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Denise Crosby

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Denise Crosby
Denise Crosby.jpg

Denise Crosby

Birth name: Denise Michelle Crosby
Date of birth: 24 November 1957
Place of birth: Hollywood, California, USA
Character(s): Natasha "Tasha" Yar, Sela
Natasha Yar, 2364.jpg Lieutenant Natasha "Tasha" Yar Lieutenant Natasha "Tasha" Yar
Sela.jpg Sela Sela

Denise Michelle Crosby (born 24 November 1957; age 59) is the actress best known for playing Lieutenant Natasha "Tasha" Yar during the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Although she left before the end of the season, she returned to the role in later episodes and also played Sela, the Romulan daughter of Yar from an alternate timeline.

Biography Edit

Born in Hollywood, California, Crosby appeared to be destined for show business. She is the granddaughter of famous crooner and actor Bing Crosby, the daughter of actor and singer Dennis Crosby, the niece of Mary Crosby, and the ex-daughter-in-law of director Blake Edwards. Crosby even began her acting career with a small role in her then-father-in-law's hit romantic comedy 10 in 1979 (with John Hancock, Michael Champion, Jeanetta Arnette, and William Lucking). She also appeared in two of Edwards' Pink Panther films, Trail of the Pink Panther in 1982 and Curse of the Pink Panther in 1983. Also in 1983, she appeared in Edwards' The Man Who Loved Women. She is a distant cousin of Enterprise guest star Seth MacFarlane and her half brother Gregory Crosby is married to Star Trek stuntwoman Spice Williams-Crosby.

Crosby married Edwards' son, Geoffrey (who wrote all of the above films with his father, with the exception of 10), in 1983. The two ultimately divorced in 1990. Her father, Dennis Crosby, passed away in 1991. Crosby married actor Ken Sylk in 1995. The two have a son, August William Sylk.

Early work Edit

Crosby co-starred in the hit 1982 action comedy 48 Hrs. along with fellow Trek alumni Jonathan Banks and Margot Rose. Prior to assuming the role of Tasha Yar, Crosby co-starred with future TNG and DS9 guest actor Andrew Prine in the 1986 science fiction adventure Eliminators. She also appeared in such made-for-television movies as My Wicked, Wicked Ways (1985, starring Duncan Regehr and Alan Oppenheimer), Malice in Wonderland (1985, with Anne Haney, Mark L. Taylor, and Jason Wingreen), and 1986's The Family Martinez, starring future Star Trek: Voyager star Robert Beltran.

Before TNG, Crosby's first work in episodic television was a 1986 episode of L.A. Law entitled "Gibbon Take". Besides series regular Corbin Bernsen, the episode also featured Bibi Besch, Josh Clark, Anne Haney, and Tom Hodges. Crosby was next seen on a short-lived series called Ohara which featured Madge Sinclair as a regular and also guest-starred future Star Trek: Deep Space Nine actress Nana Visitor.

Star Trek Edit

Nimoy and Crosby

Crosby with Leonard Nimoy on the set of "Unification II" in 1991

Crosby was initially cast to play Counselor Deanna Troi, while her co-star Marina Sirtis was to play security chief "Macha Hernandez", the role that eventually became Tasha Yar. Before the filming of "Encounter at Farpoint" began she read two times as Troi for casting director Junie Lowry. However, Gene Roddenberry decided to switch the roles and Crosby was assigned to play Tasha Yar. Roddenberry also noted that her character like Crosby herself was too much like Grace Kelly. (TNG Season 1 DVD special features "The Beginning" and "Selected Crew Analysis"-"Casting")

She left the series before the first season ended because she felt her character was not being given enough to do. The last episode she filmed was "Symbiosis", although her character died in the previous episode filmed, "Skin of Evil" (they were aired in the opposite order). Although she intended to leave Star Trek behind and focus on her feature film career, she ultimately reprised the role of Yar in the third season episode "Yesterday's Enterprise". She then went on to play Romulan Commander Sela in "Redemption", "Redemption II", and "Unification II" and lent her voice to the episode "The Mind's Eye". She returned as Yar for the series finale, "All Good Things...".

In addition, Crosby provided the voice of the promoted Admiral Sela in the computer game Star Trek: Armada. Crosby was also seen by using archive footage from previous episodes in the second season episodes "The Schizoid Man", "The Measure Of A Man", and "Shades of Gray" and in the third season episode "The Most Toys".

Despite leaving Trek in 1988, Crosby's future association with the franchise and the fanbase led her to produce and host the documentary Trekkies in 1997. She also returned to executive produce and host that film's 2004 sequel, Trekkies 2.

Later work Edit

Film Edit

After leaving Next Generation, Crosby focused on feature films. She starred in five movies between 1988 and 1989, including Miracle Mile (with Robert DoQui, Jenette Goldstein, Raphael Sbarge, William Schallert, and Brian Thompson) and Blake Edwards' Skin Deep. Perhaps her most famous film is the 1989 Stephen King horror movie Pet Semetary, in which she was the lead actress and co-starred with frequent Trek guest actor Brad Greenquist and her one-time TNG co-star Kavi Raz.

