At its inception, Star Trek was as jarring as it was magnetizing for the unprepared public. Star Trek transcended the routines of TV and challenged a society’s mores through the collective experiences of some far away stardust crusaders that somehow felt so close to home. It also gave rise to these actors – so where are they today?
William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk
William Shatner was born March 22, 1931 in Montreal, Quebec. Following his graduation from McGill University, he swiftly entered the world of performing arts, making his way into Broadway before being casted into Star Trek. As the lead actor for the original series of Star Trek, Shatner played the iconic and charismatic Captain James Tiberius Kirk. Captain Kirk arguably remains as the most recognizable face of the original Star Trek series (save for some Spock fanatic naysayers, of course).
William Shatner Today
Following a truly successful career in Star Trek, Shatner then moved on to more projects in the film and television industry, staying active for well over five decades! He has starred or featured many roles in movies, such as notable parts in Miss Congeniality, Dodgeball: A True Underdog, and Over the Hedge. He has also had a successful career starring in commercials for Priceline. Most recently, he has been seen to enjoy spending a slightly quieter life with his horses.
Nichelle Nichols as Nyota Uhura
A history trailblazer in every sense, Nichelle Nichols’s premier as Communications Officer Uhura helped change television and movies forevermore. Before Star Trek Stardom though, Nichols had already had a successful bout in theater, as well as singing in a band with artists Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton. Through Officer Uhura, Nichols connected people of color directly to the world of mainstream television and science fiction for their first time, an achievement of sincere historic value.
Nichelle Nichols Today
Following her role with Star Trek, Nichols would find herself working a large part outside of popular media with none other than NASA. Nichols helped found Women In Motion, which was dedicated to recruiting women of color for NASA. Nichols also featured in Futurama, The Simpsons, and Batman: The Animated Series as a guest voice actor. Her most recent works include Heroes, The Cabonauts, and The Young and the Restless. Now retired, Nichols enjoyed a fruitful career as a role model for many through her works.
Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi
Many Star Trek Fans who are quick in the memory may know the affable empath Deanna Troi has a particular affinity for all things chocolate. Few fans might know more beyond the character behind the Betazoid, though. Marina Sirtis was born in London to Greek Parents on March 29, 1955. After a very tough youth and adolescence, she would find a well-earned success at the Connaught Theater, leading to her roles in television and of course, Star Trek. Her bright and spritely persona shone through Troi.
Marina Sirtis Today
Sirtis didn’t end her interests in science fiction and fantasy once done with Star Trek: The Next Generation. Rather, she has stuck with Star Trek’s subsequent pieces, as well as featuring in television and film. She’s also lent her voice to video games throughout the years. Sirtis has been featured in a wide array of genres with pieces including Mass Effect, Family Guy, Grey’s Anatomy, and Adventure Time, amongst many others. Fans of Troi are in luck — she is to reprise her role in Star Trek: Picard.
Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Few actors are as instantly recognizable as Sir Patrick Stewart. In the world of Star Trek, he is easily remembered by his role as Captain Jean-Luc-Picard. Stewart was born July 13, 1940 in Yorkshire, England. Since childhood, Stewart took a passionate interest in drama and the performing arts. Through much persistence and dedication, Stewart received a grant to attend the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. From there, he would end up on Broadway, and years later, to Star Trek, a role that would warp-zone him to stardom in the United States.
Patrick Stewart Today
Even before his appearance and debut in Star Trek, Stewart was absolutely no stranger to achieving artistic success. Already having had a great career in theatre, he would wind up in many a movie theater for his notable performances in Marvel/Fox’s X-Men series. Most notably for Sir Patrick Stewart, however, is the lending of his voice for characters in animated film and audio literature. His most recent on screen appearance was in Charlie’s Angels, where he played the iconic John Bosley.
Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway
Captain Kathryn Janeway exuded the perceptive yet stern demeanor that a strong and capable leader is composed of. A literal and direct inspiration for many women in politics and public face, Katherine Kiernan Mulgrew’s Captain Janeway raised generations of confident and ready women through her run in Star Trek: Voyager. Since her acceptance to the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting at the age of 17, Mulgrew has only victored success. Being a starship captain is but one of many accomplishments in her department.
Kate Mulgrew Today
Television and the stage have always been Mulgrew’s passions and strengths. After Voyager, she had roles in Warehouse 13, NTSF:SD:SUV, American Dad, TMNT, and a main role in Orange is the New Black. In theater, she has acted in The Exonerated, Our Leading Lady, Equus, and The Half-Life of Marie Curie. Mulgrew has even done voice acting in the Dragon Age video game series. Mulgrew’s life as an activist outside of work proves time and again that she is indeed a leader and voice in the real world.
