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Kate Mulgrew's Best Non-Trek Roles

From 'Mrs. Columbo' to 'Orange is the New Black,' Mulgrew has always had the range.


If you're visiting, we don't have to tell you that Star Trek: Voyager was arguably Kate Mulgrew's finest hour as an actress. But we also never forget that she's enjoyed a long and enduring career on television, stage, and the big screen. So to celebrate Mulgrew's birthday this week, thought we'd look at her other most-memorable roles:

Ryan's Hope

Early in Mulgrew's career, she co-starred on this soap opera, playing the character Mary Ryan. From 1975 to 1978 she appeared in more than 400 episodes. A trio of other actresses assumed the role over ensuing seasons, but none quite filled Mulgrew's talented shoes. In a twist, the Voyager actress would eventually return to Ryan's Hope to say goodbye... as Mary's ghost.

Mrs. Columbo

Mulgrew starred as Kate Columbo, the wife of the beloved, disheveled crime-solver, Lt. Columbo, in this Columbo spin-off series that debuted in 1979. Mrs. Columbo featured Kate as a newswoman with a young child and a knack for solving crimes. Sadly, everyone involved with Columbo, including its star Peter Falk, stayed clear of Mrs. Columbo and ABC canceled the show after just one season and 13 episodes.

Throw Momma from the Train

Some fans might argue that their favorite film role of Mulgrew's is Major Fleming in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (which also co-starred her friend and future Voyager guest star Joel Grey) but we're going with Throw Momma from the Train. This 1987 Danny DeVito-directed black comedy is considered by many to be a classic. In it, struggling novelist and community college writing teacher Larry (Billy Crystal) announces his desire to see his ex-wife Margaret (Mulgrew), "dead, dead, dead.' Who overhears that but Owen (DeVito), a creepy fellow who wants his vile mother, Momma Lift (Anne Ramsey), "dead, dead, dead?" The plot that follows is reminiscent of the Alfred Hitchcock classic Strangers on a Train. Among Mulgrew's most memorable moments — a successful, boastful, Larry-hating Margaret being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey.

Tea at Five

How many times over the decades have people cited the resemblance between Mulgrew and the legendary actress Katharine Hepburn? Too many to count. So, it surprised no one (and entertained everyone) when Mulgrew portrayed Hepburn in several productions of the one-woman play Tea at Five, starting with one at Hartford Stage in 2002. She also led a staging in New York City.

Orange Is The New Black

Mulgrew co-stars on the Netflix series as Galina “Red” Reznikov, the tough-as-nails, yet maternal, inmate and head chef at Litchfield Penitentiary.  Among her funniest lines: "I have a birthmark on my left butt cheek that's shaped like a scarab. Doesn't make me Cleopatra," and "I worked with the Russian mafia. We make the Italians look like guppies," and "All problems are boring until they're your own."

What's your favorite non-Trek Muglrew role or project? And please join us in wishing Mulgrew a grand happy birthday tomorrow, April 29th!