Marina Sirtis

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Marina Sirtis
Marinasirtis2008.jpg
Sirtis in 2008
Born (1955-03-29) 29 March 1955 (age 59)
London, England, UK
Nationality British[1] & American[2]
Ethnicity Greek
Alma mater Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Occupation Actress
Years active 1977–present
Known for Star Trek: The Next Generation
Spouse(s) Michael Lamper (1992–present)
Website
www.marinasirtis.tv

Marina Sirtis (born 29 March 1955) is an English-American actress. She is best known for her role as Counselor Deanna Troi on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and the four feature films that followed, as well as subsequent Star Trek: Voyager episodes she starred in.

Early life[edit]

Marina Sirtis was born in the East End of London, the daughter of working-class Greek parents Despina, a tailor's assistant, and John Sirtis.[1][3] She was brought up in Harringay, North London and emigrated to the U.S. in 1986,[1][4] later becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen.[5] She auditioned for drama school against her parents' wishes, ultimately being accepted to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.[6]

Career[edit]

Sirtis in 2012, showing her tattoo of the logo of English football team Tottenham Hotspur.

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.[7]

Before her role in Star Trek, Sirtis was featured in supporting roles in several films. In the 1983 Faye Dunaway film The Wicked Lady, she engaged in a whip 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 as a prostitute who is murdered by a madman.

Other early works include numerous guest starring roles on British television series. Sirtis appeared in Raffles (1977), Hazell (1978), Minder (1979), the Jim Davidson sitcom Up the Elephant and Round the Castle (1985) and The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1986) among other things. She also played the stewardess in the famous 1979 Cinzano Bianco television commercial starring Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins, in which Collins was splattered with drink.

Star Trek: The Next Generation[edit]

In 1987 Sirtis relocated to the US.

When casting 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.[8] 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 Britain, because her six-month visa had expired.

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 counselor, 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's wedding and told her that the season two premiere episode, "The Child", would center on Troi.[9]

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. 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 in the same 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."[10]

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 (who played Lieutenant Commander Data). Cast members Spiner and Dorn were groomsmen at her wedding.[11]

She usually wore hair-pieces for her role as Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Sirtis' real hair was slightly shorter, and although curly, was not as bouffant as her character's. However, Sirtis' 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 English. Over time, the accent was adjusted and became more Americanised.[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 (1998) 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 said "I loved it because it opened the door to a different side of Troi we’d never seen before. That door has stayed open and that whole kind of wacky, zany Troi thing has continued into the next movie, which is great for me because I like to do things that are different."[12] Sirtis stated of her role in Star Trek: Nemesis, "I sort of had an inkling that I was going to have a good part in this film because John Logan was such a big fan of the character. So I knew that he would do her some justice."[13]

Other work[edit]

While filming Star Trek: The Next Generation, Sirtis returned to the UK during the hiatus between seasons three and four in 1990 to film a drama special entitled One Last Chance for the BBC. In 1992 she appeared in an episode of the short lived series The Fifth Corner and had a cameo in the horror/fantasy movie Waxwork II: Lost in Time.

After the end of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1994, Sirtis continued to work regularly. Her first role was a departure from previous work, an abused wife in the series Heaven Help Us.

She provided the voice of Demona in the Disney animated television series Gargoyles for two seasons starting in 1994. Her Next Generation co-stars, Frakes (as the voice of David Xanatos), Spiner and Dorn, also lent their voices to the show. She voiced the character again for an episode of the unmade animated series Team Atlantis.

2005 Star Trek Convention

In 1996 Sirtis starred as a police detective in the British made-for-television movie Gadgetman. She guest-starred as a race track owner under investigation following the death of a driver in Diagnosis: Murder in 1998. The independent movie Paradise Lost, with Sirtis in a starring role, was released in 1999.

