Kate Mulgrew likes to attribute her commanding presence as Captain Kathryn Janeway—the first and, thus far, only female commander to lead a Star Trek series—to her upbringing as the oldest and bossiest girl in an Irish Catholic family of eight children. She had an early affinity for acting and moved from her birth city of Dubuque, Iowa to New York City at the age of 17 to study professionally. While attending New York University she was accepted to Stella Adler Conservatory, but left school following her junior year in order to pursue a fulltime acting career. By the time she turned 21, she had already appeared in an American Shakespeare Theatre production of Our Town and had a regular role on the soap opera Ryan’s Hope. Within a few short years she won the lead in the television series Mrs. Columbo. But although she would guest on additional television series and pop up in featured roles in TV movies and theatrical films over the next two decades, treading the footlights was her acting forte, whether the part was Desdemona in Othello, Regina in Another Part of the Forest or the title characters in Major Barbara and Hedda Gabler. Her casting in Star Trek: Voyager tied up much of her free time over the show’s seven-year run, but when it concluded she made a beeline back to the stage. Since 2002, she has received critical acclaim for her remarkable transformation into actress Katharine Hepburn in numerous productions of the play Tea at Five. Over the past few years, Mulgrew has made periodic returns to the small screen, as a cast member of the television series The Black Donnellys and Mercy.
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