Bruce Hyde, an actor and former St. Cloud State professor, died Tuesday after a battle with throat cancer, according to information released by St. Cloud State. He was 74.
Although his acting career included turns on Broadway and TV shows such as “That Girl,” Hyde will forever be remembered and beloved by Trekkies for his role in the original “Star Trek” series.
He spent his last days at Quiet Oaks Hospice House, holding court and teasingly correcting the staffers’ grammar using his white board because he couldn’t talk, said his wife of 20 years, Susan Saetre. She said Hyde’s last year was awesome and included a retirement party he jokingly called “a living wake,” as well as time with loved ones.
“He was able to say what he needed to say,” she said.
Her husband handled his death straightforwardly, as another stage of life, Saetre said. He died at 10:13 on 10/13, she said.
“It was like his final act,” she said. “He did it perfectly.”
As Kevin Riley, Hyde was only in “Star Trek” for two episodes in the series’ first season, but his role — which included a particularly memorable rendition of the song “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen” — earned him recognition for the rest of his life.
“At some point, I thought, ‘Who wants to hear about what I was doing all that time ago?’ ” Hyde said during an interview with the Times last year his office in Riverview on campus. “Then somebody once told me, ‘You know, you should be willing to talk about this with people. It’s interesting, it’s something you did that most people didn’t do.’ And so I decided to lighten up about it.”
He said then that he thought “Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision of peace is the reason the franchise still has so many fans about 50 years later.
Besides “Star Trek,” Hyde’s acting credits include “Canterbury Tales” on Broadway, “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Hair” and more. He earned a master’s degree in communication studies from North Texas State University and a doctorate in rhetoric from the University of Southern California. He joined the faculty at St. Cloud State in 1990, where he taught until his retirement this year. Hyde was born Richard Bruce Hyde to Rufus and Edna Hyde in 1941 in Dallas, according to his obituary. He majored in English at Northwestern University, where he caught the acting bug.
Adam Lesar, who took acting classes from Hyde, called him inspiring and said he urged his students to embrace life’s mysteries and not always worry about the answers. He said Hyde always treated him like an equal.
“He was always in my corner,” he said. Many of Hyde’s former students are planning to gather to share memories of him soon, Lesar said.
Saetre said she’s been hearing plenty of those sorts of stories.
“He was not the kind of guy you’d forget,” she said.
Hyde, who lived near Rice, is survived by Saetre, two stepchildren, Ben (Sabrina) and Tim Saetre, granddaughter Joliva Jacobs, and by his sister, Janie Hyde Miller, and her husband, Riley Miller. Saetre said they are planning a private service.