Published On: Sep 28 2012 03:39:34 AM EDTUpdated On: Jul 13 2015 02:00:00 AM EDT
In honor of Patrick Stewart, who celebrates his 75th birthday on July 13, take a look at him and his "Star Trek: The Next Generation" co-stars then and now.
Patrick Stewart played Captain Jean-Luc Picard, commanding officer of the USS Enterprise. The Frenchman Picard has a fondness for detective stories, Shakespearean drama, and archeology and is frequently shown issuing an order by saying "Make it so."
Stewart, who has a background of theater at the Royal Shakespeare Company, also appeared in the feature films "Star Trek: Generations," "Star Trek: First Contact," "Star Trek: Insurrection" and "Star Trek Nemesis." His other best known role is as Professor Charles Xavier in the "X-Men" movies.
Jonathan Frakes played Commander William T. Riker, the ship's first officer. While Riker is portrayed during the first two seasons as a bold and confident young officer, over time his character becomes more reserved, as experience teaches him the wisdom of a patient, careful approach.
Like Stewart and most of the major "Next Generation" actors, Frakes also appeared in the four "Star Trek" movies spawned by the series, and directed two of them, "Star Trek: First Contact" and "Star Trek" Insurrection." He also has appeared on the TV shows "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," "Star Trek: Voyager" and "Star Trek: Enterprise" and has hosted the TV series "Paranormal Borderline" and "Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction." Over the past few years he's had small parts on the TV shows "NCIS: Los Angeles," "Leverage," "Criminal Minds" and "The Glades," and directed episodes of "Burn Notice," "Leverage," "Dollhouse," "Castle," "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and "Switched at Birth."
LeVar Burton played Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge, initially the ship's helmsman, who becomes chief engineer beginning in the second season. Burton also played the character in an episode of "Voyager." La Forge is blind, but is granted "sight" through the use of a prosthetic device called a VISOR, which is worn over his eyes.
Burton was no newcomer to television when he was cast as Geordi, having appeared in "Roots" as Kunta Kinte and hosting the PBS children's show "Reading Rainbow" since 1983. He continued to host "Reading Rainbow" until the show ended in 2005, after which he and a business partner bought the global rights to the brand and re-launched it as a best-selling app for the iPad. Burton, who directed two "TNG" episodes as well as episodes for each of the "Star Trek" series in production throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, has also directed episodes of "Charmed," "JAG" and "Las Vegas" and the documentary "The Tiger Woods Story." He's also recently appeared as himself on episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" and "Community" and is a regular on the TNT drama "Perception."
Denise Crosby played Lieutenant Tasha Yar, chief of security and tactical officer, during the show's first season. She left the show after the first season, with her character being killed off. However, Yar returns in alternate timelines in a third season episode and in the series finale. Crosby also played Sela, Yar's half-Romulan daughter.
The granddaughter of the late entertainer Bing Crosby, Denise Crosby has had roles in "Models, Inc.," "The X-Files," "Dexter," "Mad Men" and "Southland." She's also appeared in movies such as "Jackie Brown," "Pet Cemetery" and "Deep Impact." Crosby produced and narrated the 1997 documentary "Trekkies," followed by the 2003 sequel, "Trekkies 2." Both films star Crosby, who conducts interviews with devotees of Star Trek, more commonly known as "Trekkies." More recently, she's had a recurring role on the Showtime series "Ray Donovan" and joined "The Walking Dead" in 2014 for the final two episodes of its fourth season and the first of its fifth season, playing "Mary," one of the leaders of the mysterious community known as Terminus.
Michael Dorn played Lieutenant Worf, a Klingon. Worf initially appears as a junior officer fulfilling several roles on the bridge. When Crosby left at the end of the first season, the Worf character succeeded Lieutenant Yar as the ship's chief of security and tactical officer.
Dorn reprised the character of Worf for four seasons of "Deep Space Nine." He's also directed several episodes of "Deep Space Nine" and one of "Star Trek: Enterprise." He's had movie roles in "Ted 2," "Shade," "Ali" and "The Santa Clause 2" and appeared on TV shows such as "Heroes" and "Without a Trace," and a recurring role on the television series "Castle." Dorn has also done voice work in many animated TV shows, including "I Am Weasel," "Adventure Time," "Duck Dodgers," "Justice League," "Ben 10" and "Batman: The Brave and the Bold."
