Over the years, Star Trek has seen a variety of major stars make cameos, as well as emerging actors make an appearance, before blowing up in a big way. While the films generally see the former, with stars like Christopher Lloyd and Malcolm McDowell taking supporting roles (usually as bad guys), the TV series’ generally make up the latter. Most of the time an actor is only seen in one episode, but may be featured in up to three if their role is important to the storyline.
Since the last Star Trek TV show (Enterprise) aired from 2001-2005, and the others were well into the 1990s and beyond, it’s pretty hard to remember who guest starred on what show. Luckily, all of the Star Trek TV shows, including the original series, are now available on Netflix. However, unless you’re constantly rewatching each Star Trek series on a regular basis, (and who could blame you) you may have forgotten about the appearances of certain actors, or perhaps never gave them a second thought since they were relative unknowns at the time the episode aired. Let us refresh your memory a bit with actors you forgot appeared on the TV shows, from Star Trek: TOS to Enterprise, in preparation for May's release of the newest Star Trek on the block, Star Trek: Discovery.
15 Daniel Dae Kim
While you may know him as Jin-Soo Kwon from Lost or Chin Ho Kelly in Hawaii Five-0, Daniel Dae Kim also appeared on two different Star Trek series’. After getting bit parts in a number of TV shows—and even a regular role on the short-lived Babylon 5 spin-off, Crusade— Kim landed a single episode guest star role on Star Trek: Voyager.
Airing during the sixth season, Kim was in the episode, “Blink of an Eye,” playing an astronaut from a rapidly progressing planet Voyager gets pulled into orbit around, unintentionally affecting their planet and society. It’s a touching look at how dreams can become reality and our pursuit of the stars. Plus, we even get to hear Kim sing a touching lullaby about the “Skyship” (aka Voyager).
Three years later, Kim had a bit part as Corporal Chang of Earth’s Military Assault Command, or MACO, on Star Trek: Enterprise in the season three premiere episode, “The Xindi.” His character became part of the Xindi storyline and he reprised the role in the third episode of that season, “Extinction,” and then again in “Hatchery” near the end of the season.
14 Iggy Pop
Although he’s less known for his acting talent than his immense musical prowess, Iggy Pop has popped up in a few choice projects since the 1980s. Typically, he tends to choose roles that are off-the-wall character types or keeps to his punk rock persona. One such character he played was for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in the season six episode “The Magnificent Ferengi.”
Iggy plays one of the Dominion’s Vorta clones, Yelgrun, who negotiates with Quark and a group of other Ferengi for the safe return of Quark’s mother, Ishka. While the episode mainly focuses on the surprising ingenuity of the Ferengi, as they use their bargaining skills to make a deal with Yelgrun and avoid getting killed, you can’t help but gape in wonder at the fact that Iggy Pop’s on Star Trek.
Iggy’s sarcastic delivery as Yelgrun makes for an extremely amusing viewing of what’s otherwise a somewhat tedious episode. Even Yelgrun has no patience for the Ferengi as he mutters under his breath, “and I thought the Breen were annoying.” It’s too bad he never reprised his role; he was pretty much the only likable Vorta on the show.
13 Sid Haig
He’s not a household name, but Sid Haig is instantly recognizable for his role as Captain Spaulding, the murderous clown from Rob Zombie’s horror films House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects. He’s also one of a select few of actors to appear in multiple Quentin Tarantino films, 1997’s Jackie Brown and 2004’s Kill Bill: Vol 2. Since the 1960s, Sid Haig has acted in over 50 films and 350 television series, a number of them science fiction and horror projects, including Star Trek: TOS.
Haig appears in season one of Star Trek during an episode entitled, “The Return of the Archons.” In it, he plays one of the hooded zombie-like “law-givers” who are controlled by a dictator of sorts named Landru. Haig’s looming character absorbs Sulu with his staff in the beginning of the episode and appears to “commune” with Landru who actually turns out to be a super computer. It’s a classic role for Haig who was so consistently typecast as a thug or one of the “heavies” as he called it, that he retired from acting in 1997. Thankfully, Rob Zombie revitalized his career and he continues to thrive in the horror scene.
12 Kurtwood Smith
Whether you know him from That 70’s Show, RoboCop, or one of the other 143 film and television credits he’s racked up, Kurtwood Smith has had a prolific career. Like Daniel Dae Kim, Smith appeared on two different Star Trek series, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Before these two credits, however, he also had the honor of playing the Federation President in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
In his first Star Trek TV credit, he played Thrax, the Cardassian head of security before Odo on Deep Space Nine (then called Terok Nor). While the character was integral to the plot development of that episode, “Things Past,” Thrax didn’t make as much of an impact as his Voyager character, Annorax did.
Annorax was the villain from the two-parter “Year of Hell” in season four of Voyager who came to know the Butterfly Effect quite intimately. Every time he used his space-time distorting weapon, he destroyed another species all because he made a mistake and blew up his wife initially while trying to restore his home world’s former glory. Basically, he’s the Kang the Conquerer of the Star Trek universe.
