Star Trek is one of the most popular and enduring science fiction franchises in history. Countless actors have helped create all manner of iconic characters over the course of seven television series, an animated show and 13 movies. This list will look at 40 of the franchise’s best actors and let you know what they are doing today. Furthermore, the answers for a few of them may surprise you.
40. Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart is still a household name in the world of film and television over 30 years after he first starred as ship captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation. In fact, he picked up that mantle again in 2020 in the ongoing and well-received Star Trek: Picard show. Stewart is also an icon to comic book geeks everywhere and he has played Professor Charles Xavier in seven X-Men movies.
39. Nichelle Nichols
Nichelle Nichol’s Lieutenant Uhura from the original Star Trek series was an incredibly important character in the history of U.S. television. She was one of the first black women prominently featured in a major TV show and one part of the first ever interracial kiss on American television. In May 2019 Nichols announced her intention to retire from convention appearances, but she is working closely with producers of a biographical documentary about her.
38. Linda Park
Linda Park played Ensign Hoshi Sato in the Star Trek: Enterprise television series. As the ship’s communications officer, the character was integral in translating the various alien languages the crew encountered. In June 2018 the actress became a mother for the first time, and she has also enjoyed a recurring role on Amazon’s Bosch as crisis response team volunteer Jun Park.
37. Avery Brooks
Avery Brooks became the first African-American lead actor in the franchise when he landed the role of Benjamin Sisko – captain of the starship in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He even directed nine episodes: including one which dealt with racial intolerance. These days Brooks seems to have retired from acting and lives with his wife Vicki in Princeton, New Jersey. Furthermore, they have three adult children.
36. Connor Trinneer
Connor Trinneer played Charles “Trip” Tucker III on Star Trek: Enterprise. He was the starship’s chief engineer and subsequently proved popular with fans. In fact, IGN ranked him as the 21st best Star Trek character across all incarnations of the franchise in 2009. Trinneer still works regularly in television and had a featured role in the second season of The Purge – the TV spin-off of the successful horror movie franchise.
35. Jonathan Frakes
Commander William T. Riker is one of the most fondly remembered characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation. He was Jean-Luc Picard’s first officer and appeared in all 176 episodes. Actor Jonathan Frakes, meanwhile, would go on to forge a thriving career as a director. He would always stay connected to the franchise – helming movies like Star Trek: First Contact, along with episodes of Star Trek: Discovery and Picard, where he also reprised his role as Riker.
34. Robert Duncan McNeill
Like Jonathan Frakes, actor Robert Duncan McNeill transitioned from playing a long-running character in a Star Trek show to stepping behind the camera. For example, he has directed episodes of Fox’s The Gifted and The Orville. McNeill began focusing almost entirely on directing after his role as helmsman and auxiliary medic Tom Paris in 172 episodes of Star Trek: Voyager came to an end in 2001.
33. Jolene Blalock
Commander T’Pol was a Vulcan and the chief science officer in Star Trek: Enterprise. She was played by actress and model Jolene Blalock, who was critical of how the show ended in 2005 and labeled the finale “appalling,” according to the website Trek Today. Blalock’s last acting credit was the 2017 television movie A Man for Every Month. These days, she is living with her husband and three children in Malibu, California.
32. Armin Shimerman
Armin Shimerman played the money-hungry Ferengi bartender Quark in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The character also made appearances in The Next Generation and Voyager. Shimerman’s acting credits mainly come from voice acting roles in video games like Death Stranding and Ratchet & Clank, as well as animated series such as Justice League Action.
31. Nana Visitor
Kira Nerys was a senior militia officer from the planet Bajora, and she served on the Deep Space Nine space station. Actress Nana Visitor played the character for the entire run of the eponymous series and she is enjoying a reunion of sorts with two other Star Trek actors. In 2020 Visitor will star with Marina Sirtis and Terry Farrell in the television movie Storyville, which is set in New Orleans’ red-light district in 1917.
30. Wil Wheaton
Wil Wheaton was a teenager when he played Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Apparently, many Trekkies hated the character and Wheaton wound up leaving the show at 18. In 2009 he returned as a fictionalized version of himself and the arch-nemesis of Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory. Elsewhere, he’s also written about video games online and has hosted the web series TableTop.
29. Jeffrey Combs
Cult horror star Jeffrey Combs played nine different roles across the Star Trek franchise. He mostly played aliens and would look different every time due to prosthetic makeup effects. And his favorite role was reportedly Vorta clone Weyoun on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Over the years, he has voiced several prominent DC characters in cartoons: including the Scarecrow and the Question. Elsewhere, in 2019 he appeared in an episode of Shudder’s new Creepshow series.
