Last night, news broke about the sudden passing of actor Cliff Simon who played the role of the system lord Ba’al over several seasons on Stargate. It’s no secret that Ba’al was one of my very favorite villains to write, and this was wholly attributable to Cliff’s masterful performance. He imbued the character with confidence and color, a delectably wicked self-assuredness that made me an instant fan following his introductory appearance in SG-1’s fifth season two parter Summit/Last Stand. The episodes were designed to showcase some potential new villains for the series, and Cliff not only seized the opportunity; he devoured it. It was an impressive debut, but it wasn’t until the following year, in season 6’s Abyss, that Cliff truly gave life to the character in a delightfully nefarious guest appearance at turns commanding and comedic. And that’s one of the things I loved about Cliff’s Lord Ba’al. He wasn’t just a formidable opponent. He also had style and, most importantly, a sense of humor – which was very much Cliff himself.
He ended up guesting in fifteen episodes, a few of my personal favorites being Ex Deus Machina (in which the former “god” takes up residence on Earth as a powerful business magnate) and Quest 1 and II (which featured him in fine roguish style, forming an unlikely alliance with the team only to end up getting decked by Samantha Carter).
His final appearance was in Stargate: Continuum, a time-tripping adventure that confirmed yet again his status as one of the Stargate franchise’s greatest villains. I remember running into him in the production offices after wrap where he suggested that maybe, just maybe, the SGC hadn’t been successful in ferreting out all the Ba’al clones and that perhaps one clone had survived to live another day. And I agreed that it was possible, not because I was humoring him, but because I sincerely wanted to write for his character again some day.
I knew Cliff Simon the professional but never really had the opportunity to get to know him personally as, clearly, many of you had over the course of numerous convention meet-ups and fan events. So, in tribute to Cliff, leave a comment to this post. Tell us about an interaction you may have had with him, a happy memory, or let us know your favorite Ba’al episode or moment.
26 thoughts on “March 12, 2021: Remembering Cliff Simon”
Most memorable event, was at a UK Gatecon event, he heard that his father had just passed away and he had decided instead of flying straight back to SA, where he would be alone for hours on the plane, he would rather spend the weekend with his con family and friends. We only found out after he had left…
I’m so heartbroken… I first met Cliff when I was 17, in 2012, I turn 27 this year. He was nothing short of amazing every single time I got to meet him (5 times). In 2018, at my first international convention, Cal Mah, I was waiting for my mom to be done with a photo, next thing I know someone is poking my sides, now I’ve a tendency to elbow people if they do that, thank goodness I didn’t because it was Cliff! The cheeky bugger scared me so much I just swore. In 2019, in Brisbane, on the last day of the con, he tickled me after our photo. But one of my fondest memories is in 2017, when I was getting a photo with both him and Chris Judge, we pretended we hated each other, for some reason, I remember saying in a super serious voice “Ew, it’s Cliff Simon, gross” and the look on Chris’s face was priceless! He was so fun, and so warm and welcoming. My heart goes out to his friends and family ❤️
RIP Cliff Simon. Best Stargate Villain ever.
One of my favorite parts of writing novelizations for episodes as writing exercises is being able to really describe things. One of my favorite character introductions is in Abyss where Jack meets Ba’al and realizes that not all System Lords are the same and some egomaniac tendencies manifest differently. Having such amazing writing, directing and acting makes it easy. Here is how the exchange started in my take on it and I attribute much of it to his superb performance:
He watched as Ba’al smoothly rose and strolled toward the edge of the platform. Unlike most of the snakes Jack had seen, there was something different about this one. He oozed a sort of regal bearing. Even his clothing was more subdued than the System Lords they had faced before. In a way, this made him seem all the more menacing as an opponent.
Cliff was one of the actors I sincerely hoped would make a reappearance as Ba’al in any new SG series that will hopefully come out in the future. Although never having the pleasure of meeting him personally, I sure wish I had. He was a great actor and clearly loved the role of Ba’al, playing it both with a wonderful level of evil and at the same time very human and vulnerable. What a terrible loss.
What an amazing character he made Ba’al! I mean what other villain literally tortures the fan favorite lead, and is still beloved by the Fandom? He will be missed.
Sad. 🙁 I never had a chance to meet Cliff, or even see him in person, but Ba’al was my favorite of the the bad guys.
Lord Ba’al was by far my favorite villain on SG-1. As you said, he had a certain style about him. The Gouald were supposed to be egotistical but Mr. Simon took that to a new level, in a good way. He commanded every scene he was in and even when Ba’al was mentioned (when Mr. Simon wasnt on screen) he stole the scene. It takes a very special and talented actor to do that. Ba’al wasnt a character you loved to hate, he was the character you hated (yourself) to love. I always rooted for him even knowing he was destined to lose.
Mr. Simon you will be missed. You brought life to a character that to this day, 20 plus years on, I still root for. Mrs. Simon, your husband was and is loved by many and is mourned by many. An entire fan base is sending you our love, our support, our shoulders to lean on in these sad times.
I never met him. I only have my memories from seeing his exploits on screen.
He was awesome. He made his character real. Made Goa’ulds real for me.
I will miss him.
I am typing through tears….
While I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Simon, I had so much respect for his vast body of work and extraordinary life. I was very much looking forward to perhaps another season of his paranormal adventure show that was shown last year. He brought his love of adventure, sense of curiosity, and impressive outdoor skills, first honed in the military, to the paranormal field.
As soon as I saw that he had passed, I knew it had to be related to an accident because he was a most incredibly fit and vital man for his age.
My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, family, friends, and all who loved him. Such a tragic loss.
