Henry Darrow Dead at 87

Headshot of actor Henry Darrow

Wikimedia Commons Headshot of actor Henry Darrow

Henry Darrow, known for his roles in The Hitcher, Zorro, and The High Chaparral, has died. He passed away on Sunday, March 14th at his home in Wilmington, North Carolina. Darrow’s former publicist, Michael B. Druxman, confirmed his death in a Facebook post on Monday. He was 87 years old.

Darrow was a prolific television actor with over 145 credits. He started his acting career in the late 1950s and became a well-known actor, especially in the Western genre, in the 1960s. He appeared in several popular television shows including General Hospital, The Outer Limits, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Mod Squad, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Hawaii Five-O, Magnum P.I., T.J Hooker, The Golden Girls, and The Bold and The Beautiful.

Darrow was also a member of the Star Trek family. He appeared in one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and two episodes of Star Trek: Voyager.

A Loss for the ‘Star Trek’ Family

Darrow’s first appearance in the Star Trek universe was in the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the episode “Conspiracy,” he played a Vulcan Admiral named Savar. When the crew of the Enterprise returned to Earth and headed to Starfleet Headquarters to discuss the possibility of a massive conspiracy within the organization, Admiral Savar welcomed Captain Picard home. Picard and Commander Riker soon discovered that Savar was part of the conspiracy because he was being controlled by a parasitic alien.

He next appeared in Star Trek: Voyager as Commander Chakotay’s father, Kolopak. Darrow portrayed Kolopak in a couple of season two episodes, “Tattoo” and “Basics Part I.”

In the episode “Tattoo,” Kolopak appeared in Chakotay’s flashbacks as he investigated strange symbols found on a deserted moon, which reminded him of symbols from the tribe he was raised in. These flashbacks revealed that Chakotay was born into a Native American tribe that lived in the Demilitarized Zone. His father joined the Maquis to defend his people from the Cardassians.

In the episode “Basics Part I,” Kolopak led Chakotay on a vision quest. After finding out the Seska was pregnant with a child she claimed was his, Chakotay sought out his father’s advice. Through the vision quest, Kolopak showed Chakotay the history of their tribe, including their belief that any child born to the tribe, under any circumstances was an honored gift. This helped Chakotay solidify his decision.

Kolopak is likely the role of Darrow’s that stuck in fans’ minds. His portrayal of Chakotay’s wise, traditional Native American father established Chakotay’s roots and fleshed out his backstory, including the reason he joined the Maquis.

A Groundbreaking Career

Henry Darrow | 2012 NLCR ALMA AWARD RICARDO MONTALBAN | Lifetime Achievement AwardJust beautiful!!!!2012-09-25T22:33:07Z

Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s when Darrow started his career, he was one of only a few Hispanic actors on television. When he landed the role of Zorro, Darrow became the first Hispanic actor to play the role. He was widely recognized as TV’s first Latin heartthrob.

Darrow went to acting school in Puerto Rico and moved to Hollywood soon after to start his career. In 1967, he landed the biggest role of his career — Manolito Montoya on The High Chaparral. At the time, there were very few Latino characters on television, and even fewer Latino actors to bring those roles to life. Darrow was one of the first and very few Latino actors to portray a Latino character.

In 2012, the American Latino Media Arts Awards honored Darrow with the Ricardo Montalban Lifetime Achievement Award for his groundbreaking portrayal of Latino characters throughout his career. That same year, Darrow retired from acting.

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