Where Are These Star Trek Actresses Now?
Star Trek, brainchild of the late Gene Roddenberry, was and is one of the most culturally influential television properties of all time. It has evolved over the years into a mega-franchise, spanning television, movies, books, comics and many other media. It’s known for its relatively sophisticated treatment of social and political issues, and also for inspiring a level of rabid fandom that is unmatched by any other creative property.
Star Trek has (almost) always had great roles for women. Some of the roles border on sexploitation, but the women are strong, intelligent and of principal importance to the plot. Whatever happened to the actresses who portrayed the female characters we know and love? In this article, we bring you up to (warp) speed on their careers.
Gates McFadden – Beverly Crusher
Gates McFadden played Dr. Beverly Crusher, the chief medical officer aboard the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation and eternally unrequited love interest of Captain Picard. Dr. Crusher is the mother of Wesley Crusher. She was a regular on the show for every season except Season 2, when her character was replaced by Katherine Pulaski as the ship’s doctor.
Gates McFadden – Now
Gates McFadden, post-trek, co-starred with Richard Grieco in the series Marker. She also landed four appearances on Mad About You and a role in the television movie Crowned and Dangerous, playing with Yasmine Bleeth. More recently, in 2006, she acted in a series of Microsoft commercials. In addition to her acting work, McFadden has also taught theater at multiple universities, including Harvard, Purdue and Temple. She was the Artistic Director of the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Los Angeles up to October of 2014, during which time she helmed the construction of the Atwater Village Theatre Collective, a performance space in LA.
Michelle Forbes – Ensign Ro
Ensign Ro Laren was a regular cast member on the fifth, sixth and seventh seasons of Next Gen. Played by Michelle Forbes, Laren is a Bajoran (like Major Kira on DS9) who joins the Enterprise crew despite Picard’s objections due to a prior court martial. Ro was a begrudging crewmember herself, joining only because it was “better than prison.” Her character was written as a replacement for Wesley Crusher. Interestingly, it wasn’t Forbes’s first role on the series. She had previously played Dara in an episode titled “Half a Life.”
Michelle Forbes – Now
Michelle Forbes became a principal cast member on the show Homicide: Life on the Street. She played the role of chief medical examiner Julianna Cox for two seasons, until she was axed when the network tried to give the show a makeover. Homicide would be canceled a season later. Forbes has had numerous other television and film roles, including 24, Alias, Prison Break, True Blood, Boston Legal and Lost. Most recently, she played Valerie Edwards on Berlin Station, an Epix series. Despite her prodigious body of work, she is probably still most recognizable as Ensign Ro, whom Trek fans regard as one of the show’s strongest female characters.
Whoopi Goldberg – Guinan
Whoopi Goldberg played an alien barkeep named Guinan on Next Gen. Guinan is an El-Aurian, the “listener” race who were nearly wiped out by the Borg. The character appears in the second through sixth seasons. Guinan is many hundreds of years old, and full of aphorisms. Guinan is a source of comfort and counsel for many of the other crewmembers.
Whoopi Goldberg – Now
Whoopi Goldberg did Trek relatively early in her acting career. After her debut as Guinan, she appeared in a slew of movies. She went on to become the first African-American woman to ever host the Oscars, in 1994. She had a number of hit movies, Sister Act foremost among them. Modern audiences probably best recognize her as one of the hosts of The View.
Nana Visitor – Kira Nerys
Kira Nerys, a colonel in the Bajoran Militia, served as the Bajoran liaison officer on Deep Space 9. Nerys, who was instrumental in the Bajoran resistance to Cardassian occupation, was Sisko’s second in command. Nana Visitor played Kira from 1993 to 1999.
Nana Visitor – Now
After DS9 wrapped, Visitor joined the series Dark Angel as Dr. Elizabeth Renfro. She also played Roxie Hart in live versions of Chicago. She has had many other roles, including voice roles on Family Guy, a cameo as Pamela Voorhees in the 2009 reboot of Friday the 13th and Dr. Patty Parker in an episode of Castle.
Nichelle Nichols – Uhura
Uhura is one of the most iconic Star Trek characters in the entire franchise, spanning all of its iterations. She was one of the first prominent African American female characters to appear on television. When Nichelle Nichols considered walking away from the show, Martin Luther King, Jr. himself entreated her to stay. The character also directly inspired Whoopi Goldberg to take up acting.
Nichelle Nichols – Now
After Trek was canceled, Nichols volunteered to be a spokesperson for NASA, to help find new female and minority recruits for the program. Dr. Sally Ride, the first female astronaut, was one of those recruits. As was Colonel Guion Bluford, the first African-American astronaut. Nichols has also remained on the board of governors of the National Space Society since the eighties.
