George Takei is best known for his portrayal of Mr. Sulu in the acclaimed television and film series Star Trek. He’s an actor, social justice activist, social media mega-power, star of the Broadway musical Allegiance, and subject of To Be Takei, a documentary on his life and career. Takei’s acting career has spanned nearly six decades, with more than 40 feature films and hundreds of television guest-starring roles to his credit.
With the outbreak of World War II, Los Angeles, California-born Takei and his family were placed behind the barbed-wire enclosures of United States internment camps along with 120,000 other Japanese Americans. At the end of the war, Takei’s family returned to their native Los Angeles.
Inspired by this difficult chapter of American history, Takei developed the musical Allegiance, an epic story of love, family and heroism in which he starred alongside Tony Award winner Lea Salonga. Takei made his Broadway debut in Allegiance, which ran for 150 performances in late 2015 and early 2016.
Now a community activist, Takei serves as chair of the council of governors of East West Players, the nation’s foremost Asian Pacific American theater.
He is also a member of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender political organization. Takei is Chairman Emeritus of the Japanese American National Museum’s Board of Trustees; a member of the US-Japan Bridging Foundation’s Board of Directors; and served on the Board of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission under President Clinton. In recognition of his contribution to the Japan-United States relationship, Takei was conferred with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan in 2004.
Mashable.com named Takei the most-influential person on Facebook, where currently he has 9.7 million likes. He has 1.8 million followers on Twitter.
Actor, author and accomplished director, Jonathan Frakes is a man of many hats. Perhaps best known to Star Trek fans as Commander William T. Riker on seven season and three motion pictures in the Star Trek: The Next Generation franchise, Frakes has carved out a distinctive niche for himself as a versatile talent in Hollywood.
Unbeknownst to most, Jonathan Frakes career in entertainment began in costume, dressed as Marvel’s Captain America and making appearances at some of the earliest comic book conventions in the 1970s. From there, Frakes moved onto New York to be a part of the Impossible Ragtime Theater company, making his first Broadway appearance in the play Shenandoah.
Moving onto television shortly thereafter, Frakes landed a role in the NBC soap opera The Doctors. Following his appearance on the daytime television series, Frakes guest starred on some of the most popular series of the 1970s and 1980s, such as The Waltons, Eight is Enough, The Dukes of Hazzard, Matlock and Hill Street Blues.
Following these guest appearances, Frakes landed the role of Commander Riker on the long running television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation. As second in command to Patrick Stewart’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Frakes’ portrayal of William Riker lead the Starship Enterprise through seven seasons and three films. His characterization endeared Riker to fans young and old, making him one of the most beloved characters in the Trek pantheon.
In addition to live action, Jonathan Frakes has also lent his voice to animated projects, including the cult favorite Disney animated series Gargoyles as the character David Xanatos and Adventure Time. Frakes’ also landed appearances in Matt Groening’s Futurama and Seth McFarlane’s Family Guy, playing versions of himself on each series.
Jonathan Frakes holds a unique distinction among Star Trek actors being one of only two regulars to appear on four different television series, from Star Trek: The Next Generation to Star Trek Enterprise. Beyond acting, Frakes is also a veteran director, having helmed several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the feature films Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection. Jonathan Frakes is currently filming a role in the upcoming project Devil’s Gate, due for release later this year.
Born in Houston, Texas, Brent Spiner credits his high school drama teacher—the same man who inspired the careers of acting brothers Randy and Dennis Quaid, Cindy Pickett and director Thomas Schlamme—for igniting his desire to perform. After college, Spiner moved to New York City where he performed in numerous off-Broadway plays. Winning a role in Joseph Papp’s public theater production of “The Seagull” set him up for bigger things, and he went on to perform in the Broadway musical productions of "Sunday in the Park with George," "The Three Musketeers" and "Big River." Relocating to Los Angeles in 1984, Spiner began to appear in popular television series like Night Court, Hill Street Blues, and Cheers. In 1987, Spiner won the role of Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation, a character whose artificial skin he would inhabit for seven seasons and four motion pictures. Spiner co-wrote the final TNG film, Star Trek Nemesis. In recent years, the actor has split his time between New York and L.A., appearing in a critically-acclaimed Broadway revival of 1776, in films as diverse as Independence Day, The Aviator and Dude, Where’s My Car?, and in the television series Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Leverage and Fringe.