28. Rosalind Chao
Rosalind Chao played Keiko O’Brien on both The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. Keiko was a botanist and the wife of Miles O’Brien – played by Colm Meaney. And Chao’s film career has seen something of a resurgence since 2015. She will appear in two upcoming Disney blockbusters: Mulan and Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
27. Alexander Siddig
Sudanese-born English star Alexander Siddig played Dr. Julian Bashir for seven seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. And he still appears regularly on-screen today. He played iconic Batman villain Ra’s al Ghul in Fox’s Gotham, Doran Martell in Game of Thrones and Reuben Oliver in Peaky Blinders. He also had a supporting role in the 2019 crime thriller 21 Bridges.
26. Gates McFadden
Dr. Beverly Crusher – played by Gates McFadden – was a lynchpin of Star Trek: The Next Generation and its four subsequent feature movies. The actress last appeared on-screen in a 2017 episode of NCIS, and her last recurring role was in legal comedy series Franklin & Bash, which ended in 2013. She lives with her husband John Talbot and together they have a son called James.
25. Kate Mulgrew
Kate Mulgrew will be extremely familiar to the current generation of Netflix binge-watchers. She has played Galina “Red” Reznikov – the intimidating matriarch of Litchfield Penitentiary – in seven seasons of Orange Is the New Black. But to Star Trek fans, Mulgrew will always be Captain Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager. The role was ground-breaking at the time, as she was the franchise’s first female captain.
24. Colm Meaney
Irish actor Colm Meaney has enjoyed a brilliant career in film and television. He is best known to Star Trek fans for playing Chief Miles O’Brien in Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation. More recently, Meaney has starred as vicious gang boss Finn Wallace in Gangs of London, and also appeared in the AppleTV+ movie The Banker and 2019’s Tolkien.
23. Roxann Dawson
Roxann Dawson is another Star Trek alumnus who was able to gain experience behind the camera on the show and later develop it into a career. She starred as B’Elanna Torres in 170 episodes of Star Trek: Voyager – two of which she directed. Dawson then moved on to helm ten episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise. The star’s most recent directing credits at the time of writing include This Is Us, The Deuce and The Morning Show.
22. Brent Spiner
Brent Spiner played the android Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation and four subsequent movies. The actor then made a triumphant return to the role after an 18-year gap in 2020’s Star Trek: Picard. Spiner also has a recurring role in Penny Dreadful: City of Angels and played a sinister preacher called Sidney in the comic book adaptation Outcast.
21. Jennifer Lien
Jennifer Lien was a star for the first three seasons of Star Trek: Voyager as the alien Kes. However, in recent years the actress’ personal life has made more headlines than any acting roles. In 2015 she was accused of ramming a police cruiser with her car, allegedly exposed herself to minors, was charged with a DUI and was ordered to seek mental health treatment. Then, in 2018 cops arrested her twice for driving on a revoked license.
20. Terry Farrell
Jadzia Dax was the chief science officer on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and a joined Trill who lived in a symbiotic relationship with an ancient being named Dax. She was played by actress Terry Farrell, who retired from acting in 2002. But in a unique twist of fate, she married Adam Nimoy – the son of legendary Spock actor Leonard – 16 years later.
19. Walter Koenig
Pavel Chekov was the navigator of the Starship Enterprise in the original Star Trek series. Playing the role was Russian-American actor Walter Koenig, and he joined more than 40 actors from across Star Trek’s many incarnations to appear in Unbelievable!!!! – a parody sci-fi movie soon to be released. The film also features Michael Madsen, Snoop Dogg and Gilbert Gottfried.
18. Garrett Wang
Garrett Wang starred as operations officer Harry Kim in Star Trek: Voyager. The actor later went on to become a celebrity moderator for panels at comic book and sci-fi conventions. He also claimed in a 2020 episode of The Delta Flyers podcast that he nearly ran over Harrison Ford in the parking lot of Paramount Studios in the mid-1990s. Wang joked, “I look at him and I go, ‘Oh my God, I almost killed Han Solo!’ I would have been hated by nerds everywhere.”
17. LeVar Burton
LeVar Burton played the blind, VISOR-wearing character Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation. These days, Burton is a director and his most recent work was on episodes of NCIS: New Orleans. Furthermore, he also hosts his own popular podcast – LeVar Burton Reads – in which he narrates short stories blended with high-quality soundscapes.
16. Tim Russ
Tim Russ played Lieutenant Commander and Vulcan Tuvok in Star Trek: Voyager. And the commanding actor continues to work prolifically in television today. In 2019 alone he appeared in episodes of The Orville, Black Monday, Swamp Thing, PENI15, American Horror Story: 1984 and How to Get Away with Murder.
15. Ethan Phillips
Ethan Phillips might be recognizable from Armando Iannucci’s HBO sci-fi comedy Avenue 5, where he plays former astronaut and alcoholic reprobate Spike Williams. The actor is on television fairly regularly and has had spots on shows including Better Call Saul, Girls and New Amsterdam. But Trekkies will forever remember him as Neelix on Star Trek: Voyager.
