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Marina Sirtis

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Basic Information

Marina Sirtis



Date of Birth: 29 March 1955
Place of Birth: London, England, UK
Height: 5' 4½" (1.64 m)







Biography

Marina Sirtis (born March 29, 1955(1955-03-29)) is a British-American actress who is most noted for playing the Human/Betazoid Counselor Deanna Troi on the television and film series Star Trek: The Next Generation.


Background

Sirtis was born in the East End of London, the daughter of working class Greek parents Despina, a tailor's assistant, and John Sirtis. She was raised in North London and emigrated to the U.S. in 1986, later becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. She is married to rock guitarist Michael Lamper (21 June 1992 - present). Her younger brother, Steve, plays football in Greece and played for Columbia University in the early 1980s. She auditioned for drama school against her parents' wishes, ultimately being accepted to the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

Career

Sirtis started her career as a member of the repertory company at the Connaught Theatre, Worthing, West Sussex in 1976. Directed by Nic Young, she appeared in Joe Orton's What the Butler Saw and as Ophelia in Hamlet.

Before her role in Star Trek, Sirtis was featured in supporting roles in several movies. In the Faye Dunaway film The Wicked Lady, she engaged in a fight with Dunaway. In the Charles Bronson sequel Death Wish 3, Sirtis's character is a rape victim. In the film Blind Date, she appears in as a prostitute who is murdered by a madman.

She has an established record of British television work, appearing in Minder, Raffles, and The Return of Sherlock Holmes among other things. She played the stewardess in the famous Cinzano Bianco television commercial starring Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins, in which Collins was splattered with drink.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Gene Roddenberry was inspired to ask the exotic-looking Sirtis to audition for a role after seeing the film Aliens with Bob Justman, which featured the prominent Latina character Vasquez, played by Jenette Goldstein. Sirtis and Denise Crosby initially tried out for each other's eventual role on The Next Generation. Sirtis's character was going to be named Lt. Macha Hernandez, the Security Chief. Gene Roddenberry decided to switch them, and Macha Hernandez became Natasha Yar. Sirtis recalls that on the day she received a call offering her the role of Deanna Troi, she was actually packing to return to England, because her six-month visa had ended.

Deanna Troi was a half-human, half-Betazoid. Her Betazoid abilities allowed her to read the emotions of others. Her position on the Enterprise-D was ship's counsellor, looking after the crew's well-being and a trusted advisor to Captain Picard with a position seated next to him on the Bridge.

Initially, the writers found it difficult to write for Troi and even left her out of four of the first season episodes. Sirtis felt her job was in jeopardy after the first season but was overjoyed when Gene Roddenberry took her aside at Jonathan Frakes' wedding and told her that the season two premiere episode, "The Child", would center on Troi.

Sirtis appeared in all seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and her character was developed from a more passive therapist to tougher Starfleet officer, much to Sirtis's approval.[citation needed]

She has stated her favourite episode is season six's "Face of the Enemy", in which Troi is kidnapped and surgically altered to pose as a Romulan. Troi's switching to a standard Starfleet uniform that season in "Chain of Command" elevated the character's dignity in Sirtis' eyes, and her enthusiasm in playing her, with Sirtis commenting, "It covered up my cleavage and, consequently, I got all my brains back, because when you have a cleavage you can't have brains in Hollywood. So I got all my brains back and I was allowed to do things that I hadn't been allowed to do for five or six years. I went on away teams, I was in charge of staff, I had my pips back, I had phasers, I had all the equipment again, and it was fabulous. I was absolutely thrilled."

During her time on the show, she became close friends with her co-stars Jonathan Frakes (who played her on-again/off-again lover Commander Riker), Michael Dorn (Lieutenant Worf, also an on-screen love interest) and Brent Spiner. Cast members Spiner and Dorn were groomsmen at her wedding.

She usually wore hair-pieces for her role as Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Sirtis's real hair was slightly shorter, and although curly, was not as bouffant as her character's. However, Sirtis's real hair was used in the pilot episode, and also in the first six episodes of season six, in which Troi sported a more natural looking pony-tailed style. She was also asked to create an accent (described as a mixture of Eastern European and Hebrew) for her character, although her natural accent is British. Over time the accent was adjusted and became more Americanized.[citation needed]

Sirtis has also reprised her character of Deanna Troi in the feature films, Star Trek: Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1999) and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). She also appeared in Star Trek: Voyager for three episodes toward the end of the series (1999 and 2000) and also in the series finale of Star Trek: Enterprise (2005).

Sirtis was delighted to get the chance to do some comedy in Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection. Her biggest role was in Star Trek: Nemesis and she stated "I sort of had an inkling that I was going to have a good part in this movie because John Logan was such a big fan of the character. So I knew that he would do her some justice." Troi and Riker finally get married but Troi has to endure being telepathically violated. She gets her revenge by using her Betazoid senses to target the cloaked enemy ship.

