Since its arrival in 1966, Star Trek has amassed an incredible following of loyal and dedicated fans. With more than 50 years worth of episodes (and still counting), movies, books, games, comics, spin-offs galore and countless references in movies and pop culture over the last half a century, Star Trek truly has been one of the most influential creations of our time. The spread of its influence is so vast, even non-fans, who’ve never seen an episode, tend to know Star Trek facts without ever having intended to. A big part of its longevity comes down to the fact that the Star Trek universe is ever-evolving.
As our world changes, so does theirs, and always in just the right way to draw in a new generation of fans. With yet another film adaptation currently underway, now is the perfect time to take a peek into the history of the Star Trek universe. Join us as we delve into the depths of Star Trek history, unearthing all of your favorite characters and revealing what’s become of the actors who played them. You will, of course, be reunited with all your favorites, along with a few actors who were unknown when they first appeared on the show but who made it big after their time on the starship USS Enterprise. Get set for some surprises!
B’Elanna Torres – Roxann Dawson
Kicking off this list is our favorite part-human, part-Klingon engineer, B’Elanna Torres. Played by Roxann Dawson, Torres graced our screens in the full, seven-season suite of Star Trek: Voyager. The talented Dawson also made her directorial debut during this time. With such a brilliant platform, Dawson enjoyed a solid television career, staring in a number of other shows while simultaneously making a big impression as a talented director.
The multi-talented woman directed some of our favorite episodes of Charmed, The Mentalist, The O.C., Cold Case, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Lost. Lately, she’s turned her talents to producing with credits on a number of successful shows, including Cold Case, Crossing Jordan, and Scandal.
Dr. Beverly Crusher – Gates McFadden
While Gates McFadden has an impressive number of credits to her name, she is best known, and most loved, for her portrayal of Dr. Beverly Crusher in the Star Trek series and four of its films. When her time in the Star Trek universe was up, McFadden never wanted for acting work, taking roles in a number of films and TV shows.
What you might find more surprising is, she also turned her skills to teaching. McFadden has graced the halls of a number of prestigious academies and universities, including Harvard, Purdue and the University of Pittsburgh, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and Hamburg’s Stella Academy. She is one talented lady!
Captain James T. Kirk – William Shatner
We’re sure you’ve been wondering when this familiar face would show up! Neither Captain Kirk nor the actor who played him, William Shatner, require any introduction in a Star Trek article. However, we will take a moment to say that, with nearly seven decades of acting under his belt (he got his start way back in 1951), William Shatner is nothing short of a cultural icon. And a big part of that is due to his brilliant portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk.
Kirk was central to the happenings of the starship USS Enterprise, making Shatner eternally central to the Star Trek franchise, even when he was physically absent. Since leaving the show, Shatner has gone on to act in films and TV shows like Boston Legal and The Practice. He is also a successful director, producer and author.
Ensign Clancy – Anne Ramsay
While she only appeared in two episodes of Star Trek (“The Emissary” and “Elementary, Dear Data”), these were enough to help launch a successful career in film and television for Anne Ramsay. She’s one of those actresses who you instantly know when you look at her but, when asked, it’s hard to put your finger on just where you’ve seen her. Well, for starters, she played Ensign Clancy in those two Star Trek episodes we just mentioned.
After her short dalliance in the Star Trek universe, Ramsay went on to take roles in such popular television shows as Mad About You, Dexter, Castle and many more. She’s also appeared in a number of Hollywood films, including A League of Their Own, Planet of the Apes and Human Contact.
Ensign Ro Laren – Michelle Forbes
With a run that far outstripped Ramsay’s, Michelle Forbes enjoyed a solid three seasons of Star Trek goodness, playing Ensign Ro Laren. According to fan forums, wikis and a number of polls, Ro Laren is up there in popularity. In fact, more than one poll has placed her as being the second strongest female character in the eyes of fans.
When her time with Star Trek was up, this popular lady continued to impress her fans, taking roles in some of television's most popular series, including The Killing, 24, and True Blood. She also recently scored a role in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.
Captain Jean Luc Picard – Sir Patrick Stewart
Here’s another face we know you’ve been waiting for. Patrick Stewart’s glistening dome is practically synonymous with Star Trek: The Next Generation. While he is perhaps best known around the world for his portrayal of Captain Jean Luc Picard, anyone from England will tell you this accomplished actor’s career is filled with so much more. Stewart has been appearing on stage, in films and on television for nearly six decades now. Originally hailing from the UK, Stewart spent the 80s working in the American film and television industry.
While his portrayal of Captain Picard made him a cultural icon, much like his colleague William Shatner, Stewart had an equally monumental role waiting for him after his Star Trek days faded. For some, the X-Men franchise is as big of a deal as Star Trek, and no one could’ve played Professor Charles Xavier like Patrick Stewart. Though we can’t say for sure if she’s a Star Trek or an X-Men fan, we can tell you Queen Elizabeth II knighted Patrick Stewart in 2010 for his massive contribution to the dramatic arts.
Captain Jonathan Archer – Scott Bakula
Scott Bakula is a veteran of science fiction, with starring roles in two of the most critically acclaimed series to hit our televisions. You may recognize him as Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap, a role for which he received a Golden Globe award and four Emmy nominations. As much as we loved him in Quantum Leap, this role is not the reason he’s made it onto our list.
Star Trek fans will be more fond of Bakula for his portrayal of Captain Jonathan Archer in the Star Trek: Enterprise series. Since his role in the iconic sci-fi series came to an end, Bakula has enjoyed roles in a wide variety of TV shows and Hollywood films. If you want to catch him in his latest role, be sure to tune in to NCIS: New Orleans.