11 Terry O'Quinn
Terry O'Quinn was yet another Lost alumni who made an appearance on a Star Trek series. That’s right, John Locke appeared on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called “The Pegasus,” in its final season. In it, he plays an admiral and former commanding officer of Will Riker from the starship Pegasus.
O’Quinn’s character, Erik Pressman, seeks to salvage an experimental phasing cloaking device he had been illegally testing for a rogue group from Starfleet Security (probably Section 31). Although he doesn’t turn into a smoke monster like Locke eventually does on Lost, Pressman does try to manipulate Riker into helping him once again for his own selfish reasons. What is it about Star Trek admirals and their thirst for power?
It’s a great Riker-centric episode with an interesting storyline thanks to Ronald D. Moore, but Pressman has one of the cheesiest lines ever, “I made you mister, and I can break you just as easily.” What is he, Riker’s mother?
10 Ashley Judd
Known mostly for her starring roles in late-90s crime dramas, and most recently as Tris’ mom in The Divergent series, Ashley Judd actually made her debut on Star Trek. Judd played Ensign Robin Lefler on two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, “The Game” and “Darmok,” both from season five.
In “Darmok,” she’s seen working with Geordi in engineering to try and beam Captain Picard off the planet where he’s taken against his will by the Tamarians. A few episodes later, she returns for “The Game” when Wesley Crusher arrives back from the academy and they engage in a bit of a flirtation.
Judd’s Lefler character is quite charming with her baby face and engineering aptitude. She’s even a bit eccentric, making up laws to remember important things she’s learned, which sounds a little like the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, although a lot less greedy. Together, with Wesley Crusher, she helps save the crew of the Enterprise from a mind control device masquerading as a new game from Risa.
9 The Rock
Amidst the peak of his WWF and WWE wrestling career in the late 90s, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, also began appearing on TV shows and movies, basically playing versions of his wrestling alter ego. One such appearance was on Star Trek: Voyager where he played a fighter during a Tsunkatse (also the name of the episode) match, where some of Voyager’s crew spent their shore leave on Norcadia Prime.
Just like his wrestling persona, The Rock gives the crowd his “People’s Eyebrow,” and even does his signature finishing move, The Rock Bottom, on Seven of Nine. Essentially, he kicks Seven’s ass and comes out as the champion of the match, much to the concern of the Voyager crew.
Even though he doesn’t have many lines, except for at the beginning of the match when he insults Seven of Nine as being “no bigger than a Tarkanian field mouse,” it’s a fun look at The Rock before he became a big movie star.
8 Ben Vereen
By the time Ben Vereen guest-starred on Star Trek: The Next Generation, he already enjoyed a successful career on both stage and screen. A Tony Award winner for his role in the Broadway production of Pippin, as well as Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for various film and television projects, Vereen was probably one of the most well-loved guest stars during the series. During the episode, “Interface,” in the final season, Vereen plays Geordi’s father, Dr. Edward La Forge. His appearance is brief, but important, making Geordi all the more determined to find his mother whose ship disappeared mysteriously.
Interestingly enough, Vereen’s casting was all thanks to Levar Burton. The two worked together on the TV show Roots, and the two remained friends for years. When a storyline with Geordi’s parents finally came to fruition on Star Trek: TNG, Burton recommended Vereen for the role, which he recounted in a 2011 interview with StarTrek.com. “I looked in the mirror and I wept. I walked out onto the set, LeVar saw me, and he said, ‘Welcome to the 21st century. Welcome to Star Trek: The Next Generation.’ It was beautiful. It was a beautiful moment.”
7 Julie Newmar
Most fans of geek culture know Julie Newmar from her time as the original Catwoman on the 1960s Batman TV show starring Adam West. Around the same time, she also guest-starred on an episode of Star Trek: TOS, playing the pregnant wife of the Capellan leader, Eleen, in the second season. While she starts out as a damsel in distress of sorts, nearly murdered by another man in her tribe, Newmar as Eleen is fierce in her own right, throwing rocks and standing up to men. Since the Capellans are a warrior race, she slaps McCoy when he touches her without her permission, but comes to respect him when he slaps her back.
Her performance is a bit dramatic for modern tastes, but there’s something about it that’s still endearing. Perhaps it’s the way she calls Dr. McCoy “Mac Coy” or when she giggles at his baby talk near the end of the episode. One thing’s for certain, she’s a commanding presence that demands to be seen and you remember her for it, even if you didn’t realize it was Julie Newmar at the time.
6 Jason Alexander
A Trek fan through and through, Jason Alexander was inspired by William Shatner’s performance as Kirk, inspiring him to pursue acting as a young man. Always wanting to appear on one of the many Star Trek TV shows, Alexander finally got his wish during season five of Voyager, after Seinfeld had ended. The producers cast him as Kurros, a problem-solving alien that puts Voyager in a dangerous situation in order to obtain something they hold valuable—Seven of Nine. After she initially refuses Kurros offer to join them, Captain Janeway and the crew discover they've been set up and work with the Hazari, who are attacking them, to get back at Kurros and his "Think Tank."
