Bruce Hyde (1941-2015)

By James H. Burns: Bruce Hyde will always be part of a mystery.

Hyde, who died October 13, was absolutely sensational during the first season of Star Trek, in two major guest starring turns as Lieutenant Kevin Riley in “The Naked Time” and “The Conscience of the King.”

Riley was a young exuberant officer on the U.S.S. Enterprise who was just likable, and every bit believable as a starship lieutenant.

Some months later, when NBC and Roddenberry decided to add a young crewman to the cast, it has always seemed a bit odd that they didn’t simply make Hyde a regular…

(I know that NBC supposedly wanted a “Davey Jones type,” but still…)

Bruce and I were friends for a short while, around 1982. We had met as guests at a Star Trek convention in New Jersey, and he was just as personable in person as he was on screen.  (Hyde used to entertain at cons, at least sometimes, by being a terrific presence behind a piano!)

He also tried something very brave that year.

He wanted to give his acting career one more shot.  He had inherited some money from an aunt, I believe, and was going to hit the boards again in New York. He must have been fortyish, but still looked young. He also figured that enough time had passed that his 1960s work would only be remembered by hardcore Trek fans. (There was one other very significant credit:  Bruce had been in one of the original West Coast casts of Hair, and was fondly remembered by his co-stars in the musical.)

To begin auditioning again, in Manhattan, at forty, took courage.

brucehyde-2004 COMP

Bruce Hyde in 2004.

We fell out of touch, as I had the very stupid habit of doing back then (and sometimes, sadly, now), but Bruce was the most terrific of fellows to go have a drink with, or catch a meal.

He made legions of friends at the conventions he went to.

I was delighted to learn, some years ago, that Hyde had taken yet another dramatic turn with his life, become a college professor, and a family man, as this obituary shows.

Bruce Hyde, former St. Cloud State University professor.

Bruce Hyde, former St. Cloud State University professor.