Commander Chakotay – Robert Beltran
Robert Beltran certainly did a sterling job, filling the boots of Commander Chakotay, the starship Voyager’s first officer. He was so loved in this role, in fact, that he was twice nominated for an ALMA award and was successful in taking out the award for “Outstanding Actor in a Television Series” from Golden Eagle.
What you may not know about Beltran is that he is a bit of a theater addict. The talented actor has appeared in almost as many stage productions as he has films. Since Star Trek, he’s enjoyed roles in film, television and theater and, with his talent and unique features, is unlikely to ever be out of work.
Nog - Aron Eisenberg
Aron Eisenberg was an American actor that played the beloved character of Nog in all seven seasons of the spinoff series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Even though he was most famously known for his Star Trek role, Eisenberg appeared on several movies and TV shows, including The Wonder Years, Tales From the Crypt, General Hospital, and more.
Only to the knowledge of his biggest fans, Eisenberg was also a professional photographer and opened his own gallery around 2012. Sadly, the beloved Eisenberg passed away from what is thought to have been kidney failure, on September 21, 2019, at 50 years old.
Emergency Medical Hologram – Robert Picardo
Here’s something you probably don’t know about your favorite Emergency Medical Hologram. The actor who played the role, Robert Picardo, was all set to become a real-life doctor before he took a complete 180 and went into acting instead. After graduating from William Penn Charter School, Picardo launched into Yale, ready to take on life as a pre-med student. But the drama department was calling to him and, unable to resist, Picardo changed his course, eventually graduating from Yale with a drama degree rather than a medical one!
Given his history, it’s such a beautiful turn of events that Picardo went on to take the Emergency Medical Hologram (EMH) role on Star Trek. More commonly referred to as “The Doctor,” Picardo’s EMH character popped up in the Star Trek: Voyager films. Since then, he’s enjoyed a fruitful acting career with roles in film and television, and on Broadway.
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge – LeVar Burton
Do you remember Reading Rainbow? If you were the right age to be entranced by this brilliant children’s show, then you’ll certainly recognize its host (and executive producer, just by the way), LeVar Burton. This wonderful entertainer also had one of our favorite roles in the Star Trek franchise: Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge. While La Forge was blind, he was able to have his own unique form of sight through the use of his boss looking VISOR.
While his eyes were always concealed behind the blingin’ prosthetic device, Burton is still mega recognizable. Since his time on Star Trek, Burton has both acted in and directed numerous episodes in a variety of television series. He’s also had a shot at directing a few films. Kind-hearted and socially-minded, Burton is also an active member on the AIDS Research Alliance board of directors.
Guinan – Whoopi Goldberg
With that big smile and iconic set of dreads, Whoopi Goldberg is one of the most recognizable faces to grace our screens. Did you know she had a stint on Star Trek? This is a bit of trivia that sets the die-hard Trekkies apart from the casual fans. Goldberg’s role was an interesting one. She played Guinan, from the El-Aurian race, who spend their time listening to the universe. Guinan’s home planet was decimated by the Borg (a cyborg species who like to destroy things), turning her into a refugee.
After a long life in the Star Trek universe, Goldberg’s career took off and, along with being a household name, she is now the proud owner of Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony awards. Goldberg blazoned her name in the history books with her Oscar win, as it was only the second one ever to go to an African American. Lately, Goldberg has chilled out on the acting, instead happily settling into a co-hosting spot on The View.
Captain Hikaru Sulu – George Takei
Ah, the inimitable George Takei. Back in 1965, Star Trek producer, Gene Roddenberry, made one of the best decisions of his life: casting George Takei in the role of Lt. Sulu. Takei was cast to appear in the second Star Trek pilot and, with its success, went on to star in the resultant Star Trek series. Takei’s role was intended to get bigger quicker than it did. However, the actor’s attention was being taken up by another role. He was still performing in The Green Berets as Captain Nim.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about George Takei is what he did after leaving Star Trek Along with a string of film and television roles, Takei completely mastered social media, his hilarious posts making him even more of an icon than his Star Trek days did. Takei now uses this platform to promote LGBT rights, along with a number of other causes he holds close to his heart. Takei is no “clicktivist,” he is the real deal and has won awards for his work on US–Japan relations in particular, and human rights in general.
Hoshi Sato – Linda Park
Korean-American actress, Linda Park, had just graduated from Boston University when she got her first big break: the role of Hoshi Sato in Star Trek. With only a minor role in Jurassic Park under her belt, this regular role was a big step up for her and Park was determined to shine. Her character, Hoshi Sato, was the communications officer and had a natural knack for understanding and translating all the alien languages the crew encountered.
When her time with Star Trek came to an end, Park was able to use it as a platform from which to land plenty of ongoing television work. You may recognize her as a regular on the show, Crash. In tandem with her acting career, Park co-founded Underground Asylum, an LA-based theater company (though it has since gone defunct).
Jadzia Dax – Terry Farrell
Jadzia Dax has got to be one of the coolest character creations of the Star Trek franchise. The beautiful science officer is a union of two separate consciousnesses. Her outer form is the host, a young female of the Trill species. Melded to her is a wise and ancient symbiont. The two are harmoniously merged with a personality reflective of each of their existences and access to the knowledge of both.
When it was time for Farrell to leave the show, at the close of season six, the writers came up with a brilliant way to execute it. The host was killed off, leaving Farrell free to go, while the symbiont was saved and transferred into a new host. This maneuver allowed actress, Nicole DeBoer, to seamlessly take over as host while Terry Farrell retired from the spotlight to dedicate more time to her family.