Other work

After the end of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1994, Sirtis continued to work regularly. She provided the voice of Demona in the Disney animated television series Gargoyles, (1994-1996 and two one off specials). Her Next Generation co-stars, Frakes, Spiner and Dorn, also lent their voices to the acclaimed show. She voiced the character again for an episode of the unmade Animated Series Team Atlantis.

Sirtis popularly appeared in episodes of other science fiction television shows; The Outer Limits, Stargate SG-1 and Earth: Final Conflict. Sirtis was interviewed in the October 2000 SFX magazine in the UK, the cover stated "Marina Sirtis is Everywhere" referring to her numerous sci-fi appearances airing close together, Stargate SG-1, Earth Final Conflict and Star Trek: Voyager. Her other guest starring roles include Heaven Help Us, Diagnosis: Murder, Threat Matrix (playing a Bio-weapons scientist from Iraq), The Closer, a three episode recurring role on Girlfriends and Without a Trace.

She has also starred in many independent, made for TV movies and theatrical movies including Gadgetman, Paradise Lost, Terminal Error, Net Games, Spectres, Grendel, Inalienable, Oranges, Fist of the Warrior, The Grudge 3 and Green Street 2.

In the United Kingdom, she made a highly publicized guest appearance on the BBC hospital drama series Casualty in 2001. In 2008, she made a guest appearance in an episode of Casualty's sister show, Holby City.

Sirtis has expanded her career branching out into production, she was associate producer for Spectres and The Deep Below.

In 2004, Sirtis had a minor role in the Academy Award-winning ensemble movie Crash as the wife of the Persian shopkeeper.

She also has done voice work for computer games, as the character Matriarch Benezia for the critically acclaimed RPG Mass Effect, as well as Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation – A Final Unity and Star Trek Generations PC games.

Sirtis has read a few audio books including Powers That Be, by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Anne Scarborough.

2009 saw Sirtis continuing to regularly attend Star Trek conventions as well as a Gargoyles themed one. Sirtis appeared as a guest on the show Family Guy playing herself along with the rest of the cast of Star Trek: TNG. She has provided her voice for an episode of The Cleveland Show airing at some point in the 09-10 season. Green Street 2, The Grudge 3 and InAlienable, all featuring Sirtis were released onto DVD. Independent film 31 North 62 East was released in limited cinemas in the UK in September in which she had a starring role as the Prime Minister's aide who is kidnapped. Sirtis guest starred in the pilot episode of new medical drama Three Rivers playing an Iranian, which aired on October 4th 2009. The made-for-TV movie Annihilation Earth (previously known as Doomsday) aired on SyFy in December 2009.

February 2010 saw Sirtis guest star as a Swiss doctor in two episodes of ABC Family's Make It Or Break It. Sirtis is scheduled to commence filming for two more productions, Shadows in the Sky and P415 (sequel to 31 North 62 East) with Fact Not Fiction Films, based in West Sussex, UK. A vampire film entitled Immortal Cycle, which Sirtis reported she was filming last June in Louisiana, will be released at some point.

In May 2010, Sirtis announced that she would be providing the voice for comic book villainess Queen Bee in the upcoming Young Justice animated series.

Filmography

Television

Year Title Role Note
2010 Make It or Break It Dr. Anna Kleister
2009 Annihilation Earth Paxton TV Movie
2009 The Cleveland Show Greek Prostitute Animated Series
2009 Three Rivers Layla Rahimi
2008 Holby City (UK) Lucy Simmonds
2007 Grendel Queen Wealtheow TV Movie
2006 Without a Trace Alexas Soros
2006 Girlfriends Gina Richards
2005 Family Guy Marina Sirtis Animated Series
2005 The Closer Layla Moktari
2005 Star Trek: Enterprise Counselor Deanna Troi
2003 Threat Matrix Dr. Nabila Hassan
2001 Casualty (UK) Jane Taylor, MP
2000 Star Trek: Voyager Counselor Deanna Troi
2000 Stargate Dr. Svetlana Markova
1999 Star Trek: Voyager Counselor Deanna Troi
1999 Earth: Final Conflict Sister Margarette
1999 The Outer Limits Olivia 'Liv' Kohler
1998 Diagnosis Murder Mary Ann Eagon
1998 Gargoyles Demona Animated Series
1997 Duckman Aurora Abromowitz Animated Series
1996-1994 Gargoyles Demona Animated Series
1996 Gadgetman (UK) Detective Inspector Walker TV Movie
1994 Heaven Help Us Carolyn Paris
1987-1994 Star Trek: The Next Generation Counselor Deanna Troi
1990 One Last Chance (UK) Maria TV Movie
1987 Hunter Kate Scanlon
1986 Room at the Bottom (UK) Carla
1986 Call Me Mister (UK) Sally
1986 The Return of Sherlock Holmes (UK) Lucrezia
1985 Up the Elephant and Round the Corner (UK) Lisa
1982 Kelley Monteith (UK) Uncredited
1979 Minder (UK) Stella
1979 Cinzano Commercial Stewardess TV Commercial
1978 Hazell (UK) Melina Stassinopolus
1978 The Thief of Baghdad (UK) Harem Girl TV Movie
1977 Who Pays the Ferryman? (UK) Ariadne
1977 Raffles (UK) Faustina

