EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: DS9 & Voyager Guest Star Megan Gallagher
Megan Gallagher is one of those actors who has been on just about every possible show – as a regular, recurring character or guest star -- over the past three decades. Cases in point: Hill Street Blues, China Beach, The Larry Sanders Show, E.R., Nowhere Man, Millennium, Without a Trace, 7th Heaven, 24, The Mentalist and CSI. Star Trek fans, of course, will remember her trio of appearances. She played Mareel in the Deep Space Nine episode “Invasive Procedures,” Nurse Garland in DS9’s “Little Green Men” and Lt. Jaryn in the Voyager hour, “Body and Soul.”
A deeper look at Gallagher’s life and career reveal Trek connections beyond those three episodes. She’s still pals with China Beach co-star Robert Picardo and, in fact, very purposefully positioned her table next to his in the dealers’ room at Creation Entertainment’s Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas in August. And also there in that dealers’ room that weekend, seated at a table diagonally across from her: Catherine Hicks, who portrayed Dr. Gillian Taylor in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Gallagher and Hicks are actually sisters-in-law; Gallagher is married to Jeff Yagher, an actor best known for his role on the sci-fi series V and his guest turns as Iden in the Voyager two-parter, “Flesh and Blood,” while Hicks is married to Jeff’s brother, makeup and special effects guru, Kevin Yagher. StarTrek.com sat down with charming and lovely Gallagher at the Creation event to discuss all of the above and more. Here’s what she had to say:
How did you land your first role, Mareel, on Star Trek?
GALLAGHER: It was an offer, actually. I knew one of the producers at the time, Merri Howard. Actually, all of my Star Treks were offers, which was nice.
What did you appreciate about the character, the episode?
GALLAGHER: First of all, there was a good back story. I loved working with John Glover. The whole cast was great. Nana (Visitor) and I had a cool fight scene to do. She has a theater background and I have a theater background. I’d studied stage fighting and combat and all of that. So that was fun, going into your tool box and using something you paid a lot of money to learn how to do.
Give us a good anecdote about “Little Green Men.”
GALLAGHER: I actually do have a funny story about “Little Green Men.” Apparently there was a breakdown put out for that episode where they were looking for a “Megan Gallagher type.” My agent at the time called them and said, “You know, Megan Gallagher might be able to do it.” So, they went, “Hmmm,” and they offered it to me. They probably wanted a Megan Gallagher type, but younger. Younger, always. (Laughs)
Do you realize how well-regarded “Little Green Men” is by the fans?
GALLAGHER: Oh my God, yes. Not to brag, but I’ve got a long resume. I’ve done six television series as a regular and recurred on a lot of other shows, and I have gotten more fan mail about that individual episode than anything else I’ve ever done, including the entire run of Millennium. Actually, I’d say “Little Green Men” and Larry Sanders are on a par with each other. But I think people loved “Little Green Men” because it was funny and different, and because of the whole mythology and mystery surrounding Roswell. When you mix Star Trek and Roswell, I think it just triggers various parts of the sci-fi brain simultaneously. And the episode was just really beautifully done, the way they shot it, the Dutch angles, all of the period stuff, the sort of It Came from Outer Space way it looked. It had all these great inside jokes. It just combined so many different and fun things about being a sci-fi fan.
Your husband Jeff was on Voyager. How true is that his appearance pretty much paved the way for your appearance in “Body and Soul"?
GALLAGHER: Very true. He’d done a double episode of Voyager right before me. I literally just came and visited him on the set and Robbie McNeill, who I knew only socially at the time, was going to direct “Body and Soul.” I think I’d met him through Bob (Picardo). So, Robbie was there and so was Merri Howard, and they were looking for someone to play Jaryn. I think it was Merri who came up and said, “Are you free? Are you available in the next couple of weeks?” I was, and so that just happened. And what’s funny is Robbie directed an episode of Warehouse 13 that I just did up in Toronto. But I loved working with Bob. He’s one of my best friends in the world. Our tables being next to each other, that was totally planned. We have the same representative for conventions. Bob is the one who convinced me, several years ago, to do some of these.
How do you enjoy the conventions?
GALLAGHER: They’re great. I haven’t done tons of them, but it’s fun to get out and meet people who are excited by your work. I did start in the theater, and when you’re on the (convention) stage, you’re kind of experiencing the live aspect of theater. I’ve done mostly TV for a long time, and working on camera is, in a sense, like a message in a bottle. You don’t get the feedback right away. So it’s lovely to see people and to be appreciated. I don’t take it for granted for a second.
How strange is it to have your sister-in-law sitting 10 feet away from you?
GALLAGHER: Isn’t that funny? Cat’s in my family. I love her. She’s my sister-in-law, but I was a fan of hers before I ever knew her. She’s a fantastic actress. I loved her in the Star Trek movie that she did. I thought that was one of the best movies and by far the best of the TOS movies. I also loved the Marilyn Monroe miniseries she did. That was the first time I really saw her and I thought she was fantastic. But, yeah, we’re married to the Yagher brothers. So, all of these worlds collide.
What are you up to these days?
GALLAGHER: I just started recurring on the show Suits. That shoots up in Toronto. It’s a great show and I love doing it. It’s smart and has some humor in it. Wendell Pierce was just in the episodes I did, and we go way back. We were at Juilliard at the same time. We play the parents of Meghan Markle. They’ve started to focus on the family this year, so they’ve introduced a bunch of new characters. My character is one of the new characters, and she’s a lot of fun. The Warehouse 13 I mentioned is one of the last episodes of the show and it will air next year, I think. Joanne Kelly is a doll. Eddie (McClintock) is hilarious. The whole cast and crew is wonderful. Not a difficult personality in the bunch. Same with Suits. Life is too short for that kind of stuff. Jack Kenny, the creator/executive producer of Warehouse 13, is another old friend of mine. He also went to Juilliard. He’s been saying for years, “Oh, I’ll get you on. I’ll get you on.” They were down to the last six episodes and he rewrote a part, which was supposed to be played by a man, for me. Some strange things go on and it turns out that I’m at the center of it and why it’s happening.
GALLAGHER: I’ve also done a film called Get a Job, which is with Bryan Cranston and Anna Kendrick, and I play Bryan’s wife. I don’t know when that’s coming out. It’s been a busy year.