Janice Rand – Grace Lee Whitney
A picture of 60s style, Grace Lee Whitney played elegant yeoman to Captain James T. Kirk, Janice Rand. Janice can be seen in eight episodes of the first season but Whitney’s initial contract didn’t extend beyond this, so that was that. For a while anyway. Fans weren’t happy with her departure and they weren’t shy about begging for her return at conventions. As the years went by, the requests kept coming until the producers finally made a decision.
Whitney was brought back on board and fans got to enjoy seeing Janice back in action. She continued to pop up at diverse times throughout the series and appeared in Star Trek movies also. Along with her much-loved Star Trek role, Grace Lee Whitney enjoyed literally hundreds of television show appearances throughout her career. She was a talented singer and musician and penned an autobiography before she passed away in 2015.
Jannar – Rick Worthy
Rick Worthy is a fascinating guy; one of those actors who you rarely recognise despite having seen him in countless roles. Why? Well, Worthy is inextricably drawn to characters that require a complete overhaul of the appearance and submersion of the actor within the role. His Star Trek character, Jannar, is a perfect example of this. Worthy immersed himself in the role for ten episodes and, with his costume and makeup so completely altering his appearance, was also able to take on other characters in later seasons.
While it’s tempting to think that Worthy’s combination of talent and dedication to his immersive roles would lead to a lucrative career, it turns out the reality was far from it. Worthy wasn’t able to build the recognition-factor that’s so helpful in casting calls and auditions. He shared his backstory in That Guy… Who Was in That Thing, a fascinating documentary released back in 2012. While he currently has a cushy role on The Magicians, Worthy admitted his dedication to character acting nearly left him broke and homeless!
Kira Nerys – Nana Visitor
Fans who tuned in for the Star Trek adventures of the 90s will surely recognise Nana Visitor, aka Kira Nerys. This character was most definitely a product of her generation. Appearing in the show from 1993 to 1999, Kira Nerys was a freedom fighter turned terrorist who fought to free her homeworld, the planet Bajor, from the Cardassians. Not to be confused with the Kardashians our world is overrun by today, the Cardassians were an alien race who had taken over the crucial planet.
For her brilliant work in this role, Nana Visitor was deemed “Best Actress in a Syndicated Series” at the OFTA Television Awards. Since taking her leave of the Star Trek universe, Visitor has enjoyed regular work in film and television.
Lieutenant Uhura – Nichelle Nichols
Nichelle Nichols made a bold move with her role in Star Trek. Hers was one of the first female African American characters to appear on American TV in a role other than that of a servant. While this kind of situation seems unthinkable now, it’s an unfortunate reality that lurks in our past. And it’s thanks to the work of actresses like Nichelle Nichols that we can now start to view such prejudice as a relic of history; one that it’s important to acknowledge but equally important to leave behind. What Nichelle achieved in Star Trek was so groundbreaking that, when she decided to leave the show, Martin Luther King, Jr. approached her personally and asked her to consider staying on.
While Nichols did eventually move on from the show, she didn’t let Martin Luther King Jr. down. With the civil rights movement still at the forefront of her mind, Nichelle commenced work with NASA, taking part in a recruitment program designed to encourage both minority and female personnel to become part of the space program. When she’s not hard at work being a complete legend, Nichelle pursues her passion for music and has released two studio albums.
Lieutenant Worf – Michael Dorn
Here’s an epic bit of Trekkie trivia for you: First appearing in the pilot episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and enjoying a career that carried all the way through to Star Trek: Nemesis, Michael Dorn gets to boast the most appearances of any actor in the whole franchise. What an honor! Dorn’s Star Trek career adds up to an incredible 272 episodes and five films.
After such a monumental run with the show, Dorn was left with a pretty impressive CV, which has helped him secure many a supporting role. He is, however, picky with his roles, preferring independent films. He also has the most bad-ass side hustle ever: Dorn is a highly skilled pilot and owns and operates his own Lockheed T-33 trainer jet. We’re sure you’re not at all surprised to learn that his nickname for the plane is “starship.”
Lt. Commander Data – Brent Spiner
Here’s another of the most iconic faces of Star Trek. With a run on the show that spanned 15 years, Lt. Commander Data made a deep impression on Trekkies the world over. From 1987 on, actor Brent Spiner breathed life into Data over the course of seven seasons and four of the feature films.
Data was central to the action in this time, appearing in all but one of the 178 episodes that filled this time span (for the curious among you, the single episode he failed to make an appearance in was “Family”). Since leaving the show, Brent Spiner has turned his talents not just to roles in other TV shows, but also to theater and music.
Lt. Tasha Yar – Denise Crosby
Like Rick Worthy, Denise Crosby played more than one role during her time with Star Trek. The role you most likely recognise her for is that of Lt. Tasha Yar in Star Trek: The Next Generation, season one. However, Crosby popped up again in later seasons, this time playing, funnily enough, her former character’s daughter, Commander Sela.
After finally saying goodbye to Star Trek, Crosby enjoyed a prolific career in film and television with so many appearances it’s difficult to count She’s popped up in everything from The Drew Carey Show to Mad Men and even produced and starred in the 1997 documentary, Trekkies.
Miles O’Brien – Colm Meaney
Meaney’s Star Trek appearance was a brief yet pivotal one. He appeared in the 1987 pilot for Star Trek: The Next Generation. The episode was titled, “Encounter at Farpoint,” and Meaney’s character had the dashing title of “unnamed helm officer.” While it was a humble kicking off point, Meaney’s character was given more and more play until he finally won the right to have a real name: Miles O’Brien.
Meaney enjoyed a long run as the transporter chief, sticking it out until 1993, when he jumped ship from The Next Generation to take on a more prominent role in the spin-off series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Meaney stayed loyal to his new show until the last ever episode aired in 1999. By then, his face had become so familiar he had no trouble landing major roles in film and television.