The first time I met Cliff was at a Creation Stargate Con in Chicago, he joined a friend and I who were talking to two other actors. When I turned and spoke to him in Afrikaans I got a huge hug from him and we spoke for a while before he had to leave.
At Cal Mah, he was sitting next to Peter Williams and their photos to choose were next to each other. I chose one of Peter Williams and he almost signed it! He laughed so loudly and said ‘nice one’. Just a lovely man.
Ba’al clones gone corporate baddies on Earth and that fade out shot as all the clones emerge in frame, interacting, each slightly different. He must have enjoyed shooting all those clone vignettes. The wicked glee he brought to the role was the secret sauce
As I recall it, Cliff said he asked the producers if all the clones were going to get a pay check. What a cheeky goof he was.
I never had the pleasure of meeting him, but from hearing about fans interactions with him he sounded like a wonderful man. Always had time for the fandom and played up to the Ba’al persona for us. It was a joy seeing photos/videos of him alongside the other Goa’ulds having mischievous fun at conventions.
My heart goes out to his family and friends.
I met Cliff Simon at a Chevron event, he was a wonderful guest, such an interesting guy. He was definitely the best baddie on Stargate
It’s a sad day. And he was so young!
He definitely played the best Goa’uld. Actually believable and not over the top. Charming and resourceful. I can’t believe he was only in 15 episodes! It feels like he was such a big part of the later seasons.
I never met him but I’m enjoying reading the stories from the people that did.
We’ll miss you Cliff!
He was such a kind man. He knew about Patrick. I had always hoped to meet him at a convention some day. He would always leave me with nuggets of wisdom or a perspective I never considered with his unique take on life. I wish I could tell you exactly which ones but I don’t have that account anymore. I should have snipped them when I had the chance. But I was Facebook friends with him. I just saw the Facebook post on Friday.
When we were doing our Tweetstorms, he never said no. There was one he couldn’t attend because of a previous engagement. I got to chat a bit with him during those (prior to the event).
I had hoped he would make an appearance again in some new version of Stargate.
Sending much love to his friends and family — and to other fans who had gotten the privilege to meet him and know him. I’ll just be grateful for his kindness.
The Loss of a Stargate Legend
When I first met Cliff Simon in 2008, he struck me as the kind of man who would grab life by the fistful. When an opportunity presented itself, he took advantage of it, eagerly following in whatever direction it took him. So, when he agreed to work with me on the creation of two audio C.D.s, I was quite surprised. I was a nobody with a vision. He was interested in my ideas and made himself available whenever I needed him to be there.
Cliff found time to spend with as many of his fans as he could. I would watch him work. He never seemed to get tired, interacting with people from all over the world. There were times when a fan would approach him with apprehension, thinking he was like his Ba’al character. Cliff would be patient with that person and encourage them. Nobody was unhappy when Cliff was in the room.
Cliff loved animals. He usually had a dog as a pet and would often volunteer for rescue organizations that would find homes for the various “Bully Dog Breeds” in the Los Angeles area.
He was also a bit of an adrenaline junky. He loved to test his limits to see how much he could do. It was like he was born in the ocean. Surfing, swimming, boating, were all his passions. A highlight of his life was kite surfing accidentally over a whale. He was just at the right height that he could reach down and slide his hand over the animal’s back as it rose over the surface of the water and then headed back down into the deep.
So, it was a shock to me and many of his friends and fans when we learned that he had been killed in a kite surfing accident at Topanga Beach, California on Tuesday, March 9th.
I spoke to Cliff last on Monday, the 8th. We were working on the early stages of another project. I asked Cliff to create a “shout-out” video for WormholeRiders. He, as always, was happy to comply and let us know what was going on in his life.
Sadly, this is probably the very last recording that Cliff Simon has ever done. Rest in Peace, Cliff. We grieve with Colette and the rest of your family.
My condolences on everyone’s loss of Cliff Simon. I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting him. When I read of the circumstances of his death, I had to admire his Joie de vivre. Mr. Simon lived life to the fullest and that’s a quality I admire. Thank you, to everyone that posted.
Triste nouvelle. Transmettez (si possible) nos condoléances à sa famille.
So sad he was truly amazing on the show and I was hoping he would cameo in the next Stargate series if we ever get one RIP Lord Ba’al
We have lost ” the best Baddie”! I always loved his portrayal of Ba’al! Loved EVERY episode he was in and wanted more… my condolences to his family. Long live Ba’al!!!!!
I had the pleasure of meeting Cliff Simon several times and have fond memories of him. The first time was at Gatecon in 2016 where he (like his Goa’uld colleagues) had great fun at the System Lords photo session. He loved my System Lords t-shirt and pointed his thumbs up to Ba’al’s name for the photo – while Suanne Braun looked peeved because Hathor wasn’t on the shirt. One of my best convention photos ever.
At FedCon 2018 in Germany, Cliff helped me surprise friends who had just got married. They had met 7 years earlier at FedCon because of their shared love for Stargate. I told Cliff about it, and he asked them to come on stage during his panel and congratulated them.
In 2018, he was at all three conventions I went too, so at the third one I jokingly asked him if he was stalking me, and we both laughed heartily.
Last year, Cliff helped out when we didn’t get the Cameo video we ordered from another Stargate actor in time for a friend’s birthday. We sent an urgent request to Cliff and got a birthday message for our friend within a few hours. The friend was over the moon about his kind words.
That’s how I will remember Cliff Simon. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
Wish I had met Cliff Simon. He seemed to be a great man and Ba’al ALWAYS scared me…just shows what a great actor he was. RIP.