Subscript text

Voice Acting roles

  • Gargoyles (1994-1997) ... Demona

Further reading

  • Dillard, JM (1994). Star Trek: A History in Pictures. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 978-067151149-4 

Trivia

  • She is a big fan of soccer club Tottenham Hotspur.
  • She is a big soccer fan because her little brother Steve plays this sport in Greece.
  • Originally auditioned for the part of Tasha Yar in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987).
  • After her audition for the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987), Marina felt her audition was unsuccessful and was just about to jump on a flight home to London. Only minutes before she did so, they called back and told her she had gotten the part of Counselor Deanna Troi.
  • Played the stewardess in the now classic and famous Cinzano Bianco advert staring Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins. You may remember the end where Rossiter pats the arm of Joan Collin's seat causing it to suddenly recline and she ends up throwing the drink her own face. "Ah, getting your head down. Good idea," he says.
  • Fellow "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987) cast members Brent Spiner and Michael Dorn were groomsmen at her wedding.
  • Through the Fire (2002) (TV) was a sitcom pilot episode written by Marina's best friend, Michael Dorn, and featured her as a cast member. It was never sold to a Network.
  • Wore black-colored contact lenses during "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987)'s 7-year run and the subsequent films because her character had black eyes. Marina's eyes are light brown.
  • Has attended "Star Trek" conventions in Alberta, Canada, at least four times as of June 2004. She has visited Calgary, Alberta; Edmonton, Alberta; and Vulcan, Alberta.
  • Last name is pronounced SIR-tiss (October 2007).
  • Has appeared in episodes of four different series with Jonathan Frakes: "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987), "Gargoyles" (1994), "Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles" (1996), and "Star Trek: Enterprise" (2001).
  • Along with Jonathan Frakes, Armin Shimerman, John de Lancie, Michael Ansara, and Richard Poe, she is one of only six actors to play the same character on three different 'Star Trek' series. She played Counselor Deanna Troi in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987), "Star Trek: Voyager" (1995), and "Star Trek: Enterprise" (2001).
  • Along with Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, Colm Meaney, and Jeffrey Combs, she is one of only six actors to appear in the finales of two different "Star Trek" series ("Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987) and "Star Trek: Enterprise" (2001)).
  • Her father died on 24 October 1981, exactly ten years before "Star Trek" (1966) creator Gene Roddenberry
  • Speaks Greek fluently
  • Occasionally attends Star Trek conventions so that her loving fans can meet her, and she can meet the fans.
  • Has stated that her favorite episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987) is "Face of the Enemy".
  • Sometimes wore hair-pieces for her role as "Deanna Troi" in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987). Marina's real hair was slightly shorter, and although curly, was not as bouffant as her character's. However, Marina's real hair was used in the first two seasons, and also in the first six episodes of season six, in which Troi sported a pony-tailed style.
  • Is a vegetarian.
  • Supports animal-rights causes.
  • Has several action figures modeled after her likeness and her character Counselor Deanna Troi from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987).
  • After Gene Roddenberry's death, she explained how his death reminded her of her own father's. She mourned along with Majel Barrett-Roddenberry and admitted she felt as close to a real-life daughter to Majel as the on-screen daughter she played.
  • Was one of the "Next Generation" cast to attend "Star Trek" conventions while still filming the last episodes of season seven (to begin pre-production of Star Trek: Generations (1994)). One of which was her 1994 appearance in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the Mariott Southern Hills. She signed the popular 1992 Peter David-penned "Imzadi" novel about young Riker and Troi, as well as speaking about the series finale and the movie to fans.
  • When Marina came to America to pursue a career as an actress and got the role on Star Trek, Marina's mother did not believe her and thought that she was making it up as an excuse to stay in the States. It wasn't until season four of Star Trek that her mother really started to believe her. She saw a Deana Troi trading card from Star Trek.
  • Is a huge fan of chick flicks. Her favorite movie of all time is Steel Magnolias (1989).
  • Parents: John and Despina Sirtis.
  • Her character of Deanna Troi, and William Riker, are the only characters to appear in three of the Star Trek series' and the films. Although Riker would have four series appearances if you include Tom Riker's DS9 appearance.
  • Did rep Work at The Connaught Theatre, Worthing, West Sussex.


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