age of 29.[2]

In 2008, Square Pegs was released on DVD, which included a featurette dedicated to Butrick, in which his co-stars, including Jami Gertz and Sarah Jessica Parker, and show creator Anne Beatts paid tributes to and recounted anecdotes about Butrick.

Butrick's Star Trek III: The Search For Spock costar Robin Curtis offered similar praise on the DVD commentary for that film. Director Nicholas Meyer, who had directed Butrick in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, paid tribute to him in a small scene in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, when Captain Kirk puts a photograph of his murdered son on his desk.


Year Film Role Notes
1982 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Dr. David Marcus
Zapped! Gary Cooter
1984 Star Trek III: The Search for Spock Dr. David Marcus
1985 Head Office John Hudson
1986 Wired to Kill Reegus Alternative title: Booby Trap
1987 Shy People Mike
1988 Death Spa David Avery Alternative title: Witch Bitch
Fright Night II Richie
Year Title Role Notes
1981 Hill Street Blues Rapist 2 episodes
Splendor in the Grass Glenn Television movie
CHiPs Kevin Whalen 1 episode
1982-1983 Square Pegs Johnny Slash 20 episodes
1983 When Your Lover Leaves Aaron Scott Television movie
1984 Fame Billy Christiansen 1 episode
Sweet Revenge Captain Paul Dennison Television movie
1985 Promises to Keep Reg Television movie
1986 Blood & Orchids Duane York Television movie
Stagecoach Lieutenant Blanchard Television movie
When the Bough Breaks Tim Kruger Television movie
1987 Vietnam War Story Siska 1 episode
Beauty and the Beast Shake 1 episode
The Law & Harry McGraw 1 episode
1988 Why on Earth? Oscar Television movie
Jake and the Fatman Taylor Fleming 1 episode
Star Trek: The Next Generation T'Jon 1 episode
Hooperman 1 episode
1989 From the Dead of Night Rick Television movie


  1. ^ Tamalpais High School Alumni Directory 2002. Purchase, New York: Bernard C. Harris Publishing Company. 2002.  
  2. ^ Donnelley, Paul (2005-11-01). Fade to Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries (3 ed.). Omnibus Press. pp. 225. ISBN 1-844-49430-6.  

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