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 graduated from Boston University with a BA in English literature, and went on to earn an MFA from Cornell. Like several of his costars on Star Trek: Voyager, Phillips began his acting career onstage. 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 the seven years he spent on Star Trek: Voyager as Neelix 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 spent ten summers at Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute as part of the Playwrights Lab, both as an actor and a writer. He 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 author of Penguin Blues, a play that has been produced more than 150 times throughout the U.S. and Canada, and 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.
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