Denise Crosby – Tasha Yar
Tasha Yar was a character that only appeared in the (often maligned) first season of Next Gen. Yar was played by Denise Crosby, and she is still most closely associated with the role. She was replaced as security officer by Commander Worf. Yar’s character was originally inspired by Vasquez, the tough-as-nails space marine from Aliens.
Denise Crosby – Now
After playing Yar, Denise Crosby is probably best known for being one of the focal points of the 1997 documentary Trekkies, which investigates especially zealous Star Trek fans. More recently, Crosby played a role on The Walking Dead. She also had a role on the show Bones.
Celeste Yarnall – Yeoman Martha Landon
Yeoman Martha Landon was a redshirt on the original Enterprise, and was Chekov’s love interest. His overtures towards her enraged a band of aliens during a survey of Gamma Trianguli VI, due to a ban on intimacy. She is one of the few redshirts to ever survive an away expedition, and was the only one to survive the Gamma survey.
Celeste Yarnall – Now
Landon was played by the actress Celeste Yarnall. Yarnall has had a consistent career a a character actor since her Trek days. She is, in fact, still acting. Yarnall is currently working on a fan movie called Star Trek Equinox: The Night of Time. She married Nazim Artist in 2010.
Kirstie Alley – Lieutenant Saavik
Kirstie Alley got her first big break as Lt. Saavik, the half-Vulcan, half-Romulan, in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Saavik served aboard both the USS Enterprise and the USS Grissom. She was also played by Robin Curtis.
Kirstie Alley – Now
Wrath of Khan was Alley’s first big break. She rode the wave of the film’s success to her recurring role on Cheers, as well as many subsequent film and television roles. Her career got a second wind in the aughts, when she became a prominent figure in reality TV.In 2016, she joined the horror-comedy show Scream Queens.
Jeri Ryan – Seven of Nine
Seven of Nine, played by Jeri Ryan, was a human woman who was assimilated by the Borg as a child, and later freed by the crew of the Voyager. She subsequently became a crew member. Ryan was nominated for a Saturn Award four times and won once.
Jeri Ryan – Now
When Ryan joined the cast of Voyager, ratings jumped by 60%. After Voyager, she was cast in Boston Public, in a role written specifically for her. She also appeared on The O.C, Boston Legal, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Leverage, Body of Proof, Helix and Warehouse 13.
Kate Mulgrew – Captain Janeway
Kate Mulgrew played Vice Admiral Kathryn Janeway, the captain of the Voyager. She is the only female captain to serve as a protagonist in a Star Trek series. Janeway was originally named Elizabeth, after the author Elizabeth Janeway. The actress Genevieve Bujold was also first cast to play her, but she quickly bailed after realizing how extensive the workload was.
Kate Mulgrew – Now
After Voyager ended, Kate Mulgrew starred in a one-woman play in 2003, titled Tea at Five. She won two awards for it. Mulgrew went on to get a number of voice acting gigs in video games. She played Flemeth in the Dragon Age games, which she described as “delicious.” Most recently, she played Galina “Red” Reznikov in Orange Is the New Black.
Terry Farrell – Jadzia Dax
Jadzia Dax was the science officer on DS9. She was a joined Trill, meaning she lived with a symbiont named Dax inside her body, while the two entities shared the same mind. The Dax symbiont was friends with Sisko while living in a different host. Jadzia Dax eventually marries Worf.
Terry Farrell – Now
Farrell decided to leave the show in season 6, which led to (spoilers) her character being killed off in the show. The Dax symbiont reappeared in a new host, Ezri Dax. After DS9, Farrell was on the show Becker for four years before being replaced by Nancy Travis. She went on to voice act in Tripping the Rift.
Rosalind Chao – Keiko O’Brien
Keiko O’Brien was a botanist, and the wife of Miles O’Brien, the chief engineer aboard DS9. She played a major role in the show, getting a significant amount of screen time. She and O’Brien married aboard the Enterprise-D and lived together on DS9.
Rosalind Chao – Now
Rosalind Chao, after playing Keiko O’Brien on both DS9 and Next Gen, got steady acting gigs in television and film. Most recently, she appeared in the show The OA and the movie Tragedy Girls. It was revealed in 2010 that she was considered for the role of Tasha Yar in 1987.
Chase Masterson – Leeta
Chase Masterson played Leeta, a Bajoran woman who served as the head Dabo girl in Quark’s bar on DS9. Leeta was voted one of the “Ten Sexiest Aliens on TV.” She eventually married Rom, who would go on to become the Grand Nagus.