Crosby continued to work steadily in film during the 1990s. She had a supporting role in the 1991 comedy High Strung, featuring an early appearance by future TNG guest star Kirsten Dunst. The following year, Crosby starred in the horror movie Dolly Dearest and the year after that, she starred in the Italian drama Mafia Docks (aka Desperate Crimes).

Her other film credits during this decade include a supporting role in the 1995 sci-fi thriller Mutant Species, a cameo appearance in Quentin Tarantino's 1997 thriller Jackie Brown (featuring Tommy "Tiny" Lister, Jr. and Sid Haig), and a featured role in the 1998 blockbuster Deep Impact (co-starring James Cromwell, Christopher Darga, Mark Moses, Kurtwood Smith, and Concetta Tomei). Also in 1998, Crosby appeared with her "Yesterday's Enterprise" co-star Christopher McDonald in the drama Divorce: A Contemporary Western. Crosby starred in the direct-to-video releases Dream Man (1995), which co-starred DS9 actor Armin Shimerman and Star Trek's Bruce Greenwood, and Executive Power (1997), co-starring Star Trek: Enterprise guest actress Joanna Cassidy.

Crosby continued to appear in low-budget films such as the 2002 horror Western Legend of the Phantom Rider (with George Murdock) and the 2005 horror thriller Mortuary (with Courtney Peldon and Michael Shamus Wiles). More recently, Crosby was featured in the drama Ripple Effect along with her husband, Ken, as well as Enterprise star John Billingsley and Voyager guest actress Virginia Madsen. She also starred in a horror movie called Born, about a 21-year-old girl impregnated with and possessed by a demonic fetus (along with Kane Hodder).

Television Edit

Denise Crosby and Guy Vardaman

Denise Crosby and Guy Vardaman on the TNG set in 1991

Crosby has expanded her television credits exponentially since leaving TNG. She appeared in a 1991 episode of WIOU, a series which starred fellow Trek performers Robin Gammell, Mariette Hartley, Wallace Langham, Phil Morris, Eric Pierpoint, and Harris Yulin. Also in 1991, she guest-starred in an episode of The Flash along with Dick Miller and future Star Trek: Voyager star Jeri Ryan. This was followed with an appearance on Johnny Bago with John Fleck, Civil Wars with Camille Saviola, and The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. with Jeremy Roberts and Tracey Walter. In 1993, she starred with Jennifer Barlow, T.C. Carson, Leland Crooke , Geno Silva, and Brian Thompson on the short-lived drama Key West. She also starred in at least two segments of the sexually-charged Showtime series Red Shoe Diaries (one opposite Robert Knepper) and had a recurring role as Dr. Gretchen Kelly on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Among those she worked with on the latter are Teri Hatcher, K Callan, Tony Jay, Tracy Scoggins, and Leslie Jordan.

Her TV credits during the latter part of the 1990s include episodes of Sisters (with Erich Anderson, Stephen Collins, and Frank Kopyc), Diagnosis Murder (with Jeff Allin, Diedrich Bader, and Brad Blaisdell), and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (starring Chad Allen and Barbara Babcock), as well the 1998 TV movies Pumpkin Man and Chance of a Lifetime (with the latter also featuring Michelle Horn).

After the turn of the century, Crosby again worked alongside her TNG co-star Christopher McDonald in an episode of Family Law, which also starred Salli Elise Richardson and Julie Warner and guest-starred Nicholas Cascone. In 2001, Crosby was seen in episodes of NYPD Blue (along with Jeff Allin, Gordon Clapp, and Juliana Donald) and The X-Files (with Ron Canada) and guest-starred along with Rene Auberjonois in an episode of Judging Amy. She more recently appeared on such shows as JAG (with Gary Graham and Scott Lawrence), The Agency (with Ed Begley, Jr., Daniel Benzali, and David Clennon), and Crossing Jordan (with Miguel Ferrer, Zach Grenier, Eric Pierpoint, and Patti Yasutake). She made an appearance as the widow Margie Curtis in "The Secret in the Soil", an episode of the FOX series Bones, which also featured Christopher Darga, and she portrayed the title character's very first victim in the Dexter episode Popping Cherry, in which she appeared alongside Trek performers Brad William Henke and Tom Schanley. Monica Staggs served as her stunt double in this episode.

Winrich Kolbe and Denise Crosby

Crosby with director Winrich Kolbe on the set of "All Good Things..."

In 2008 Crosby portrayed the recurring role of Gertie, the horse trainer, in two episodes of the AMC series Mad Men. The episodes "For Those Who Think Young" and "The Benefactor" featured Star Trek performers Mark Moses, David Bowe, John Thaddeus, Deborah Lacey, Frank Novak, and Patrick Fischler. She also portrayed a company doctor who oversaw the operation of Wentworth Miller's character in the Prison Break episode "Going Under". Leon Russom shared a scene with her; Robert Knepper and Titus Welliver also had roles in this episode. In addition, she lent her voice to an episode of Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy which also featured the voices of the entire TNG main cast, including Wil Wheaton. The episode, "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven", aired on March 29th. As a reference to her short stint on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Crosby was allowed one line before being murdered by Stewie. [1]

In 2009 Crosby finished shooting on the double episode "Blood and Fire" of the fan-based internet series Star Trek: New Voyages in which she played the character Dr. Jenna Yar, grandmother to her TNG character. This episode featured fellow Trek performers John Carrigan, Bill Blair, and James Cawley, and was written and directed by David Gerrold.