14. Cirroc Lofton
Cirroc Lofton became a man in front of Star Trek fans’ very eyes. He was 14 when he started playing Benjamin Sisko’s son Jake in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and by the time the show drew to a close he was a strapping 21-year-old. Lofton now owns and operates a restaurant with his wife Sara in Culver City, California.
13. John Billingsley
Dr. Phlox was a Denobulan alien in Star Trek: Enterprise and was the chief medical officer. The actor – John Billingsley – went on to play Coroner Mike Spencer in HBO’s hit vampire show True Blood. He still appears fairly regularly on TV – usually playing doctors or professors – and his recent credits include Homecoming, Shameless and The Resident.
12. Robert Beltran
Latino actor Robert Beltran played Commander Chakotay on Star Trek: Voyager for six years until 2001. And the star has performed a lot on stage over the subsequent years. In fact, in 1995 he founded the East LA Classic Theater Group. He has also directed a production of Mariela in the Desert, which ran at the Casa 0101 Theater in Los Angeles until late 2016.
11. Marina Sirtis
Deanna Troi actress Marina Sirtis played the character in Star Trek: The Next Generation and across four shows and several movies. However, she made the headlines on several occasions in 2019. Sirtis had her London West End theater debut that June, but then her husband Michael Lamper died in the following December. She also found herself in hot water after she criticized Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Black Lives Matter Twitter posts, telling the composer, “Your platitudes are pointless.”
10. Anthony Montgomery
Anthony Montgomery played ensign Travis Mayweather across all four seasons of Star Trek: Enterprise. He continued to act regularly, and in December 2019 finished a four-year run as a series regular on General Hospital. As an interesting side note, in 2013 he co-wrote the graphic novel Miles Away – a story about a special needs teen who fights aliens.
9. George Takei
George Takei is beloved for playing Hikaru Sulu on the original Star Trek series in the ‘60s. However, in more recent years he has turned to activism and campaigned for LGBTQ rights. Takei recently co-wrote a graphic novel memoir entitled They Called Us Enemy, which is about his childhood spent in American internment camps during World War II. In 2019 he also starred in AMC’s The Terror: Infamy, which is a horror story set in the same conditions.
8. Dominic Keating
Lieutenant Malcolm Reed was the tactical officer in 98 episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise. He was played by English actor Dominic Keating, who later also enjoyed stints on Heroes and Sons of Anarchy. Keating has returned to working on British films in the last few years – appearing in gangster flick Once Upon a Time in London and thriller The Host.
7. Michael Dorn
Michael Dorn played the noble Klingon Worf in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Dorn holds the distinction of appearing in more Star Trek productions than any other actor in the franchise’s history – having starred in a mind-boggling 272 episodes and five films. He has mostly plied his trade in voicework in recent years – lending his deep, commanding tone to countless comic book and video game characters.
6. Nicole de Boer
Toronto actress Nicole de Boer played Ezri Dax on the last season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Ezri was effectively a replacement for Terry Farrell’s Jadzia Dax, and fan reaction wasn’t positive. The star continues to act to this day and most recently played a recurring role in 13 episodes of hit Canadian crime comedy Private Eyes.
5. Scott Bakula
Scott Bakula is fondly remembered for his starring role as Dr. Sam Beckett in the sci-fi cult hit Quantum Leap. But he also played commanding officer Jonathan Archer in the four seasons of Star Trek: Enterprise. At the time of writing, Bakula is starring in another long-running network show: NCIS: New Orleans.
4. Denise Crosby
Denise Crosby played Tasha Yar on the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Though the actress chose to leave the show due to feeling frustrated over what she thought were limitations placed on the character. Crosby went on to be a prolific TV star – appearing in recurring roles on Ray Donovan, The Walking Dead and Southland. In 2019 she also played attorney Faye Richardson in the ninth and final season of legal drama Suits.
3. Jeri Ryan
Seven of Nine – the Borg drone turned hero in Star Trek: Voyager – was a star-making role for actress Jeri Ryan. The character was hugely popular by the time the series ended, with Frank Ahrens at The Washington Post calling her “the first authentic [Star Trek] bombshell since Uhura.” Ryan reprised the character in 2020’s Star Trek: Picard and is also recurring on CBS’ rebooted MacGyver series.
2. Robert Picardo
Robert Picardo played The Doctor – a so-called Emergency Medical Hologram Mark I – in Voyager and the film Star Trek: First Contact. In 2019 Picardo appeared in four episodes of the AppleTV+ show Dickinson, two episodes of superhero series The Flash, and two more in CBS military legal drama The Code. He also played himself on an episode of The Goldbergs spin-off Schooled.
1. William Shatner
William Shatner is one of those actors who really ascends to the status of a genuine cultural icon. Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise is indelibly burned into the consciousness of television viewers of all ages. And Shatner is still a presence on our screens. He hosts The UnXplained, a History Channel docuseries which uncovers mysteries that have puzzled humanity for centuries.