Beginning in 1999, Sirtis returned to science fiction television in a number of roles starting with The Outer Limits. The same year she appeared in Earth: Final Conflict, originally created by Gene Roddenberry. In 2000 she played a Russian scientist in Stargate SG-1. Sirtis was interviewed in the October 2000 issue of SFX magazine in the UK; the cover stated "Marina Sirtis is Everywhere", also referring to her reprisal of her character Deanna Troi on Star Trek: Voyager.

In 2001 Sirtis made a highly publicised appearance on the long-running British hospital drama Casualty. She played a politician with controversial views on the NHS. When she meets with a man she is having an affair with at a hotel, she is caught in an explosion.

Sirtis appeared in the made-for-television movies Terminal Error in 2002 and Net Games in 2003. Also in 2003 she guest-starred in the series Threat Matrix playing a biological-weapons scientist from Iraq.

Sirtis starred in the movie Spectres in 2004, and at ShockerFest International Film Festival she won the best actress award.[14]

Sirtis had a minor role in the Academy Award-winning ensemble film Crash as the wife of the Persian shopkeeper. Following this she played another Middle Eastern role on the series The Closer in 2005.

In 2006 she had a three-episode recurring role as a love match-maker on Girlfriends and she guest-starred in Without a Trace.

In 2007 Sirtis starred in the SyFy channel production of Grendel, where she played the Queen. Independent movies Trade Routes, The Deep Below and Lesser of Three Evils were released. She provided the voice for Matriarch Benezia in the critically acclaimed video game Mass Effect on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.

On British television in 2008, she made a guest appearance in an episode of Casualty's spin-off show, Holby City. The same year the sci-fi/drama movie Inalienable, written by Star Trek alumnus Walter Koenig, was released. Sirtis said of her role, "I actually play the Deputy Attorney General of the United States so I’m a bad guy, a mean lawyer, which was fantastic."[15]

The direct-to-DVD sequels Green Street 2 and The Grudge 3, featuring Sirtis, were released in 2009. She co-starred in the British movie 31 North 62 East as the Prime Minister's top aide; it had a limited theatrical release in the UK. Sirtis guest-starred in the first episode of the short-lived hospital drama Three Rivers. She returned to SyFy in December 2009 in the disaster movie Annihilation Earth.

2010 saw Sirtis guest-star as a Swiss doctor in two episodes of ABC Family's Make It or Break It.

In May 2010, Sirtis announced that she would be providing the voice for comic book villainess Queen Bee in Young Justice animated series.[16] She provided her voice for a number of episodes from 2011 until its cancellation in 2013.

In March 2011, Sirtis guest-starred on an episode of Grey's Anatomy. She played an Iranian mother who was at the hospital to participate in a medical trial for Alzheimer's disease.[17]

In September 2011, fans started a group to get Marina to appear on Doctor Who. A few weeks later, she acknowledged the group and her desire to be on the show at the Montreal Comiccon.[18]

In 2012, the vampire movie Speed Demons that co-starred Sirtis was released to pay-per-view services. The same year she played a fortune teller in the Castlevania fan-made series posted on YouTube.

Sirtis has taken a recurring role as Director of Mossad on the CBS police procedural drama series NCIS.[19] Her character, Orli Elbaz, succeeds Eli David (portrayed by Michael Nouri) and is introduced in the Season 10 episode "Berlin," which aired in April 2013. Her second episode will be the second episode of Season 11, set to air in early October.

Sirtis voiced the Enterprise's computer in the first episode in the web series Star Trek Continues, "Pilgrim of Eternity" (2013).[20][21]

Personal life[edit]

Sirtis is married to rock guitarist Michael Lamper (21 June 1992 – present).[dead link][22] Her younger brother, Steve, played football in Greece[citation needed] and played for Columbia University in the early 1980s. Marina herself is an avowed supporter of Tottenham Hotspur F.C.[23]

Filmography[edit]

Films[edit]