Beside her work on the stage plays "Epitaph for George Dillon" (June 2-15 at the 45th Street Theater in New York), "Beggars in the House of Plenty", and "Orpheus Descending" in 2010, Crosby portrayed Susan Salinger, wife of Detective Daniel Salinger (played by Michael McGrady) in the season finale of the NBC crime series Southland titled "Derailed". Star Trek actors who appeared in this episode are Emily Bergl, Patrick Fischler, Sufe M. Bradshaw, and stunt coordinator Gregory J. Barnett. On her official site, Crosby announced that she would be returning to the series in two more episodes of its second season, "Butch and Sundance" and "Maximum Deployment", in 2010. Both episodes featured regulars McGrady, Fischler, and Bergl, while the first episode also featured Kevin Derr and Ian Patrick Williams.

Crosby joined the cast for the audio drama series "Hothouse Bruiser" where she voiced Ginny Mills. Among the cast members are fellow Star Trek performers Michael Welch, Sonita Henry, Armin Shimerman, John Billingsley, and David Ghilardi, as well as Claudia Christian and Traci Lords, Crosby's co-stars from other projects. [2] Crosby was also photographed by Adam Bouska for the NOH8 Campaign, together with fellow Trek actors Tim Russ, Chase Masterson, Dominic Keating, and Robert Picardo. [3]

The same year she played the guest role of Diana Burt in the Law & Order: LA episode "Big Rock Mesa" (2011). This episode also features Trek actors Clyde Kusatsu and Scott Klace. Between October and December 2011 Crosby was directed by fellow TNG cast member Gates McFadden in the West Coast premiere of George Moss' stage play "House of Gold" at the Atwater Village Theater in Los Angeles. [4]

Recent projects Edit

In the third week of March 2012 Crosby filmed scenes for Showtime's television pilot Ray Donovan, "The Bag or the Bat", starring Liev Schreiber. Star Trek: Enterprise guest actress Paula Malcomson co-starred in this episode and Josh Pais, Mark Casimir Dyniewicz, Paul Lacovara, and Jeremy Fry also have roles. Gregory J. Barnett worked as stunt coordinator. [5] Following the pilot episode, Crosby returned as Deb in three more first season episodes. Again, she worked with Paula Malcomson and also with Mary Mara, Michael McGrady, Todd Bryant, Shauna Duggins, and Tim Connolly.

In late August 2012, Crosby starred in the short film Birth Mother, directed by Roger Hensley and co-starring Valarie Pettiford, Rahvaunia, and Philip Jordan. Announced for 2013 is the science fiction comedy Unbelievable!!!!! on which she'll work with Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Nichelle Nichols, Tim Russ, and Christopher Michael.

Also in 2013, Crosby provided the voice of Tasha Yar in Star Trek Online, her character making a special appearance in a mission added to celebrate the game's third anniversary, "Temporal Ambassador". [6] She has also reprised the role of Sela, now Empress of the Romulan Star Empire, in Legacy of Romulus, the first expansion pack for STO, which has been released in May 2013.[7]

Star Trek interviews Edit

Crosby was interviewed for the following specials:

  • TNG Season 1 DVD special feature "The Beginning"
  • TNG Season 1 DVD special feature "Selected Crew Analysis" ("Character Notes" and "Camaraderie")
  • TNG Season 1 DVD special feature "Memorable Missions"
  • TNG Season 3 DVD special feature "Mission Overview Year Three", interviewed on 18 March 1994
  • TNG Season 4 DVD special feature "Chronicles from the Final Frontier" ("Lt. Yar's Legacy Endures"), interviewed on 21 August 1991
  • TNG Season 5 DVD special feature "Mission Overview Year Five" ("A Visit from Spock"), interviewed on 18 March 1994
  • TNG Season 5 DVD special feature "Intergalactic Guest Stars" ("Profile: Commander Sela"), interviewed on 18 March 1994
  • TNG Season 7 DVD special feature "Starfleet Moments & Memories Year Seven", interviewed on 18 March 1994
  • TNG Season 7 DVD special feature "The Making of "All Good Things..." Year Seven" ("Familiar Faces"), interviewed on 18 March 1994
  • TNG Season 1 Blu-ray special feature "Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek: The Next Generation"
  • "Denise Crosby - Lt. Natasha "Tasha" Yar", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 1, p. 18, interviewed by Marc Shapiro
  • "Tasha Yar, Human Weapon", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 4, p. 24, interviewed by Dennis Fischer
  • "Yesterday's Heroine", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 12, p. 25, interviewed by David McDonnell

External links Edit

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