Naomi Widman – Scarlett Pomers
While she may have been one of the youngest cast members to grace the Star Trek decks, Scarlett Pomers was already a surprisingly accomplished performer before she appeared in the show. Along with a number of TV roles, she had appeared in the music video for Michael Jackson’s 1991 hit, “Heal the World.”
Pomers had a decent run on Star Trek, appearing in 17 episodes over a three year period. Critics were as impressed with her portrayal of Naomi Wildman as the fans were, and Pomers won a Young Artist Award, commending her for an outstanding supporting role in a drama series. After leaving Star Trek, Pomers starred in the TV show, Reba, and founded the band, SCARLETT (also known as the Scarlett Pomers Band).
Q – John De Lancie
Responsible for bringing us the character, Q, John De Lancie was also one of few actors who got to reprise his role over multiple series. Appearing in Next Generation, Deep Space, and Voyager, Q is both the name of Lancie’s character and the race said character comes from.
Since departing from the world of Star Trek, Lancie has enjoyed a varied career, with roles in film, television and theater. He’s also turned his hand to the written word, with several books to his name.
Robin Lefler – Ashley Judd
Here’s one you’ve probably forgotten: Ashley Judd was in Star Trek! The actress made her debut on the show back in 1991, long before reaching superstardom. Since she wasn’t a recognizable face at the time, most people don’t even realize she was ever a part of the show.
Judd played Starfleet officer, Ensign Robin Lefler, and appeared in just two episodes. With a face and a talent like hers, however, two episodes was all it took to set her career in motion. It was a rapid rise to fame from there. Judd is now a well-known Hollywood actress and political activist.
Vulcan Valeris – Kim Cattrall
Since we’re already on the topic of stars you never realized were on Star Trek, it may surprise you to learn that, long before her days of prowling the streets of New York with Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall was a Trekkie. While most people know her as sex-obsessed, Samantha from HBO’s hit show, Sex and the City, Kim Cattrall will remain a Vulcan in the hearts of all true Star Trek fans.
Cattrall’s character, Valeris, was under the mentorship of Captain Spock, and excelled with his expert tutelage. Perhaps foreshadowing her SATC future, Cattrall designed her character’s headband, and was also involved in the hair styling and even the development of the name.
Wesley Crusher – Wil Wheaton
Now let’s take a look at one of the more controversial characters Star Trek produced. Played by Wil Wheaton, Wesley Crusher looks innocent enough. But that was kind of the problem. Fans were not impressed with the way the boy was able to save the day on so many occasions despite struggling to get into the Starfleet Academy. His storylines always felt too contrived and fans were not into it.
Still, Wheaton’s run on the show as Wesley Crusher lasted from 1987 to 1991, spanning the first four seasons of The Next Generation. Since leaving the show, Wheaton has fared just fine, with no residual issues from the distaste that lingered around his character. Wheaton has appeared in various TV shows, including Criminal Minds and The Big Bang Theory. He also has a hilarious cameo, playing himself in Family Guy.
William T. Riker – Jonathan Frakes
Jonathan Frakes holds the honor of having appeared in not one but four different Star Trek series: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise. Only one other regular cast member can make the same claim (do you remember who?) Frakes is no day-tripper to the world of sci-fi, and his role in Star Trek was more than just a job to him.
From an early age, Frakes was into the sci-fi scene, working at conventions and appearing as various costumed characters. In addition to acting, Frakes also directed many episodes of Star Trek. Since leaving the show, he’s continued his directorial career and also penned a novel titled, The Abductors: Conspiracy.
Yeoman Martha Landon – Celeste Yarnall
Celeste Yarnall had a small role in Star Trek, appearing in an episode titled “The Apple” way back in 1967. While her role may have been comparatively small, she was remembered for it and, much to the delight of superfans, popped back up in 2006, in Star Trek: Of Gods and Men.
Celeste enjoyed a certain amount of success in film and television during the 60s and 70s, even appearing in one of Elvis Presley’s films. Once again, her role was small but memorable. The beautiful young actress starred as a party-goer who caught Presley’s eye and inspired him to sing “A Little Less Conversation.” As her acting career began to fade, Yarnall wisely moved into real estate, where she made an absolute killing.
Majel Barrett – Lwaxana Troi
Known affectionately as “the first lady of Star Trek,” Majel Barrett is an important part of the history of the show. Majel was married to the creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry (hence the “first lady” moniker) but also took on two different characters over the course of the show. Fans of the original Star Trek series will recognize her as Nurse Christine Chapel. Those who stuck around for The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine may also recognize her as the rather overbearing Lwaxana Troi.
Apart from these major roles, Majel had bit parts in literally every other incarnation of the franchise, including the animations and films. Sadly, this dedicated Trekkie passed away in 2008 after battling with leukemia.
Spock – Leonard Nimoy
From one legend of Star Trek to another, it would be impossible to imagine the Star Trek universe without Spock. Leonard Nimoy was responsible for the creation of one of the most loved characters in the franchise’s history. From the pilot episode, filmed way back in 1964, to his final appearance in 2013, the part human, part Vulcan science officer was a definite mainstay of the show.
While Nimoy enjoyed an abundant film and television career outside of Star Trek, in the minds and hearts of fans, he would always be Spock. While the character may have been the highlight of his career for many, it’s worth noting that Nimoy is also an accomplished director, author and musician. Star Trek fans were devastated in 2015 to discover Nimoy had passed away due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Pavel Chekov – Walter Koenig
Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry introduced the young Russian character, Pavel Chekov, to even out the age ranges in the show and appeal to a younger audience. Only two actors ever got to audition for the part. The reason? Well, the moment Roddenberry saw Walter Koenig, he knew he had his man. Koenig was the spitting image of Davy Jones, arguably the most popular member of the British band, The Monkees.