Marina Sirtis played Deanna Troi, the half-human, half-Betazoid ship's counselor who has the psionic ability to sense emotions. In "Star Trek: Insurrection," the third Star Trek film set in the Next Generation era, she marries Riker, whom she had a relationship with before the beginning of the series.
Since "The Next Generation," Sirtis has continued to work regularly, including voice work on the animated TV shows "Gargoyles" and "Young Justice," appearances in other sci-fi television shows like "The Outer Limits," "Stargate SG-1" and "Earth: Final Conflict," and small roles in movies such as "Crash" and "The Grudge 3" and on TV shows such as "Girlfriends," "Grey's Anatomy," "Make It or Break It" and "NCIS."
Brent Spiner played Lt. Commander Data, an android who serves as operations officer and third-in-command. Early on in the series, the character's difficulties in understanding various aspects of human behavior is frequently used as comic relief. However, he strives to become more human over the course of the series.
Since "The Next Generation" series ended, Spiner has made cameos on TV series such as "Ray Donovan," "Frasier, "Leverage," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Alphas," "Warehouse 13" and "The Big Bang Theory." He's also acted in movies such as "The Aviator," "Dude, Where's My Car?," "I Am Sam," "Independence Day" and "Superhero Movie." He's also reprising his role in "Independence Day: Resurgence," set for release in June 2016.
Gates McFadden played Dr. Beverly Crusher, the Enterprise's chief medical officer. McFadden would leave the series during the second season to pursue film roles, but return during the third season and remain for the remainder of the series.
Following "The Next Generation," McFadden appeared on TV shows such as "Party of Five," "Marker," "Mad About You," "The Practice" and "The Handler." She has also focused on the theater, serving as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Theater at the University of Southern California and the artistic director of Ensemble Studio Theatre of Los Angeles. She's also had a recurring role on the TBS show "Franklin & Bash," appearing in four episodes between 2011 and 2013.
Wil Wheaton played Beverly Crusher's son, Wesley Crusher. Wesley becomes an acting ensign and, later, receives a field commission to ensign before attending Starfleet Academy. After being a regular for the first four seasons, Wheaton appeared sporadically as Crusher for the remainder of the series.
Wheaton had already had a taste of fame before "The Next Generation," starring in Rob Reiner's "Stand By Me" in 1986. After leaving the show, he took some time off to work in personal video production and took acting classes before re-entering the world of acting. He's since made numerous appearances on TV shows, including a recurring role playing himself on "The Big Bang Theory," as well as roles on "Numb3rs," "Criminal Minds," "Leverage," "Eureka" and the web series "The Guild." He also runs his own weblog, Wil Wheaton Dot Net, contributes to several other blogs and has published several books.
Majel Barrett is famous for playing several roles in the "Star Trek" franchise over the decades. As the wife of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, she was the only actor to have a role on all of the Star Trek series, usually providing the voice of various computers. But she also played Betazoid Ambassador Lwaxana Troi, Deanna Troi's mother, on both "The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine."
Barrett, who died from leukemia in 2008 at the age of 76, also played nurse (later doctor) Christine Chapel on the original "Star Trek" series.
Diana Muldaur played Dr. Katherine Pulaski for 20 episodes during the show's second season in 1988-89. The Pulaski character was created to replace Dr. Crusher after McFadden left the show. Her character proved unpopular with fans and she left the show after only one season. After leaving the show, she earned two Emmy nominations for her role as pushy and power-hungry lawyer Rosalind Shays on "L.A. Law" and made a few other TV appearances, including a "Perry Mason" movie, guest spots on "Matlock" and "Empty Nest" and some voice work on the early 1990s Fox Network animated show "Batman."
Colm Meaney played Chief Miles O'Brien in 52 episodes of the series. Although the character starts out as an unnamed helmsman in the show's pilot and appears several times in other positions during the first season, he eventually was developed into the transporter chief. Meaney also portrayed O'Brien for seven seasons as a series regular on "Deep Space Nine."
Meaney has guest-starred on many TV shows from "Law & Order" to "The Simpsons," and currently stars as railroad magnate Thomas Durant on the AMC drama series "Hell on Wheels." He's also appeared in many movies over his career, including "Con Air," "Layer Cake," "The Damned United," "Law Abiding Citizen," "Get Him to the Greek" and "The Conspirator."
Whoopi Goldberg appeared in 28 episodes of the show as Guinan, the El-Aurian bartender in the ship's lounge, Ten Forward. Her species is long-lived, and she is somewhere between 500 and 700 years old when she joins the Enterprise.