Chase Masterson – Now
After DS9, Masterson got a role in the James Kerwin film Yesterday Was a Lie. She also voiced Janice Em in Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles. Masterson also had roles on ER and Sliders, in which she played Wade Welles’s sister Kelly Welles. She also reprised her role as Leeta on Star Trek Online.
Barbara Bouchet – Kelinda
Barbara Bouchet played the beautiful Kelinda in the ‘By Any Other Name’ episode of the Original Series in 1968. Kelinda was a Kelvan of the Andromeda Galaxy’s Kelvan Empire. Kelinda and three other Kelvans escaped the Kelvan fleet and landed on an unnamed Class M planet, where the crew of the Enterprise found them.
Barbara Bouchet – Now
Bouchet currently lives and works in Italy. She has a deep resume, having appeared in more than eighty movies and TV episodes. Bouchet also founded a production company that makes fitness videos and books. Bouchet also owns and operates her own gym.
Marina Sirtis – Counsellor Troi
Marina Sirtis played Counselor Deanna Troi, probably the single most crush-inducing female character in the history of Star Trek. Troi is one of the principal characters on Next Gen. She’s a half-human, half-Betazoid empath. She eventually marries Riker.
Marina Sirtis – Now
Outside of Star Trek, Sirtis has had a diverse acting career in movies and TV. Most recently, she co-starred in Finders Keepers, the SyFy original horror movie. She also recently appeared in the movie A Dark Reflection and the Hallmark movie My Summer Prince.
Nicole de Boer – Ezri Dax
Ezri Dax is a counselor aboard DS9. She is a Trill, and takes over as the Dax host from Jadzia. The producers were very insistent on a Jadzia replacement being put on the cast, in order to avoid Kira being the only female cast member. De Boer was originally not considered for the role until co-producer Hans Beimler encouraged her to submit an audition tape.
Nicole de Boer – Now
De Boer, in addition to DS9, was also a recurring character on The Kids in the Hall, also appearing in their 1996 movie Brain Candy. De Boer was the star of the 1997 SyFy movie Deepwater Black, and then appeared in the cult movie Cube in 1997. She also played Dr. Alison Porter in Stargate Atlantis.
Roxann Dawson – B’Elanna Torres
B’Elanna Torres is a half-human, half-Klingon main character on Voyager. Torres was admitted to Starfleet Academy but left prematurely. She then joined the Maquis, and was abducted to the Delta Quadrant and used for medical experiments.
Roxann Dawson – Now
Roxann Dawson directed two episodes of Voyager and ten episodes of Enterprise. She also voiced teh Repair Station Computer in an Enterprise episode. In addition to her work on Star Trek, she has also acted in Nightingales, Baywatch, The Closer, Matlock, Jake and the Fatman, The Untouchables, Any Day Now, Seven Days and many others.
Jennifer Lien – Kes
Jennifer Lien played Kes, a character on Star Trek: Voyager. Kes was one of the principal cast for seasons one, two and three, before leaving the show in a season 4 episode titled ‘The Gift.” She later made a cameo on season 6, in the episode “Fury.”
Jennifer Lien – Now
Lien’s contract was axed after season 3 so that they could cast Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine without extending the budget. She later appeared in the movie American History X, as well as SLC Punk!. She also voice acted in Men In Black: The Animated Series. Lien has had multiple conflicts with the law. She’s been charged with domestic violence, indecent exposure and other infractions. She is currently in mental health treatment.
Jolene Blalock – T’Pol
T’Pol was the first Vulcan to ever serve aboard a Human starship. She was a crew member of the Enterprise NX-01. Originally serving as a subcommander for the Vulcan High Command, T’Pol was stationed as an observer on the Enterprise. She was requested to remain aboard the ship when it proved spaceworthy.
Jolene Blalock – Now
Blalock guest-starred in a couple episodes of Stargate SG-1. She was also in Starship Troopers 3: Marauder and an episode of House. Blalock also appeared in an episode of the second season of Legend of the Seeker, and had a supporting role in Sinners and Saints.
Linda Park – Hoshi Sato
Hoshi Sato was a famous Starfleet officer who served aboard the Enterprise NX-01 as communications and protocol officer. She was also brilliant, and responsible for developing the universal translator that would be so critically important to Starfleet for centuries to come.
Linda Park – Now
Sato produced and starred in a short film titled ‘My Prince, My Angel’ in 2003. She was also the starred of the play Fuchsia, and played Clytemnestra in a stage version of Agamemnon. Sato went on to play Anne Denver in a stage production of All My Sons. Sato is also the co-founder of Underground Asylum, a theater company.