Year Title Role
1983 The Wicked Lady (1983) Jackson's Girl
1984 Blind Date (1984)
1985 Death Wish 3 (1985) Maria
1994 Star Trek Generations (1994) Counselor Deanna Troi
1996 Star Trek: First Contact (1996) Counselor Deanna Troi
1998 Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) Counselor Deanna Troi
2002 Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) Counselor Deanna Troi
2004 Spectres (2004) Laura Lee
2004 Crash (2004) Shereen
2008 InAlienable
2009 The Grudge 3 Gretchen

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Note
2013 Star Trek Continues Computer
2013 Adventure Time Samantha Episode: "The Pit"
2013 NCIS Orli Elbaz
2011 Grey's Anatomy Sonya Amin
2010–2012 Young Justice L-4 / Queen Bee / Scientist #2
2010 Make It or Break It Dr. Anna Kleister
2009 Annihilation Earth Paxton TV Movie
2009 The Cleveland Show Greek Prostitute Animated Series
2009 Green Street 2 Veronica Mavis
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
1999–2000 Star Trek: Voyager Counselor Deanna Troi
2000 Stargate SG-1 Dr. Svetlana Markova
1999 Earth: Final Conflict Sister Margarette
1999 The Outer Limits Olivia 'Liv' Kohler
1998 Diagnosis: Murder Mary Ann Eagin
1994–1996, 1998 Gargoyles Demona Animated Series
1997 Duckman Aurora Abromowitz 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 Castle (UK) Lisa
1982 Kelly 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

Voice acting[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Marina Sirtis Biography (1955?-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2010-08-30. 
  2. ^ "Marina Sirtis Biography (1959?-)". Film Reference. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  3. ^ "Jolly Good Shows". Oddsagainstyou.net. 1990-11-04. Retrieved 2010-08-30. 
  4. ^ Closed access Folsom, Robert (1997-04-18). "Counselor Troi remains the accent of actress' career Marina Sirtis to join other 'Star Trek' stars at weekend convention". The Kansas City Star. p. 16.  (subscription required)
  5. ^ "Marina Sirtis Biography (1959?-)". Film Reference. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  6. ^ "Sirtis, Marina". startrek.com. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  7. ^ Full Circle by John Willmer, pub. Optimus Books 1999
  8. ^ Nemeck, Larry (2003). Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-7434-5798-6. 
  9. ^ "Empathetic Marina Sirtis". Littlereview.com. Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  10. ^ "BBC Online — Cult — Star Trek — Marina Sirtis — Cleavage or Brains?". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  11. ^ "24". Marinasirtis.tv. Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  12. ^ "Sci-fi and TV Talk". Sci-fi and TV Talk. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  13. ^ "Review". Sfrevu.com. Retrieved 2010-08-30. 
  14. ^ "ShockerFest 2004". ShockerFest 2004. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  15. ^ "Interview with Star Trek actress Marina Sirtis". Paula Hammond. 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  16. ^ Marina Sirtis will be playing Queen Bee in Young Justice for Cartoon Network on YouTube
  17. ^ "INTERVIEW: GREY’S welcomes STAR TREK actress Marina Sirtis in tonight’s episode!!". Jim Halterman. 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2011-03-25. 
  18. ^ "VIDEO: Marina Sirtis at Montreal Comiccon Discusses Doctor Who". Citynet Magazine. 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-11-27. 
  19. ^ "SIRTIS LANDS NCIS ROLE". T'Bonz. 2013-03-27. Retrieved 2013-03-27. 
  20. ^ "Cast and Crew - Star Trek Continues". Retrieved 2014-02-14. 
  21. ^ "Star Treak Continues Webseries on Kickstarter". Retrieved 2014-02-14. 
  22. ^ "Marina Sirtis The Official Site". Marinasirtis.tv. Retrieved 2009-05-17. [dead link]
  23. ^ "Cult - Star Trek - Interviews - Marina Sirtis". BBC Online. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Dillard, JM (1994). Star Trek: A History in Pictures. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 978-0-671-51149-4. 

External links[edit]