In 1986, Gene Roddenberry approached LeVar Burton with the role of the then Lieutenant Junior Grade Geordi La Forge in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series. La Forge started out serving as the USS Enterprise's helmsman, and as of the show's second season, had become its Chief Engineer. Burton also portrayed La Forge in the subsequent feature films based on Star Trek: The Next Generation, beginning with Star Trek: Generations in 1994 through 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis.
Burton made his acting debut in 1977 when he played Kunta Kinte in the ABC award-winning drama series Roots, based on the novel by Alex Haley. Burton's audition for the role of Kinte was the first of his professional career. As a result of his performance, he was nominated for the Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama Series.
Burton was host and executive producer of Reading Rainbow starting in 1983 for PBS. The series ran for 23 seasons, making it one of the longest running children's programs on the network. Furthermore, the series garnered over 200 broadcast awards over its run, including a Peabody Award and 26 Emmy Awards, 11 of which were in the "Outstanding Children's Series" category. Burton himself won 12 Emmy awards as host and producer of the show.
Cheryl Gates McFadden portrayed Beverly Crusher, MD, in most episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and in four Star Trek films. McFadden also directed the TNG episode "Genesis" and choreographed the dance routine in "Data's Day".
McFadden left the series at the end of the first season and was replaced by Diana Muldaur as Doctor Katherine Pulaski in the second season. But thanks to a letter-writing campaign, support from Patrick Stewart, and a personal invitation from Rick Berman, McFadden was brought back to the TNG cast for the third and subsequent seasons.
McFadden became pregnant with her son during the fourth season of TNG; Brent Spiner is his godfather. McFadden has been quoted as saying her son grew up on the bridge of the USS Enterprise-D, and he was upset when the sets were torn down following Star Trek Generations.
Gates McFadden is an accomplished dancer and puppeteer; she worked on several Jim Henson productions as a choreographer, most notably in the film Labyrinth. She prefers stage roles to television, and has been seen in countless productions over her career. She has also taught at several Universities, including Harvard, Brandeis and Purdue.
Michael Dorn is an actor, director, producer, voice artist and writer best known for his portrayal of Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation, on Deep Space Nine, and in four Star Trek films. He also portrayed Worf's namesake, Colonel Worf, in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
Dorn was born in Luling, Texas, but he grew up in Pasadena, California. He is an accomplished pilot and owns and operates an old Air Force T-33 trainer jet, one of the first jet aircraft in the US inventory; it is often referred to as his "starship." He also owns an old F-86 Sabre jet that he acquired from the South African Air Force. He has flown with the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds, the USAF Precision Flight team.
Cultivating a career as both an acclaimed stage, screen and film actor as well as an accomplished voice over artist, John de Lancie is perhaps best known to Star Trek fans as the mysterious and godlike Q, having appeared in episodes across the series “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: Voyager.”
Throughout his career, de Lancie has also made appearances on such hit dramas as “Breaking Bad,” “The West Wing,” “Charmed,” “Andromeda,” “The Unit,” “Law & Order: LA,” “The Mentalist,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and the Doctor Who spin-off “Torchwood.” His film credits includes roles in the Curtis Hanson-directed thriller “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle,” Terry Gilliam’s “The Fisher King,” and the Adam Sandler starrer, “Reign Over Me.” De Lancie’s acting chops have also been on display as a voice over artist, most notably in the role of the character Discord on the very popular, “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” De Lancie has also voiced characters in the long running Assassin’s Creed franchise, with roles in “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations” and “Assassin’s Creed III.”
In 2012, de Lancie produced the documentary, “Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony.” Funded entirely through a Kickstarter campaign, the project became the second highest project on the crowd sourcing platform at the time of its campaign.
Nana Visitor came to the entertainment profession naturally; her father was a Broadway choreographer and her mother was a ballet instructor. She appeared in Broadway plays including the title role in Gypsy, had regular roles on Ryan’s Hope and One Life to Live, and appeared in numerous television series such as MacGyver, Knight Rider, Remington Steele and thirtysomething. She starred in the title role of the series Working Girl before joining the cast of Deep Space Nine as Bajoran Major Kira Nerys. According to Visitor, the role piqued her curiosity because it wasn’t “a mother, or a wife, or a prostitute, or a killer. [Kira] is fully realized.” She also voiced the character in the games Harbinger and The Fallen. Following DS9, she starred on Broadway as Roxie Hart in the Tony Award-wining musical Chicago and later appeared in the series Dark Angel and Wildfire. Visitor was married for a time to her DS9 co-star Alexander Siddig and Visitor’s pregnancy with their son was written into the series.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Robert Picardo (“Bob”) entered Yale University as a pre-med student, not knowing that he would someday portray doctors in three separate productions: first as Dr. Dick Richard on the ABC series “China Beach,“ then as Dr. McCaskill in the theater production “In The Waiting Room” at the Mark Taper Forum, and most famously as the curmudgeonly Holographic Doctor Doctor on “Star Trek: Voyager.”