Roddenberry and his crew put all their hopes in Koenig, and the charismatic young actor didn’t let them down. With his good looks, broad smile and talent for acting, he was a brilliant addition to the Star Trek cast. Koenig’s career flourished, even after Star Trek, and he has spent a good half-century of his life appearing in films, on the stage, and in various television roles.
Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy – DeForest Kelley
DeForest Kelley already knew his way around Hollywood when he landed his role in Star Trek. He’d been in a number of feature films and was steadily growing his reputation as an actor. When Star Trek hit though, Kelley shot to almost instant fame as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. What many don’t know, however, is that Kelley actually had the opportunity to play Spock! He turned the role down, a move many Spock fans are probably thankful for as it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Nimoy in the roles.
Kelley apparently turned the role down as he feared being typecast. Yet, as it turned out, he fell victim to the dreaded affliction anyway. As is acting career tapered off, Kelley developed a love for the written word, writing poetry and penning two books. These were supposed to be the first of a series, however, Kelley passed away in 1999 before he could complete the rest of his written works.
Lt. Saavik – Kirstie Alley
While most people know Kirstie as the blonde bombshell who went through some pretty public struggles with her weight, the actress was once a Vulcan-Romulan hybrid on the set of Star Trek. Alley appeared in the 1982 film, Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, playing Lt. Saavik. With her dark hair and costume, she’s worlds away from the image we’ve grown accustomed to.
After her brief flirtation with Star Trek, Alley went on to enjoy a long run on the popular sitcom, Cheers. She’s appeared in a number of other television roles, but was catapulted to fame in Hollywood movies like For Richer or Poorer, Look Who’s Talking, Accidental Love, and It Takes Two.
Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott – James Doohan
The character responsible for a phrase that became so widely known it even has its own Wikipedia entry: “Beam me up Scotty.” The funny thing is, while this phrase is indelibly connected to Star Trek in the minds of basically all humans, it was never actually said in any Star Trek episode or movie. There were lines that came close but all true Star Trek fans know that “beam me up Scotty” isn’t really a thing!
While that may be so, Scotty was a vital part of the crew (and did do a lot of beaming up in his time). Played by Canadian actor, James Doohan, Scotty’s character had a wonderful impact on viewers. Many were inspired to follow in his footsteps and pursue careers in engineering and related technical fields. Doohan, on the other hand, didn’t enjoy such career success. He struggled to find roles outside of Star Trek, and so forged a life for himself within the franchise. He returned to lend his voice to animations, and was a regular at conventions.
Commander Willard Decker – Stephen Collins
Long before he preached from our TV screens as the squeaky clean father and Protestant minister in 7th Heaven, Stephen Collins was a Trekkie. He played Commander Willard Decker in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, released way back in 1979.
Since then, Collins enjoyed the aforementioned 7th Heaven success, appeared in a number of other TV shows and Hollywood films, and also became a published author. His success has been somewhat marred by revelations of sexual assault against minors back in the 70s. After a recording came out, Collins made a public confession to People magazine. Yet, at this stage, he has not been prosecuted.
Seven of Nine – Jeri Ryan
Seven of Nine was a fascinating character who popped up in Star Trek: Voyager. Her full Borg title was “Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One” but she had once been Annika Hansen, before her Borg assimilation.
The actress who took on the role, Jeri Ryan, did such a stellar job, she was nominated for four Saturn Awards. In 2001, she finally snagged a win, taking out the best actress award for her portrayal of the Borg. Since leaving Star Trek, Ryan has enjoyed success in the land of television, most recently appearing in Bosch and Arrow.
Khan Noonien Singh – Ricardo Montalban
Make way for everyone’s favorite villain: Khan Noonien Singh. Appearing in the original Star Trek series and, of course, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, this guy was a pivotal part of Captain Kirk’s world. Khan was originally played by Mexican actor, Ricardo Montalban. The man was a fitness buff who worked out regularly, and it certainly showed!
Montalban had a long and prosperous career beyond Star Trek, spending a good seven of his decades on Earth entertaining us with performances in comedy films, crime shows, dramas and even musicals. He was an absolute fan favorite and, while he lived a long and happy life, his death in 2009 (at the age of 88) was mourned by many. As for his character, Khan lives on, taking the form of Benedict Cumberbatch in the 2013 movie, Star Trek: Into Darkness.
Klingon Kruge – Christopher Lloyd
Appearing in the 1984 film, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Christopher Lloyd was barely recognizable under the heavy costuming, makeup and prosthetics. Yet we can assure you, that it is definitely your beloved Doc Brown. In fact, this was a year before Lloyd stepped into the Delorean for the first time. The Back to the Future franchise kicked off in 1985, cementing Lloyd’s status as a sci-fi hero.
Lloyd was actually recommended for the role of Klingon Kruge by none other than Leonard Nimoy. With Spock’s blessing, how could the producers say no? Both before and after his stint on Star Trek, Lloyd enjoyed a stellar career and is still appearing in motion pictures to this day.
Lt. Saavik – Robin Curtis
Robin Curtis made her debut in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. She was cast as a replacement for Kirstie Alley, taking over the role of Saavik, the Vulcan Lieutenant. While she received a lukewarm reception from hardcore Trekkies, Curtis reprised her role in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
Curtis enjoyed a solid career in the dramatic arts, appearing in films, on television and in theater productions all through the 80s and 90s. By 1999 though, Curtis was ready for a change, and retired from acting before seeing in the new millennium. While she still makes appearances at conventions, Curtis shifted her attention to real estate.