Jolene Blalock as T’Pol
The refreshing Vulcan Science Officer T’Pol reminded many of the internal struggles one has with home and the grapples with identity loyalty we all face at some point in our lives. A character that struggled with belonging was not extremely out of reality for actress Jolene Blalock. Having grown up somewhat estranged from her peers, she finally found a place in modelling at the age of seventeen. After featuring on a few shows and in a Fountains of Wayne music video, she was cast into Star Trek: Enterprise.
Jolene Blalock Today
Since her role of T’Pol, Blalock has attended conventions and reunions alongside fellow Star Trek cast members. Blalock featured in Slow Burn, Starship Troopers 3: Marauder, and Sinners and Saints. Alongside her husband Michael Rapino, Blalock founded the Rapino Foundation, a foundation dedicated to helping the lives of women and children in developing nations. While Blalock has not been incredibly active in acting, her activism and portrayal of T’Pol actuated the thoughts and memories of those who have struggled with ethnic and personal identities, a notion held dear by her fans.
George Takei as Hikaru Sulu
George Hasoto Takei was born April 20, 1937, in Los Angeles, California. Before becoming a celestial voyager on the Star Trek series, Takei grew up a boy scout and an active member of school politics. He attended UC Berkeley to study Architecture, but he transferred, eventually graduating with a Bachelor of Arts for the University of California, Los Angeles. After several successful featurings and English dubbing for Japanese movies, Takei landed his big role as Helmsman Hikaru Sulu on the popular Star Trek.
George Takei Today
Most who have watched Star Trek will recall Takei’s notable character in the series. However, since his role in Star Trek, Takei has taken on many projects in the media. He starred in seven of the Star Trek films, and he also has featured in countless movies and television series. Some of the varied examples include Mulan, Scrubs, Archer, and several more. Most recently he has had a role in Fresh Off the Boat, The Terror, and Love Monster. Recently, he has also been involved in the world of politics and activism.
Terry Farrell as Jadzia Dax
Jadzia Dax wore time well during its time in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The Yoda-like quipster was a fun and intriguing characterization of a phenomenon humans don’t materialize well: multiple singularly linked existences. Still, Theresa Lee Terrel brought the character to life (and many others therein!) exceptionally well. The Iowa-born actress had already had several success prior, appearing in Quantum Leap and The Cosby Show. It would be Jadzia Dax, however, that would prove to be her most complex role, requiring much diligence and attention.
Terry Farrell Today
After playing the characteristically multi-faceted and complex role of Jazdia Dax, Farrell took a more calmed approach in acting and the media altogether. She made an appearance on Paramount’s Becker, Sci-Fi Channel’s Tripping the Rift, and the release of Star Trek: Renegades. Farrell’s ability to combine many stories and emotions into the heart of one character, keeping it lively all the while, was no easy feat. And as such, this is the reason many fans still love the character today.
LeVar Burton as Lieutenant Commander Geordi LaForge
The blind and wise helmsman with the visor goggles is one of the single-handedly most iconic characters in this list. The man behind the chief engineer that saved the crew numerous times was none other than Levardis Robert Martyn Burton Jr. Before his role on Star Trek: The Next Generation, he had already been widely known for his work in ABC’s Roots, and the PBS classic, Reading Rainbow. Since childhood, Burton had been studious and assiduous regarding any project he endeavoured.
LeVar Burton Today
Concluding his time on Star Trek, Burton continued his acting career, taking on several projects up to date. He has reprised his role in four Star Trek films, and he has continued to remain involved in television primarily. Some examples include Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Transformers: Rescue Bots, Perception, and the 2016 Roots remake. Aside from that, Burton has also directed several episodes for television. Burton also is in the board of directors for the AIDS Research Alliance. Before, during, and after Star Trek, LeVar Burton has attained success and left his mark in history.
Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine
The Spock-esque Seven of Nine Borg from Star Trek: Voyager is the logical and computational connection to a greater part of the humanity found in the show. Before Jeri Lynn Ryan took on the role, however, she had already found success in performance. Having been chosen as Miss Illinois, and also received third runner-up for Miss America, and having graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor’s in Theatre, she had proven her skills plentiful. She starred in several shows before her breakout role in Star Trek: Voyager.
Jeri Ryan Today
Following her role of a cybernetic being reclaiming its sentience and sense of self, she went on to create new characters in other roles throughout film and television. Ryan featured in Wes Craven’s Dracula, but she has otherwise stuck with television primarily. Since Voyager, Ryan has appeared in several television shows including Commuters, Shark, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and Leverage. Thankfully for many fanatics of Seven of Nine, she is reprising her role to inspire once again, this time in Star Trek: Picard.