Bob abandoned his premed plans and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Drama at age 20. In 1977, he made his Broadway debut in the lead role of the comedy hit Gemini. The following season, he won the coveted role of Jack Lemmon’s son in Bernard Slade’s Tribute. On television, Bob earned an Emmy Nomination for his role as Mr. Cutlip on The Wonder Years. He received the Founders Award from Viewers for Quality Television for his combined work on that show and his starring role as Dr. Richard on the acclaimed Vietnam drama, China Beach. Bob is recognized around the globe for his curmudgeonly Holographic Doctor on seven seasons of Star Trek: Voyager. One of the two Voyager episodes Bob also directed, “One Small Step,” was a moving tribute to the pioneers of space exploration. He has guest starred on many popular television series and starred as Commander Woolsey on Stargate Atlantis. Bob has appeared in over two dozen films, including the 2016 Coen brothers comedy, Hail Caesar.
Bob’s childhood passion for Biology helped forge his lifelong interest in science and exploration. Bob served for more than 15 years on the advisory board of The Planetary Society , a space advocacy nonprofit which was co-founded by Carl Sagan in 1980 and is presently led by Bill Nye. Tantalizing recent discoveries of water on Mars and the possibility of finding microbial life made the 1995 the invitation to join The Planetary Society Board auspicious and irresistible. Bob hopes to bring even more of the science fiction audience to the Planetary Society membership and hosts a free monthly video newsletter ( to subscribe, visit www.planetary.org ) called The Planetary Post. He believes, “Science fiction dreams the dream and helps pave the way for real science and exploration to fulfill that dream. If you love science fiction, you love exploration and you belong in The Planetary Society.”
René Murat Auberjonois (Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) was born into an already artistic family, which included his grandfather, a well-known Swiss painter, and his father Fernand, a writer. After leaving Paris, the Auberjonois family moved into an Artist’s Colony in upstate New York. At an early age, René was surrounded by musicians, composers, and actors. Among his neighbors were Helen Hayes, Burgess Meredith and John Houseman, who would later become an important mentor.
In 1969, he won a role in his first Broadway musical,Coco (with Katharine Hepburn), for which he won a Tony. Since then, René has acted in a variety of theater productions, films, and television presentations, including a rather famous stint as Clayton Endicott III on the comedy series Benson.
Since DS9 ended in 1999, René has kept busy as a guest star on numerous television series (includingThe Practice, Judging Amy, Enterprise, and Frasier), and as a regular on ABC’s TV series Boston Legal as Paul Lewiston, colleague and nemesis to Denny Crane (William Shatner).
René says of his role as Odo: “I have had my share of successes and my share of flops. But nothing has ever been like this. Deep Space Nine is completely beyond anything that I have ever experienced.”
Connor Trinneer, from Walla Walla, Washington, USA, is best known for playing Commander Charles “Trip” Tucker III, the chief engineer of Enterprise NX-01, on Star Trek: Enterprise. He has received two Saturn Award nominations from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for his performance as Tucker. He attended Pacific Lutheran University on a football scholarship, graduating with a BFA in acting, then attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he obtained an MFA in Acting and Directing. His grandparent on his mother’s side were all from southern Missouri and northern Arkansas and provided the inspiration for the southern accent for his role as Trip Tucker. Trinneer appeared in all 98 episodes of Enterprise, and his character was killed in the series finale. Following Enterprise, he had a recurring role on Stargate: Atlantis, where he co-starred with Voyager actor Robert Picardo. He has appeared in numerous television series including The Mentalist, 24, Criminal Minds, NCIS, Without a Trace, and Numb3rs.