Dr. Gillian Taylor – Catherine Hicks
Seems like there’s some kind of connection between Star Trek and 7th Heaven. Catherine Hicks played Annie Camden on the hit show. Thankfully, she was not as controversial of a figure as her co-star, Stephen Collins. The only attention Hicks stirred up was for her stellar performances. She was nominated for a Saturn Award, in the Best Supporting Actress category for her portrayal of Dr. Gillian Taylor in Star Trek.
Prior to her appearance in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Hicks had already been nominated for an Emmy for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe. From such a promising start in the 80s, Hicks blossomed into an even more wonderful actress, and has a list of credits a mile long.
Laurence Luckinbill – Sybok
When it comes to Star Trek, Laurence Luckinbill certainly lives up to his luck-filled name. The role he took on—that of Spock’s half-brother, Sybok—was originally intended for Sean Connery. However, Connery was tied up filming Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. Luckinbill came on the scene completely unintentionally. He was discovered late one night, when William Shatner was unable to sleep and so was up channel surfing. Luckinbill’s face popped on the screen and Shatner knew immediately he was the one for the part. What a way to be discovered!
Luckenbill’s luck never really ran out as far as his career has been concerned. Since 1968, he has been writing, directing and starring in theater productions, including a good many one-man shows.
T’Pol – Jolene Blalock
Stunning model and actress, Jolene Blalock, was a popular addition to the Star Trek: Enterprise cast. Taking on the role of Vulcan first officer, T’Pol, was “a dream come true” for Blalock, who said she was in a state of bliss every day she went to work on-set. In an interview with The Express on Sunday, Blalock explained: “There's also a sense of immortality that the show gives you, that you're working on something that will never die, that your contribution will last forever.”
Star Trek wasn’t Blalock’s only dalliance into the sci-fi world. She has appeared in Stargate SG-1 and Legend of the Seeker, among others, and has enjoyed regular appearances in film and on television.
Christopher Plummer – Klingon general Chang
Christopher Plummer is an absolute legend of the acting world, with an illustrious career spanning an impressive six decades. While Shatner still has him beat time-wise (at seven decades of work and counting), Plummer’s talent is incomparable.
Plummer delved into the Star Trek universe in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and was perfectly suited for the role he took on: Shakespeare-loving Klingon General Chang. Plummer himself is a classically trained actor and Shakespeare fanatic who has spent as much time on the stage as he has on camera. What you may not know is that, in the year 2000, he lent his voice to the 'Star Trek: Klingon Academy' video game, reprising his role as Chang.
Commander Benjamin Sisko – Avery Brooks
Avery Brooks was a regular on the set of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, gracing our screens from 1993 to 1999 as Commander Benjamin Sisko. Like Nichelle Nichols, who came before him, Brooks’ role in Star Trek was a momentous one. While the civil rights movement had been underway for some time, Brooks was the first African-American to take a leadership position in Star Trek history.
Having truly made his mark on the show, Brooks went on to enjoy a varied career in film, television, theater, music and teaching. He also continued his work in civil rights, directing the annual National Black Arts Festival and working with the Smithsonian on their Black American Culture Program.
Constable Odo – Rene Auberjonois
Member of the shapeshifting race of Changelings, Odo was definitely one of our favorites from Deep Space Nine. His unique characteristics allowed him to have startling insight into human values and ethics; something you don’t always expect to be enlightened with when watching TV. The actor who brought Odo to life for us, René Auberjonois, had an impressive career, both before and after his time with Star Trek.
He originated the the character of Father Mulcahy, who was played by William Christopher in the TV series, M*A*S*H. Recently, you may have seen Auberjonois in NCIS, The Good Wife, and Sleepy Hollow. He also has a stack of voicing credits to his name, in films, games and animated TV series.
Varel – Susanna Thompson
Here’s another spot of Star Trek controversy for you. When Susanna Thompson appeared in an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, she was an active participant in one of the first ever same-sex kisses to be shown on American television. It seems the Star Trek crew were really into creating television firsts! This is one of infinite reasons why the show had such a monumental impact on popular culture—it never rode the waves, it created them. Thompson appeared in more than one season of Star Trek, playing Varel in her first appearance (in Next Generation), then Inmate Jaya in a later episode of Next Generation.
Then, of course, there was the infamous Dr. Lenara Kahn, in the Deep Space Nine episode mentioned above. And Thompson showed up again as the Borg Queen, in Voyager. In the midst of this on-again-off-again relationship with Star Trek, Thompson has been busy with a variety of roles. Most recently, you may have seen her in Arrow and Timeless.
Doctor Julian Bashir – Alexander Siddig
When Alexander Siddig was first called in for a Star Trek audition, the producers had Commander Benjamin Sisko in mind for him. However, at the time, Siddig looked far too young to properly embody the part. Not wanting to let the talented actor go, the producers made the wise decision to cast young Siddig as Dr. Julian Bashir.
Siddig enjoyed a long run with the show, appearing in Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, and gracing our screens from 1993 to 1999. Since stepping away from Star Trek, Siddig hasn’t slowed down, appearing in a variety of films and TV shows. Arguably, his biggest role since Star Trek came in HBO’s hit show, Game of Thrones.
Quark – Armin Shimerman
Armin Shimerman scored a fantastic character, getting to play the funny bartender, Quark, in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Shimerman kept us laughing for the duration of the series, from 1993 to 1999.
After taking his leave of Star Trek, Shimerman scored roles on Seinfeld and Buffy The Vampire Slayer, among many others. He also voiced characters in games like BioShock and Ratchet and Clank. Sci-fi fans will also be stoked to know Shimerman’s vocal stylings can be heard not just in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, but also in the expansion, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm.