Goldberg is best known for such movie roles as "Ghost," for which she won an Oscar, "The Color Purple," "Sister Act" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash." Besides her Oscar, the comedian has been honored with a Grammy, two Emmys, two Golden Globes and a Tony. Since 2007, she has served as the moderator and co-host of the daytime talk show "The View."
Michelle Forbes played Ensign Ro Laren, a Bajoran helmsman, over nine episodes of the series. Ro Laren was also considered for use in "Deep Space Nine," but Forbes turned down the part because she didn't want to commit to a regular television role at that point in her career.
Forbes has found consistent television work since her "Next Generation" days, including stints on "Battlestar Galactica," "Homicide: Life on the Street," "The District," "24," "Prison Break," "In Treatment," "True Blood," "Chicago Fire," "Orphan Black" and "The Killing," the last of which earned her an Emmy nomination in 2011. She also landed a role in the third movie in the "Hunger Games" film franchise, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" and will reprise the role in the final film in the series, set for release in November 2015.
John de Lancie played Q, an omnipotent antagonist from the Q Continuum, over eight episodes of the series. The character's debut was in the premiere episode of the series, in which he puts Picard and the Enterprise crew on trial, arguing that humanity is a dangerous race and should be destroyed. However, by saving the life of a kidnapped alien species, the crew proved humanity's worth.
De Lancie continued playing the Q character in both "Deep Space Nine" and "Voyager." He has also had roles on "Stargate SG-1," "Charmed," "Breaking Bad," "The Unit," "The Mentalist" and "CSI." His movie roles include "Gamer," Crank: High Voltage" and "Reign Over Me." He is also well-known these days for providing the voice of Discord on the animated series "My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic," and appeared in the 2012 documentary "Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony."
Brian Bonsall (right) played Alexander Rozhenko, Worf's son, over seven episodes during the show's fifth, sixth and seventh seasons.
Bonsall was already a TV acting veteran by the time he appeared on "The Next Generation," having played Andy Keaton, the youngest member of the Keaton family over the last three seasons of "Family Ties" between 1987 and 1989. The "TNG" role would be one his last as an actor. Since retiring from acting in 1995, Bonsall has had a number of run-ins with the law, including a 2001 DUI conviction and assault convictions in 2007 and 2010.
Dwight Schultz appeared in five "TNG" episodes as Reginald Barclay, a technician and engineer who also plays a prominent role in the later seasons of "Voyager." Schultz, who is also famous for playing "Howling Mad" Murdock on the 1980s TV series "The A-Team," is also known for his voice work in cartoons and video games, including the mad scientist Dr. Animo in the "Ben 10" series, Chef Mung Daal in the children's cartoon "Chowder," and Eddie the Squirrel in "CatDog."
James Cromwell made an appearance in a 1990 episode as "Prime Minister Nayrok" and again in a two-part 1993 episode under heavy alien makeup and prosthetics as "Jaglom Shrek" (left). He also made appearances in the movie "Star Trek: First Contact" (right) and the TV shows "Enterprise" and "Deep Space Nine."
Cromwell has seen his acting career blossom since his "Next Generation" appearances, earning an Oscar nomination for 1995's "Babe" and racking up such credits as "L.A. Confidential," "The Green Mile," "Space Cowboys," "I, Robot," "The Queen," "Spider-Man 3," "Six Feet Under," "24," "W." (in which he played President George H.W. Bush), "Secretariat" and "The Artist." His most recent credits have come working in television, including roles on "American Horror Story: Asylum," "Boardwalk Empire," "Betrayal," "Murder in the First" and "Halt and Catch Fire."
Leonard Nimoy reprised his role of the Vulcan Spock from the original TV series and movies in two season five episodes in 1991.
Nimoy reprised his Spock role in the 2009 reboot of the "Star Trek" film series and in the 2013 sequel "Star Trek Into Darkness." He also voiced the character Sentinel Prime in movie "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" and had a recurring role on the sci-fi TV series "Fringe." He died from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at age 83 on Feb. 27, 2015.
Ashley Judd made her acting debut playing Ensign Robin Lefler in two episodes in season five of the series in 1991.
Since then, Judd has gone on to star in such movies as "Heat," "A Time to Kill" and "Kiss the Girls." Her most recent roles have come in movies such as "Olympus Has Fallen," "Divergent," "Dolphin Tale 2" and "Insurgent."