Ethan Phillips is well known to Star Trek fans for the seven years he spent on Star Trek: Voyager as Neelix. He also played two different Ferengi characters, one on Star Trek: The Next Generation and another on Star Trek: Enterprise,. The only boy among six siblings, Ethan Phillips was born and raised in Long Island, New York. His father and grandfather were the original owners of the legendary Frankie and Johnnie’s Steakhouse (and former speakeasy) in Manhattan, but young Phillips eschewed the family business and devoted his life to the arts. He worked steadily on and off Broadway for a number of years, appearing in such productions as My Favorite Year; Lips Together, Teeth Apart; Modigliani and Measure for Measure with Kevin Kline at the New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park. However, Phillips may be better known for his numerous television appearances. In addition to STV and five seasons on the sitcom Benson, Phillips guest starred in dozens of other series, including Hart to Hart, Hunter, Murphy Brown, Law and Order, L.A. Law, NYPD Blue, and, more recently, JAG, Numb3rs, Criminal Minds, Boston Legal, and Bones. Phillips is co-founder of Hollywood’s First Stage, a playwright’s group based on principles developed at Sundance, and is on the board of the WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory, which helps young playwrights get their dreams realized. Phillips is also the co-author of The Star Trek Cookbook—a collection of recipes based on delicacies mentioned onscreen throughout the whole of the Star Trek franchise.
In 1987, Denise Crosby was cast in the role of Tasha Yar for the much publicized return of Star Trek to television in the syndicated series Star Trek: The Next Generation. She had been chosen to play Counsellor Deanna Troi before Gene Roddenberry switched the roles that she and Marina Sirtis had originally been given. Initially one of the top-billed characters and featured prominently in episodes such as "The Naked Now" and "Code of Honor", the role of Tasha gradually moved into the background as other members of the ensemble cast became a greater focus of the series. It has been reported that Crosby grew disillusioned with her role because of its "Uhura-like" status: "I was struggling with not being able to do much with the character. I had all these ideas and couldn't do them. I was just stage dressing." Ultimately, Crosby decided to leave the show. Her character was killed by the alien creature Armus during the episode "Skin of Evil." She had appeared in 22 episodes when she left.
In later years, Crosby approached the TNG production team with the idea of reprising her role of Tasha Yar. This came to be in season three's "Yesterday's Enterprise" in which an alternate timeline is created after the USS Enterprise-C, the predecessor to TNG's USS Enterprise-D, comes forward 22 years in time. Yar joined the Enterprise-C before it returned to its own time. During the documentary Trekkies, Crosby commented that her Tasha Yar character had to die in order to get "the best episodes".
Crosby has appeared in other television series, (X Files, The Flash, The Walking Dead, Ray Donovan, Dexter) and feature films (48 Hrs., Trail of the Pink Panther & Curse of the Pink Panther, Deep Impact, Stephen King's Pet Sematary and Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown).
Armin Shimerman is best known in the Star Trek universe for his portrayal of the Ferengi bartender Quark on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He is one of only six actors to appear in three different live action Star Trek series (The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager) as the same character. Prior to assuming the role of Quark, however, Shimerman earned the distinction of being among the first to ever portray a Ferengi in the Star Trek franchise when the race first appeared in the Next Generation episode "The Last Outpost." Shimerman went on to make two more appearances on TNG (including a second time as a Ferengi in the episode "Peak Performance") and to star on Deep Space Nine for its entire seven-year run (1993-1999). He also co-wrote the Trek novel The 34th Rule. Following DS9, the actor has appeared in dozens of series, including guest shots on L.A. Law, Seinfeld, and The Practice, and recurring characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Boston Legal. Shimerman continues performing but makes time to teach Shakespearean techniques to students at such places as Los Angeles’ High School of the Performing Arts, the Theatricum Botanicum, the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre and UCLA, among others. He serves as a National Board Member of the Screen Actors Guild.
Max Grodénchik is best known for his portrayal of Rom on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine over the course of 37 episodes. Before getting the role of Rom, he auditioned for the role of Rom’s brother, Quark. He wrote and performed Rom’s Song and performed the song The Lady is a Tramp in the Deep Space Nineepisode “The Siege of AR-558”.
Grodénchik was born in Queens, New York. He made his first on-screen appearances as Michael Grodénchik in the ’80’s. In the ’90’s, he made guest appearances in the television series Civil Wars Tales from the Crypt, Sliders, and The Drew Carey Show. Grodénchik appeared in the three time Academy Award nominated Barton Fink (1991), the comic adaptation The Rocketeer (1991), the comedy Sister Act (1992), Ron Howard’s two-time Academy Award winning Apollo 13 (1995), and in the leading role in the horror film Rumpelstiltskin (1996). Among the television series he guest starred in are ER, Crossing Jordan, Six Feet Under, and Hustle (2007).