Neelix – Ethan Phillips
You probably instantly recognize Ethan Phillips as Neelix, since he played the lovable alien for the seven seasons of Star Trek: Voyager. However, Phillips actually got his start in Star Trek back in 1990, taking the single-episode role of Dr. Farek in an episode of Next Generation, titled, "Menage a Troi." Phillips must’ve been overjoyed to go from this one-off role to taking on a regularly appearing character; and a popular one at that.
Since leaving Neelix behind, Phillips put a lot of his time into the theater, though he did dabble in films and a few other television roles. Phillips also popped back up in more one-off Star Trek roles, and his voice can be heard in both Star Trek and Star Wars video games (seems he’s happy to bat for both teams).
Lieutenant Tom Paris – Robert Duncan McNeill
Robert Duncan McNeill is a Star Trek veteran, having taken on a couple of different roles while also directing several episodes. His most regular appearance on the show was as Lieutenant Tom Paris, in Star Trek: Voyager. However, you can also spot him in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
McNeill did take on acting roles outside of Star Trek (including an appearance as himself in the documentary, Trekkies) but his passion is most definitely with directing. He has an impressive CV, having taken the helm of shows like Dawson’s Creek, Medium and Desperate Housewives. McNeill also produced and directed Chuck, for NBC.
Lieutenant Tuvok – Tim Russ
While Robert Duncan McNeill was a massive contributor to the Star Trek franchise, it’s hard to beat the astounding contribution of Tim Russ. First up, Russ took on the character of Lt. Tuvok, from 1995 to 2001. Tuvok was a Vulcan and performed as both the chief tactical officer and the chief of security for the ship. But Russ didn’t stop there.
The talented creative also worked behind the scenes, producing, directing and writing and, prior to his Tuvok role, had taken on a number of bit parts. That’s a whole lot of dedication to the show! Outside of Star Trek, Russ has enjoyed plenty of work in film, television and music. The multi-talented artist shows no signs of slowing down.
Ensign Harry Kim – Garret Wang
From 1995 to 2001, Garrett Wang brought to our screens the adorably naive, yet undeniably gifted, Ensign Harry Kim. Wang’s introduction to the Star Trek universe was like a fan’s wet dream. He had grown up watching and loving the films, so was excited to audition. Crucially, he hadn’t been able to get into The Next Generation because the first episode he watched was one most Trekkies consider to be a bit of a fail ("Code of Honor”). Wang says this saved him from being too nervous in his audition. When he finally realized how epic the series was, after landing his role, Wang was relieved at how the timeline of events had gone down.
Now a dedicated Star Trek fan as well as a cast member, Wang pops up regularly at conventions and even appeared in Star Trek: Of Gods and Men, a fan-produced mini-series that came out in 2007. Wang was also involved in the creation of the MMORPG, Star Trek: Online.
Kes – Jennifer Lien
When you play a character who’s species is only known to live for nine years, you kinda know it’s going to be a short-lived affair! This was the case for Jennifer Lien, who played Kes in Star Trek: Voyager, from 1995 to 1997. Kes was an Ocampan and, while blessed with telepathy, was not blessed with the longest of lifespans.
Still, Lien relished the role and made friends among her fellow Star Trek cast members during the years she made Kes her own. After retiring from the show, Lien had plenty of success finding other roles but decided to step away from acting in 2002. We won’t post the details here but she has an interesting arrest record.
Lieutenant Malcolm Reed – Dominic Keating
Dominic Keating’s run on Star Trek was epic, spanning all 98 episodes of the show, from 2001 to 2005. Keating’s character, Lt. Malcolm Reed, was both a tactical officer and an armory officer aboard the Starship USS Enterprise. Reed’s tactical contributions to the story lines were of vital importance, so this was no small role for Keating.
While Lt. Malcolm Reed made Keating a household name (at least among Trekkies), many people also know him from his roles in Jungle 2 Jungle and Beowulf. Keating is still going strong in the acting world, and recently appeared in Once Upon a Time in London, released in 2017.
Ensign Travis Mayweather – Anthony Montgomery
Anthony Montgomery graced the decks of the USS Enterprise at the same time and for the same 98-episode duration as Dominic Keating. The Indianapolis native had already been building a solid acting career, with appearances in both film and television, when he was cast as Ensign Travis Mayweather in Star Trek: Enterprise.
After his role came to an end, Montgomery dabbled in stand-up comedy for a while. He continued his acting work while also developing his skills as a graphic novelist. He’s currently enjoying a regular starring role on the ABC soap opera, General Hospital, in which he plays Andre Maddox.
Commander Charles ‘Trip’ Tucker III – Connor Trinneer
It may shock dedicated Star Trek fans to know that, when Connor Trinneer first auditioned for a role on the show, he had barely a clue what it was about or how big it was in the sci-fi world. At the time, Trinneer didn’t consider himself a sci-fi fan, and was really just after whatever work he could get.
While this may sound sacrilegious to some, rest assured, Trinneer became an instant fan the moment he was exposed to sci-fi. By way of proof, Trinneer was nominated in the best supporting actor category at the Saturn awards, and has since appeared in the popular series, Stargate Atlantis.
Ensign Tanner – Evan English
Here’s another Star Trek: Enterprise regular for you: Evan English. Playing Ensign Tanner, a Starfleet officer and helmsman, English stuck around for all four seasons of the Enterprise series. Those with a keen eye will also be able to spot him doing background work in Star Trek: Insurrection.
English continued his acting work after leaving Star Trek, taking on a number of small roles in major films like Coyote Ugly, and Almost Famous. He’s also spent time performing on Broadway and appeared in TV shows like ER and The West Wing. English will always have a heart for Star Trek though, regularly making appearances at conventions and appearing in Star Trek: The Continuing Mission, a web series produced by fans.
