Marina Sirtis celebrates her birthday today, and Star Trek: The Next Generation's Deanna Troi remains as ageless as ever. To mark the occasion, StarTrek.com is pleased to share 9 Things You Should Know About Marina Sirtis. And they are...
The Early Days
Born in London to Greek parents, Sirtis attended the Guild Hall School of Music and Drama. After graduating, she became a member of the Worthing Repertory Theater, where she made her debut as Ophelia in Hamlet.
Why a Ship's Counselor on TNG?
"When I got cast, Gene Roddenberry said that it was his belief that by the 24th century mental health would be as important as physical health, and that you'd need a counselor on board a ship," Sirtis told the crowd at Star Trek: Mission New York in September 2016. "I think we need it sooner. We need it now. He felt and he was right, that it's as important as physical health.
A Memorable "Face"
It should suprise no one that Sirtis selected "Face of the Enemy" as her favorite Troi-centric episode. That's the one in which Troi was transformed into a Romulan. "I was really proud of that one," Sirtis told StarTrek.com in 2012. "That’s when they lost the big hair and the glamour makeup and the skintight spacesuit and put me into something that was really unattractive. They seemed to go, 'Oh, wow, yeah, we hired her because she’s an actress.' From then on, it seemed that my part got much better in terms of a variety of things. She wasn’t just decorative. She wasn’t just this nice, understanding person who was there to help everyone out when they had a problem. You saw different sides of her and, like I said, I think that episode of opened a lot of different boxes in the writers’ head."
She Only Played a Futuristic Space Traveler
"I am such a Luddite," Sirtis told StarTrek.com in 2011. "If I could live without a computer, I totally would, because I hate it. I hate technology. I hate the invasion of one’s privacy. I hate the fact that people want to know what you’re doing 24-7. I mean, personally, I’m not interested in what I’m doing 24 hours a day, let alone what anyone else is doing 24 hours a day. I cannot understand it. It doesn’t compute with me. The fact the technology has made Star Trek look better, that’s great."
Goodbye, For Now
Her last appearance as Deanna Troi was, ironically, in an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, where she played opposite her longtime TNG co-star, Jonathan Frakes.
Sirtis and Majel Barrett-Roddeberry, who played Deanna's mother, Lwaxana, had grown very close. Barrett-Roddenberry died in December, 2008, but she got to say farewell to her old friend. "I saw her not long before she passed," Sirtis told StarTrek.com. "It was really hard for me because I’d lost my own mother a couple of years before Majel passed. I remember having a cup of coffee with Majel and saying to her, 'You know, you’ve got to last a little longer because you’re the only mom I’ve got left now.' Unfortunately, she didn’t last too much longer than my own mother. So it was devastating. I really miss Majel. She was just a force of nature. She really was, and the world is a smaller place without her."
The Troi Effect
Sirtis hears all the time from fans who tell her how her portrayal of Troi inspired them to become counselors, social workers or therapists. One such person, a female attendee at last year's Star Trek: Mission New York, credited Sirtis for her becoming a social worker. After she hugged the woman, Sirtis explained to the audience, "That blows my mind because, look at me, loud and obnoxious. That I inspired anybody? Thank you. It's a privilege."
Sirtis has been married to rock guitarist Michael Lamper since 1992. He actually played an Acamarian Gatherer (shown in image above, on the right) in the TNG episode "The Vengeance Factor."
Far from Troi
Since 2013, Sirtis has played the recurring role of Orli Elbaz, Director of Mossad, on NCIS. In her most recent appearance, in the 13th season episode "Family First," Sirtis/Elbas dropped the bombshell news that after Ziva's departure from NCIS, she and Tony DiNozzo had a child together, a daughter they named Tali.
Please join StarTrek.com in wishing Sirtis a Happy Birthday!