September 8, 2021 marks 55 years since the pilot episode of Star Trek: The Original Series was aired. Over the years, the franchise has become a phenomenon and guests have been lining up to appear on it. Below are some of the more famous guest stars.
Future movies stars
Some big-screen big names cut their teeth with various acting roles that included a spot on one of the Star Trek shows.
Dwayne The Rock Johnson
When he was simply known as “The Rock,” Dwayne Johnson was a guest on Star Trek: Voyager in the episode “Tsunkatse.” He played a champion of Tsunkatse, allowing those who weren’t already familiar with him in his WWE role to marvel at those muscles.
Movie-goers first took note of Kirsten Dunst when she played the diminutive vampire Claudia opposite Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire. But just the year before, she had been in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She played a telepathic character called Hedril in the episode “Dark Page.”
The star of Bring It On and 10 Things I Hate About You also played N’Garen in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in 1997. In the episode “Sons and Daughters,” she was one of the Klingon officers who teased Worf’s son.
While Teri Garr would go on to win an Academy Award for her supporting role in Tootsie, one of her earliest roles was as Roberta Lincoln in Star Trek: The Original Series. In “Assignment Earth,” the Enterprise crew travels back to 1968 where Teri Garr’s character is caught up in a plot with the mysterious agent Gary Seven.
A special sub-category of upcoming movie stars includes those who went on to become Bond girls.
Before becoming a household name in Lois and Clark and becoming a Bond girl in Tomorrow Never Dies, Teri Hatcher had a small role in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode called ‘The Outrageous Okona.” Her character, Lieutenant BG Robinson, was working on the transport deck when the charming and flirtatious Captain Thadiun Okona beamed onboard.
Three years before she would play Xenia Onatopp in Goldeneye, Famke Janssen played Kamala in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called ‘The Perfect Mate.” Kamala is an empath destined for an arranged marriage who ends up falling in love with Picard.
Janssen has another connection with Star Trek in that she was supposed to play Jadzia Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but she turned the role down to focus on her film career.
Future TV Stars
As well as showcasing future movie stars, Star Trek guests also included those who would go on to become household names from TV shows.
While best known for her role in Dynasty, Joan Collins had guest roles in both Star Trek: The Original Series and another classic sixties show The Man from U.N.C.L.E. In another time travel episode called “City on the Edge of Forever,” Kirk and Spock find themselves back in the time of the Great Depression, where they encounter Edith Keeler, who becomes an integral part of their journey to return to the Enterprise.
When talking about Mark Sheppard, the question is: what sci-fi hasn’t he been in? From Doctor Who to Supernatural, The X Files to Battlestar Galactica, he’s had a role in them all. In 2000, he played a character called Leucon in the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Child’s Play.” Interestingly, Mark Sheppard is the son of W. Morgan Sheppard who also appeared on Star Trek: Voyager, making Mark one of the few children of a Star Trek guest actor to appear in the franchise himself.
This star of Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives appeared in a 1996 episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. In the episode “Let He Who Is Without Sin,” she played Arandis, the chief facilitator of the Temtibi lagoon who finds herself caught up with a political protest on her home planet.
Various actors from incredibly popular sitcoms also had guest roles in Star Trek.
By 1992, Kelsey Grammer was already well-known as Dr. Frasier Crane in Cheers, and would shortly be starting his own spin-off show, Frasier. But he found the time to play Captain Morgan Bateson in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Cause and Effect.” Caught in a time loop, the Enterprise crew encounter Captain Bateson and his ship the USS Bozeman, who have been trapped in the loop for 90 years.
Another actor from Cheers and Frasier, Bebe Neuwirth is best known as playing Dr. Lilith Sternin, Frasier’s estranged wife. However, in “First Contact” in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Neuwirth played Nurse Lanel.
Moving the focus from Frasier to another hit sitcom, Jason Alexander (who played George Constanza in Seinfeld) portrayed Kumos in the episode ‘Think Tank” on Star Trek: Voyager. Kumos is the spokesman for a think tank that offers to help solve an issue between Voyager and some bounty hunters in return for Seven of Nine joining them.
It’s not just actors who got in on the Star Trek action. Several musicians also had guest roles.
“The Magnificent Ferengi” is a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode that sees Quark putting together a mission to rescue his mother from the hands of the Dominion. Iggy Pop guest stars as a character called Yelgrum the Vorta. If you watch closely, you’ll see that Iggy often holds his left arm. This is due to an injury he sustained at a concert the night before when a stage dive when wrong. Despite his pain, he still turned up for filming.
In the episode “Manhunt” in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lwaxanna Troi arrives and causes havoc with her flirtations first with Picard and then Riker. If you’re watching closely, you can see Fleetwood Mac’s drummer in a surprising cameo, but you have to look very closely as he’s under heavy makeup as an Antedian Dignitary.
Another musician unable to resist the lure of a Star Trek role was the guitarist for Rage Against the Machine. Having had an uncredited role as an officer in Star Trek: Insurrection, Morella was Crewman Mitchell in the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Good Shepherd.”
Famous beyond words
There were two specific guests whose own fame outdoes even that of Star Trek.
While most guest stars appear as a fictional character, Stephen Hawking actually appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation as himself in the episode “Descent – Part I.” The opening sequence has Data as the dealer in a poker game between Hawking, Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein on the Holodeck.
King Abdullah II
The King of Jordan was such a fan of the Star Trek shows that he convinced the producers to allow him to appear in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager when he was the then-Crown Prince of Jordan. They agreed, and Abdullah II had an uncredited cameo as a Science Division Officer in the episode ‘Investigations.’
Sadly, as the king is not a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild, he was not able to deliver any lines.