Although some of the other series had approached him before about playing a human character, Alexander was set on playing an alien. As he explained to StarTrek.com in a 2011 interview, “It was finally Voyager that understood that and called with the perfect part.” He was thrilled with Kurros explaining that “They gave me everything -- an alien guise, great intellect, and evil. The trifecta. What more could you ask for?”
5 Jonathan Banks
Long before his stints on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, as Mike Ehrmantraut, Jonathan Banks had a number of TV and film credits. He even received an Emmy nomination for his role as FBI agent, Frank McPike, in the late-80s crime drama, Wiseguy. In between these two well-known roles, however, Banks was also a guest star on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, playing the Ennis leader Golin Shel-la.
As you would expect, Banks’ character is rough around the edges, heavily scarred, but tough as nails. There’s even an inkling of Mike in his performance, a world-weariness among the tough guy exterior who only wants to protect his family, or in this case, his people. You see they, and their rivals, were put there by their homeworld after the two groups couldn’t stop fighting. As a result of artificial microbes planted there, neither side can die as they are instantly revived by the microbes. Too bad Mike didn’t have some of those during Breaking Bad as things could have turned out very differently for Walter White.
4 Sarah Silverman
Early on in her career, after getting fired from Saturday Night Live, Sarah Silverman was in a two-parter Star Trek: Voyager episode, “Future’s End.” Airing during season three, Silverman plays Rain Robinson, an astronomer from modern times (1996, when the episode aired) who is able to communicate with Voyager and help them after they were attacked and sent back in time.
Silverman is ever her perky, goofy self as Rain, eating Chinese food and searching for signs of extraterrestrial life in her Griffith Observatory lab. There are some real innuendo zingers in this episode like when Tom Paris tells her “your curves don’t look so great,” or when she asks Tuvok what that thing in his pants is. It’s the '90s at its best and one of the cleverest episodes in the series. From the many references to Los Angeles and pop culture in general to Tom Paris and Tuvok always being a little “off” as Rain tells them, “Future’s End” is actually a lot of fun to watch. Sarah Silverman is in her element in this episode, impressing the writers and producers so much, she nearly had a recurring role on the show.
3 Famke Janssen
Most of us know Famke Janssen as the X-Men’s Jean Gray, appearing in five of the films before being replaced by Sophie Turner in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse. Along the way she has appeared in a number of TV shows and films, most notably the 1995 James Bond film GoldenEye alongside Pierce Brosnan.
Even before her turn as a Bond girl, however, Janssen had a featured role in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation with bits of her Dutch accent still showing through. She plays Kamala, a metamorphic woman who becomes whatever a man so desires in his ‘perfect mate.’ Essentially she’s a mutant, like Jean Gray, she even says so herself when speaking to Captain Picard, Riker, and the Ambassador Briam. And, much like Jean, she has an empathic connection to those around her, almost to the point of telepathy and mind control, influencing their affections for her—a point of great power. All of the men aboard the Enterprise have a hard time resisting her, but it’s Commander Worf’s reaction that’s the most amusing, growling at her despite himself.
2 Seth MacFarlane
Family Guy and American Dad! creator, Seth MacFarlane, like Jason Alexander, was a long time Star Trek fan before getting a guest star role in one of the series. He frequently referenced both the original series and Star Trek: The Next Generation on Family Guy getting Patrick Stewart and Michael Dorn to voice their characters in the Star Wars themed episode “It’s A Trap!” Stewart, of course, has a regular role on American Dad! as Avery Bullock, Stan’s boss at the CIA.
MacFarlane appears in both “The Forgotten” and “Affliction” episodes from Star Trek: Enterprise’s third and fourth seasons respectively. In “The Forgotten” he gets yelled at by Commander Tucker for not doing his job well and in “Affliction” he’s part of the engineering team for the Columbia. While he doesn’t have too many lines, his character, Rivers, was actually given the first name Stewart in the Star Trek Customizable Card game, possibly referencing his Family Guy character, Stewie Griffin.
1 Teri Hatcher
Drama-plagued Wisteria Lane made Teri Hatcher a star on Desperate Housewives, as the clumsy, but adorably sexy Susan Delfino. Apart from starring on the show, her offscreen drama with cast and crew members was well publicized, putting her even further in the spotlight. Before she became a household name, she also starred as Lois Lane on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and had many other TV credits, including Star Trek: The Next Generation.
At the age of twenty-four, Hatcher appeared on Star Trek as an uncredited transporter officer whom the roguish Captain Okona (played by Billy Campbell, who nearly played Riker) tries to win over as soon as he beams aboard. Worf, Riker, Data, and Wesley all watch him work his charms on her as she gradually becomes more entranced by his confidence. Even then, Hatcher’s blatant sass comes through, which Okona seems to relish exclaiming “Now, that’s sex appeal,” to Data and Wesley.
Hatcher later went on to star alongside fellow Trek alum Whoopi Goldberg in the 1991 rom-com, Soapdish, which also featured the late Carrie Fisher as the TV executive with the memorable introduction, “I’m Betsy Faye Sharon and I’m a bitch!”