Admiral Maxwell Forrest – Vaughn Armstrong
Vaughn Armstrong has had 27 appearances on Star Trek. Compared to some of the veterans we’ve just visited, that doesn’t sound like so much, right? What if we told you that, in those 27 episodes, he took on the forms of eight distinct races to play a total of 11 different characters? Suddenly way more impressive!
While all that characterization sounds like a lot of work, this talented actor has still had plenty of time to explore the realms outside of Star Trek, appearing in a number of hit TV shows, including Mad Men, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Modern Family, and Criminal Minds.
Seska – Martha Hackett
Martha Hackett is another star who took on more than one character in the Star Trek universe. Though she wasn’t quite as prolific as Vaughn Armstrong, Hackett appeared in two of the Star Trek television series and also voiced characters in five different Star Trek games. She’s definitely got the chops to call herself a Trekkie! Her biggest role within the franchise was as Seska in Star Trek: Voyager. Hackett appeared in 13 episodes as this character.
Apart from her dedication to Star Trek, Hackett has had a number of roles in blockbuster films, including Never Been Kissed and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
Counselor Deanna Troi – Marina Sirtis
Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry was always on the lookout for inspiration. A dedicated sci-fi fan, he saw every new entry to the genre that he could, including the 80s hit, Aliens. For Roddenberry, Vasquez stole the show and he was immediately inspired to create an equally strong Latina character for Star Trek. Enter Marina Sirtis and Counselor Deanna Troi.
Part-human, part-Betazoid, Deanna Troi had the ability to read the emotions of other beings. Sirtis appeared in this role in Enterprise, Voyager, and four of the Star Trek feature films. The popular star has gone on to appear in a string of films and TV shows, including NCIS and Grey’s Anatomy.
Icheb – Manu Intiraymi
Much like Seven of Nine (who we visited earlier), Icheb was assimilated by the Borg at a young age but later freed (as much as is possible), with a combination of implant removal and counselling. Actor, Manu Intiraymi, filled this role both in Star Trek: Voyager and in the fan film, Star Trek: Renegades.
Outside of Star Trek, Intiraymi has enjoyed steady work in film, television and theatre. He’s appeared in major shows, like One Tree Hill, but also has a thing for Indie films. Last we heard of him, he was working on a film called The Circuit.
Ensign Vorik – Alexander Enberg
Alexander Enberg actually played not one, but two Vulcan engineers. Vorik was his character in Star Trek: Voyager, while in Star Trek: The Next Generation, he played Taurik. While they were in separate series, with those character names, it’s almost reminiscent of Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee!
Enberg enjoyed some acting work outside of Star Trek, appearing in Pump Up the Volume, Junior, and Gia. He’s also created the special effects for some pretty interesting films. One, which aired on the infamous Howard Stern’s cable channel, In Demand, was titled, Fartman: Caught in a Tight Ass. We’ll leave you to imagine the content.
Beatrice Burleigh – Lindsey Haun
In 1995, when Lindsey Haun was just nine years old, she featured in two episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, playing Beatrice Burleigh. Haun was destined to pop up again, but not as Beatrice. The youngster reappeared two years later as a new character, Belle.
Outside of Star Trek, Haun has continued her acting career and is also a talented singer. True Blood fans will recognize her as Hadley. She also appeared in the Disney film, The Color of Friendship, for which she received a Young Artist award. Haun also starred in Broken Bridges, the soundtrack of which she was also partially responsible for creating.
Rain Robinson – Sarah Silverman
Here’s another star you may be surprised to discover was in Star Trek. Sassy, outspoken comedian, Sarah Silverman, joined Voyager back in 1996 for a small, two-episode role. Her character, Rain Robinson, was central to a two-part episode named “Future’s End”, that was full of time travelling fun.
We probably don’t even need to tell you what Silverman has been up to since (but we will)! The comedy superstar has had her own program, The Sarah Silverman Show, along with a number of comedy specials and appearances in shows like Louie and films like Wreck-it Ralph.
Annorax – Kurtwood Smith
For many, Kurtwood Smith’s face is far more synonymous with various refrains on the theme of his foot going into someone’s rear end—all thanks to his role as Red Foreman on the wildly popular series, That 70s Show. Yet, long before this role brought him international recognition, Kurtwood Smith was popping up in various roles within the Star Trek franchise.
A bit of a sci-fi fan, Smith has also made appearances in The X-Files and Rick & Morty. His CV is a mile long, featuring many major films and TV shows. To some of us though, he will always be the stern, cranky and hilarious Red Foreman.
Leonardo da Vinci – John Rhys-Davies
John Rhys-Davies got to enjoy one of the quirkier roles in an already quirky series, playing a holodeck version of Leonardo da Vinci. The talented actor handled this epic role with panache, adding a touch of class to the Voyager episodes he appeared in.
Those of you with a keen eye will recognize Rhys-Davies as Gimli, from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He also played Sallah in the Indiana Jones films. The actor’s filmography is intimidating, with a ridiculously long list of film, TV and video game credits to his name. With his distinctive vocal characteristics, Rhys-Davies is a natural at narration and voice work, a field he adores.
Abbot – Ian Abercrombie
Ian Abercrombie was such a legend in the sci-fi world it would’ve been unthinkable if he’d never appeared in Star Trek. Thankfully, that travesty never occurred (not in our lifetime anyway) as Abercrombie appeared in a couple of episodes of Voyager, playing the roles of the Abbot and Milo.
Abercrombie had a stellar career, appearing in an insane number of films and TV shows. He was in everything from David Lynch’s bizarre masterpiece, Twin Peaks, to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and even How I Met Your Mother. Abercrombie also voiced Palpatine and Darth Sidious in the animations and video games of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.