Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted in syndication the week of September 28, 1987. So, believe it or not, the 25th anniversary of the series that captured lightning in a bottle… again, is upon us. Events of all kinds have been occurring in the Star Trek universe, from the release of TNG Blu-rays to a handful of full-cast convention appearances. StarTrek.com thought it’d be revealing, informative and entertaining to reach out to as many full-time first-season TNG actors as we could corral and ask each of them to answer six questions. Today, in part three of our cast interview, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden, Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes, Wil Wheaton and Denise Crosby answer the following question:
TNG welcomed a lot of great guest stars over the years. Who were you personally most excited to meet and/or share scenes with – and why?
Wil Wheaton: I thought it was pretty awesome that Mick Fleetwood was on the show. I talked with him, geeked out at him about growing up listening to his music, and never once got to see his face, because he was in wardrobe and makeup as a giant fish the entire time.
Brent Spiner: Whoopi (Goldberg), although she was recurring. Saul Rubinek. I knew Saul already, but I loved working with him. I’d worked with Jean Simmons before. I didn’t really get to work with her in the episode, but it was just great having her around. I think, if you made a list of all of the actors who’ve been on Star Trek, in all of its incarnations, it’s a pretty impressive bunch of people, acting-wise. Every series had wonderful regular actors, and the guest stars were incredible. The films had really interesting people. It’s a pretty interesting batch of folks.
Denise Crosby: My favorite guest star was Christopher McDonald, who played Lt. Castillo in “Yesterday’s Enterprise.” I have never laughed so hard in my life! We had a great connection right from the start...Chris and I would go on to play husband and wife in a film called Divorce: A Contemporary Western, and I turned around and did a guest appearance on his legal drama he did for CBS.
Jonathan Frakes: You probably know I'm going to say this, but to direct… I was honored to work with the talented and beautiful Jean Simmons. I just thought she was spectacular. Also, like everybody else, I’m a huge John de Lancie fan. I loved Michelle Forbes and Carolyn McCormick, who played Minuet. I have a soft spot for all these people in my heart. And the idea that Stephen Hawking was on the show, that Colin Powell came to visit, that Mae Jemison was on the show… that’s just nuts. Then there are the people who don’t admit they were on the show, like Ashley Judd and Teri Hatcher.
Gates McFadden: My two biggest thrills were in the movies. (We had) Malcolm McDowell, who’s an awesome actor, and Tom Morello, who’s an unbelievable guitarist. In episodes, (we had) Stephen Hawking, who was brilliant and funny, Jean Simmons, who was very classy, and Madeleine Albright, who was super-smart and funny (when she visited the set).
Michael Dorn: I loved Jean Simmons, John Anderson, and John Colicos. Along with being a joy to work with, you "saw" why they are stars.
Marina Sirtis: If you look back, when they were really good guests stars on the show, someone didn’t work very much that week, and it was usually me. The only really spectacular guest star, or important Star Trek guest star that I got to work with was Jimmy Doohan. Of course, I knew him from the Star Trek conventions and the Star Trek functions we’d been to together, etc. He was such a delightful man, a sweetheart. It was lovely working with him. He still had it. He came prepared. He knew his lines, which can’t be said for some of the younger guest stars we had; no names. So that was great, but I never got to work with Jean Simmons, which I would have loved to have done. I never got to work with Leonard Nimoy, which I would have loved to have done. De Kelley, again, never worked with him. Patrick and Brent got the good guest stars, and that’s understandable. The two most popular characters get good gigs. That’s the way it goes on TV.
Visit StarTrek.com again tomorrow, as the TNG cast discusses which TNG film they considered the best working experience. And click HERE and HERE to read part one and two of our cast interview.
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