16 offbeat non-Star Trek performances by Trek actors

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Adam-Troy Castro
Dec 14, 2012

The stars of the various Star Treks are so burned into our minds as their respective characters that it's sometimes hard to imagine them as anything else. But they've all had careers both before and after donning Starfleet colors, including some well-known roles and some a little off the beaten path.

Here are some of the good, bad and regrettable appearances of the few, the proud and the boldly going.

William Shatner

William Shatner's oddest role, bar none, was in Incubus, the only full-length motion picture ever filmed in the made-up language Esperanto.

Leonard Nimoy

On Gunsmoke, Leonard Nimoy shows a level of animation and emotional involvement as a native American that would horrify most Vulcans.

Brent Spiner

Master of Disguise is, by this reviewer's estimation, the single worst movie ever to feature any alumnus of Star Trek ... and at the same time the single worst movie ever to feature any alumnus of Saturday Night Live. That makes it simultaneously worse than It's Pat and worse than Night of the Lepus. Impressive. Here's Brent Spiner as the villain.

Majel Barrett

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? It didn't spoil Majel Barrett.

Nichelle Nichols

Here's Nichelle Nichols, and an entirely new definition of opening hailing frequencies, in Truck Turner.

George Takei

George Takei's best movie was probably Prisoners of the Sun, a nuanced courtroom drama about Japanese officers on trial for war crimes after World War II. He received star billing even though his character exits early on.

Walter Koenig

Walter Koenig appeared in "Memos From Purgatory," a fact-based story about Harlan Ellison's infiltration of a street gang, for Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

James Doohan

James Doohan's facility with accents got him a number of roles before he found himself stuck with that burr. Here he is on Gunsmoke.

DeForest Kelley

Before McCoy, DeForest Kelley was best known for playing supporting roles in westerns. Among his more prominent roles were Warlock with Henry Fonda and Richard Widmark and Gunfight at the OK Corral with Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster. But before all that he was a rancher saved by the Lone Ranger, Tonto and a bunch of old people.

Jonathan Frakes

Jonathan Frakes channels his inner Riker as he picks ups Cheryl Ladd on Charlie's Angels.

Rene Auberjonois

Rene Auberjonois had a distinguished resume as a character actor, long before he appeared as Constable Odo, in such films as McCabe & Mrs. Miller. We deeply enjoyed this judge he played on The Practice, whose attempts to be inspirational almost changed the fate of a defendant who couldn't resist laughing at him.

John de Lancie

John de Lancie played hell's subcontractor on The New Twilight Zone. You may note another Star Trek veteran among those bound for hell.

Robert Beltran

Robert Beltran gets a nasty surprise in Night of the Comet.

Robert Picardo

Robert Picardo played international criminal "The Cowboy" in the Martin Short/Dennis Quaid vehicle Innerspace. What a lounge lizard.

Colm Meaney

Colm Meaney was the star of The Van, a charming indie about a family that invests in a lunch truck. Alas, there were some kinks that needed to be worked out.

Kate Mulgrew

Kate Mulgrew's oddest career moment was a short-lived TV series, Mrs. Columbo, that purported to show us how the spouse often referenced on Peter Falk's classic TV show about the male half of the couple often solved crimes on her own. It was ... not ... a hit.