With over 50 feature films and countless television works under his belt, Jeffrey Combs’ career spans a broad range of genres. However, he is most widely recognized and dearly loved by fans of the Sci-Fi/Horror genres. Many claim him as the modern day Vincent Price. He burst into the public consciousness with his riveting performance as Herbert West in the cult classic Re-Animator is remembered for other memorable characters in Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners (which earned him a Saturn Award nomination), The House on Haunted Hill, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and with Renee Zellwegger in Love and a .45. But without question Jeffrey is considered a mainstay in the Star Trek franchise. He has guest starred in close to 50 episodes spanning over three Star Trek series. He is the only actor to recur in two different roles in the same series. He portrayed Liquidator Brunt and the Vorta, Weyoun, on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He also recurred many times as the memorable Commander Shran on Star Trek: Enterprise.
Vaughn Armstrong’s career has spanned decades of stage, television, and film. At the Old Globe in San Diego he’s been Brutus in Julius Caesar, Bolingbroke in Richard II, Macduff in Macbeth, and many more. He’s appeared often at L.A’s Music Center and regional theatre across the country. He’s done about 100 TV shows including Mad Men, Desperate Housewives, Modern Family, West Wing, NYPD Blue, CSI, Law and Order L.A., and many others. He is best known for his many roles in Star Trek, more than any other actor, the last being Admiral Forrest in Star Trek: Enterprise. He’s the founder of the Enterprise Blues Band, a member of the Star Trek Rat Pack, father of two boys, and a Vietnam veteran. He was also a co-author of the San Diego Rep’s version of A Hammer, A Bell, And a Song to Sing. He has been the artistic director of two theatres and, while in the Army, the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the Fort Carson Little Theatre.
Casey Biggs is an actor, director, producer, musician and teacher. He created The Enterprise Blues Band with fellow members Vaughn Armstrong and Steve Rankin.
A graduate of the Juilliard School he is well known in both the world of the stage and television.
He has performed throughout the country and Europe. He has appeared in Lincoln Center’s Pride’s Crossing and spent ten years as a leading actor at Washington’s Arena Stage in productions of Taming of the Shrew, All the Kings Men, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Summer and Smoke, It’s a Wonderful Life, and The Philadelphia Story among others. Film and television credits include Broken Arrow, Dragonfly, The Pelican Brief, The Good Wife, Elementary, CSI, Person of Interest, and five years portraying Damar on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. His directing credits include Hedda Gabler, Hamlet, The Seagull, Richard III, The Three Sisters, Standup Shakespeare and Macbeth plus, for The Acting Company, Moby Dick Rehearsed, The Three Musketeers and Love, Shakespeare. He is an alumni of The Acting Company and is on the acting and directing faculty at the New School for Drama. The Enterprise Blues Band’s recordings have been best sellers throughout Europe and the US.
Star Trek: The Cruise fan favorite Robert O’Reilly appeared in the Star Trek franchise for over ten years primarily in his recurring role on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as Chancellor Gowron, the leader of the Klingon Empire.
O'Reilly made his first appearance in the Star Trek franchise with an appearance in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Manhunt". The character he played in that episode has been referred to both as "Tough guy" and "Scarface". He was then cast as the Klingon Gowron in the episode "Reunion" which saw the character become the new Chancellor of the Klingon Empire. O'Reilly had just finished appearing on stage as Edmund in King Lear and saw similarities between the two characters which resulted in him basing Gowron upon the Shakespearian character. The episode was directed by TNG cast member Jonathan Frakes, and O'Reilly later said that he thought he was hired both for the sense of curiosity he brought to the role and a piercing, unsettling gaze he and others referred to as "that crazy loon eyeball thing". O'Reilly has appeared in over a hundred films and television episodes, primarily as either the antagonist or as a villain. The television series he has appeared in include Cheers, Darkroom, Knight Rider, Sledge Hammer!, MacGyver, In the Heat of the Night, NYPD Blue, and twice in Dallas. His film appearances include the Jim Carrey led film, The Mask.
John Paladin is an accomplished makeup artist for Robert O'Reilly, J.G.Hertzler, Barbara March, and Gwynyth Walsh at convention appearances. His specialty is Klingons, and his handiwork was on full display last year on Star Trek: The Cruise, with Robert O'Reilly's appearances as Gowron and "transformations" of guests. He joins us again this year to ensure that Gown and his fellow Klingons are well represented on the voyage. He is also the owner of Paladin Productions, an audio production company,