James Doohan as Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott
Before James Montgomery Doohan became immortalized as the iconic Mongomery “Scotty” Scott, he had lived an already wild life. In his youth, the times would find Doohan winding his way to joining the military for the Second World War. He became a Royal Canadian Artillery Officer pilot, where he had much success. Afterwards, he featured on several radio and television programs such as The Twilight Zone, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and Bonanza. Finally, he made his way to Star Trek, where he played the beloved Scotty.
James Doohan – Deceased
Much like DeForest Kelley, Doohan found his home-to-be in the character he nurtured to greatness in the Star Trek Series. Doohan would continue escalating and refining his role as Scotty for seven additional Star Trek films following the series. Doohan also worked on other projects throughout his career, such as Jason of Star Command, Knight Rider 2000, Homeboys in Outer Space, and The Bold and the Beautiful. Forever remembered by the iconic phrase, Scotty is permanently beamed into the hearts of those techies that looked so fondly toward him.
Walter Koenig as Ensign Pavel Chekov
Chicago-born Walter Marvin Koenig has lived a successful life in the world of show-biz. Having attended Grinnell College as a Pre-Med major, Koenig quickly ended up in UCLA, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Koenig was quick to place his foot in the threshold of tele-cinema. Before Star Trek, Koenig had already participated in a significant role in NBC’s The Lieutenant. Success would only seem to follow Koenig’s footsteps when entering the Star Trek universe, and — of course — thereafter.
Walter Koenig Today
Since his role as Ensign Pavel Chekov in the original run of Star Trek, Chekov has been no stranger to the arts and his place in it. Koenig held a place in Babylon 5, Star Trek: The Animated Series, and Land of the Lost, to name a few. In the 90s, he ran his own comic book series, titled Raver. Koenig also taught directing and acting at his Alma Mater, UCLA. His most recent projects include the steampunk Cowboys & Engines, and the sci-fi drama Diminuendo.
Nana Visitor as Kira Nerys
Kira Nerys is the symbol for honest rebellion: a true and genuine force of sheer will-strength tempered with Cardassian steel. In its development, it soon became apparent that no other actresses could have suited the role better than Nana (Tucker) Visitor. Visitor’s career started with Broadway in the 1970s, making its way to film and then television soon after. Before her big role in Star Trek, Visitor had already made televised appearances in Knight Rider, MacGyver, and Highway to Heaven.
Nana Visitor Today
After Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Visitor made sure to stay sail through the many genres the acting world has to offer. She was in Broadway’s traveling companies of Chicago, 2009’s remake of Friday the 13th, and ABC’s hit show, Castle. More recently she has been in Family Guy, Grimm, Dynasty, Ted 2, and Killer Grandma, as well as the Star Trek Online video game. Indeed, Nana Visitor has been finding as much success after the legendary Kira Nerys as before it.
DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy
Jackson DeForest Kelly, like many of his co-stars, was responsible for creating a long-lasting fan favorite space hero: Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. The Georgia-born star dreamt of becoming a doctor in his youth, but financial burdens would lead him away from its actual fulfillment. After starring in several partial roles and moving to Southern California to pursue acting full-time, he finally got his golden ticket with Star Trek. Finally, in one way or another, Kelley found himself becoming the doctor he dreamt of for so long. He has indeed inspired countless youth since.
DeForest Kelley – Deceased
Sadly, Kelley was gone far too soon for all that loved him and the character he so emotionally spoke life into. That is not to say, however, that his mark was short in the grand schemes of legacies. After the initial bout of Star Trek, DeForest Kelley would reprise his role in Star Trek: The Animated Series, and six of the subsequent Star Trek movies. Kelley will forever be remembered as the soft-hearted space doctor that mirrored the attained dream of those aspiring to inspire others.
Jonathan Frakes as Commander William Riker
As Jean Luc Picard’s finest officer that he had the opportunity to serve with, William Thomas Riker is just as ambitious as he is hubristic. At heart, there are few differences between Jonathan Scott Frakes and his on screen character as Captain Riker. A thoroughbred thespian since his adolescence, he graduated studying theatrical arts and worked for Marvel as Captain America during conventions. After success on Broadway, Frakes moved to Los Angeles, where his triumphant television career would land him a spot on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Jonathan Frakes Today
Frakes didn’t end his ambition with Star Trek, however. He is still working on many projects today, whether on screen or behind the camera. An example of the works he has been a part of include Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction?, Family Guy, the Guardians of the Galaxy show, Miles from Tomorrowland, and Star Trek: Picard. He has also directed for many shows, including Star Trek: Picard. Frakes’s ambition and charisma is no joke as Captain Riker in the show, or as himself in everyday life.
Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher
Mimicking earnestly many doctors in real life, Gates McFadden brought a level of compassion and tenderness with the intellect behind Beverly Crusher’s persona. Cheryl Gates McFadden has vast knowledge regarding a bold but nuanced presence in acting, and it’s conveyal through her experience prior to Star Trek: The Next Generation. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in theatre from Brandeis University, and having worked for The Jim Henson Company and Labyrinth early on, exposed this actress to the many talents she would acquire.
Gates McFadden Today
After The Next Generation, McFadden continued acting for various projects. McFadden has appeared in Taking Care of Business, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, and Mad About You. To little surprise, McFadden has also taken upon teaching the very subjects she so well-learned. She has taught at her Alma Mater Brandeis, Harvard, Purdue, and most recently at the University of Southern California, to name a few. She has taken part in narrating audio literature, as well, and is still found attending conventions (after a brief hiatus).
Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock
The highly lovable first officer Spock of the original Star Trek series was expertly played by none other than Leonard Simon Nimoy. Before entering the Star Trek universe, Nimoy had already had vast experience within acting, and he had taken part in several movie productions. A big break arrived dutifully for the aspiring moviestar in Star Trek’s pilot episode, “The Cage.” From thereon, he continued into developing the notably logical and memorable character he is best remembered by today.
Leonard Nimoy – Deceased
Spock may have been Nimoy’s most iconic piece, but it was far from the only ventures in media he would undertake. He guest starred in television, created catchy and memorable music, wrote, and even directed movies. His most recent iconic works include a reprisal as Spock for 2009’s Star Trek movie, Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, and For The Love of Spock. Sadly for all, Leonard Nimoy passed away in 2015, but not without leaving a lasting impression on the many scores of thousands who looked up to remember him today.
Denise Crosby as Lieutenant Natasha Yar
Natasha Yar’s character was one that tugged at the heart strings. To spare any unknowing readers from the grief of this character, we’ll keep her end on the show intentionally vague. Denise Michelle Crosby, born to parents Marilyn Scott and Dennis Crosby November 24 1957, was raised in Los Angeles, California to an artistic family. Crosby studied theater from highschool into college, leaving to attempt stardom with the skills she carried. Luckily for her, she found promise in Days of Our Lives, and several features later, onto Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Denise Crosby Today
Denise continued acting after leaving The Next Generation. She took roles in movies, television, video games, and even produced. Having quickly said her heartfelt goodbyes to Star Trek, she then took on roles in movies such as Deep Impact, Ripple Effect, and Itsy Bitsy. For television, she had roles in Baywatch, The X Files, Madmen, Southland, Ray Donovan, and Suits. In a newfound appreciation, she helped produce the cherished Trekkies documentaries. She also voice acted for two Star Trek video games and XCOM 2: War of the Chosen.
Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf
Very few actors are as memorable as Michael Dorn, who played Lieutenant — and later, Commander — Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Before he was Worf, however, Dorn had made an uncredited appearance as Apollo Creed’s bodyguard on Rocky. He also had a recurring role on CHiPs. Nevertheless, it was Worf that helped define him as a strong actor, and between his roles on TNG and Deep Space 9, Dorn starred in an impressive 281 total episodes as this iconic character.
Michael Dorn Today
Even as his stint on Star Trek drew to an end, Michael Dorn couldn’t shake the persona completely. In fact, he even starred in “cameo” roles as Worf on Family Guy, reprising his role with more than a little bit of good humor. It’s not just animated shows that he’s lent his voice to, either; he was a voice actor for numerous video games (including Mass Effect 2 and Fallout: New Vegas), as well. Unfortunately, Dorn was diagnosed with early stage cancer back in 2012, but he currently remains in remission from this disease.
Avery Brooks as Commander Benjamin Sisko
Benjamin Sisko’s story parallels that of any individual who has fought to overcome circumstance. From humble beginnings as a Creole cook to a distinguished celestial sailor, the admirable officer lives on for many as a reminder that a determined individual paired with wits is bound to pass beyond its own perceived set of possibilities. In many ways, the musical Sisko reflects Avery Franklin Brooks’s self quite well. Growing up with music and determination for education, Brooks made a name for himself at Indiana University, Oberlin College, and Rutgers University.
Avery Brooks Today
Brooks found mounds to cherish and even more to explore beyond Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He taught at Oberlin, and he served as artistic director for The National Black Arts Festival in accordance with Rutgers. He has pursued music as a passion, partnering with James Spaulding and James Darren. Brooks frequently worked with the Shakespeare Theatre Company, and performed in Death of a Salesman at Oberlin. 15 Minutes was his last major film, but for the accomplished actor, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get back to creating.