Jump to content

Denise Crosby

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Denise Crosby
Crosby at GalaxyCon Columbus in 2023
Denise Michelle Crosby

(1957-11-24) November 24, 1957 (age 66)[1][2]
EducationHollywood High School
Alma materCabrillo College
  • Actress
  • model
Years active1979–present
Known forStar Trek: The Next Generation
  • Geoffrey Edwards
    (m. 1983; div. 1990)
  • Ken Sylk
    (m. 1995)

Denise Michelle Crosby (born November 24, 1957)[3] is an American actress and model known for portraying Security Chief Tasha Yar mainly in season one of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Yar's daughter, the half-Romulan Commander Sela, in subsequent seasons. She is also known for her numerous film and television roles, and for starring in and producing the film Trekkies.

Early life[edit]

Denise Michelle Crosby was born in Hollywood, California, the daughter of Marilyn Scott and actor Dennis Crosby, after whom she was named. Crosby's paternal grandfather was the famed singer and actor Bing Crosby. Crosby was born out of wedlock, and Crosby's parents went through a highly publicized, three-year-long lawsuit her father had brought to cancel the $80 per week he was paying Crosby's mother for child support. Crosby's mother won the lawsuit and Dennis was ordered to continue paying child support and legal fees. The lawsuit deeply embarrassed Dennis and Bing Crosby, whom Crosby never met even though she was 19 when he died.[4]

Crosby graduated in 1975 from Hollywood High School, followed by Cabrillo College, where she studied theater. She dropped out of college after she was interviewed by a local paper and revealed her famous family background: "One of the drama teachers used the story to illustrate to the class that this crap is what Hollywood's all about, using people's names to get somewhere. I was very, very hurt by it. So I just checked out." She started modeling and, in 1979, posed nude for the March issue of Playboy magazine, which she called "some kind of rebellion on my part, some way of saying screw you to the family image".[5]


Crosby's choice of career solidified at an early age and was influenced by her grandfather Bing Crosby and her father Dennis Crosby. Crosby's first high-profile role was as Lisa Davis on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. She has appeared as Dr. Gretchen Kelly in three episodes of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and as a sheriff on The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. episode "No Man's Land".

In the early 1990s, she played the role of the mayor in the short-lived series Key West. She also appeared in two episodes of the cable television series Red Shoe Diaries, playing a different character in each episode. Crosby had a small recurring role in Aaron Spelling's primetime drama, Models Inc, a spin-off from Melrose Place. She was a guest star on the eighth season of The X-Files for two episodes, in which she plays a doctor who examined Agent Scully's baby. In 1991, she was a guest star in "The Deadly Nightshade", a first-season The Flash episode as Dr. Rebecca Frost.

In 2001, Crosby appeared in two episodes of NYPD Blue as the abrasive Lieutenant Susan Dalto. In 2006, she was a guest star in "Popping Cherry", the third episode of the first season of Dexter, appearing via flashback as Dexter Morgan's first victim. Crosby had a recurring role in Southland as Detective Dan "Sal" Salinger's wife.

One of her first film appearances was in the 1982 Nick Nolte/Eddie Murphy film 48 Hrs. This was followed by a small role in the 1982 film Trail of the Pink Panther, which she reprised in the sequel Curse of the Pink Panther. In 1985, Crosby appeared in the music videos for Chris Isaak's song "Dancin'" and Michael McDonald's song "No Lookin' Back". In 1986, she appeared in the music video for Black Sabbath's song "No Stranger to Love". In the same year, she played a robotics engineer, Nora Hunter, in the science-fiction movie Eliminators. She starred in Stephen King's Pet Sematary, played the lead role in Dolly Dearest in 1991, and also appeared in Deep Impact and Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown. Her other film roles included the 2002 Western horror film Legend of the Phantom Rider, and the 2005 Tobe Hooper horror film Mortuary.

Star Trek[edit]

Crosby with Star Trek co-star Gates McFadden in 2017

In 1987, Crosby was cast in the role of Tasha Yar for the much-publicized return of Star Trek to television in the syndicated series Star Trek: The Next Generation. She had been chosen to play Counselor Deanna Troi before Gene Roddenberry switched the roles that Marina Sirtis and she had originally been given. Initially one of the top-billed characters and featured prominently in episodes such as "The Naked Now" and "Code of Honor", the role of Tasha gradually moved into the background as other members of the ensemble cast became a greater focus of the series. Crosby reportedly grew disillusioned with her role because of its "Uhura-like" status: "I was struggling with not being able to do much with the character. I had all these ideas and couldn't do them. I was just stage dressing."[6] Ultimately, Crosby decided to leave the show. Her character was killed by the alien creature Armus during the episode "Skin of Evil". She had appeared in 22 episodes when she left.

In later years, Crosby approached the TNG production team with the idea of reprising her role of Tasha Yar.[7] This came to be in season-three's "Yesterday's Enterprise", in which an alternate timeline is created after the USS Enterprise-C, the predecessor to TNG's USS Enterprise-D, comes forward 22 years in time, just before it was to be destroyed. Yar joined the Enterprise-C before it returned to its own time to restore the original timeline. During the documentary Trekkies, Crosby commented that her Tasha Yar character had to die to get "the best episodes".

Crosby also guest-starred in several other TNG episodes, including "Redemption" and "Unification" as Romulan Commander Sela, the half-human, half-Romulan daughter of Tasha Yar, who had been taken prisoner in the past while on board the Enterprise-C. Crosby later reprised the role in the Star Trek: Armada video game, and again in the series finale, "All Good Things...", in which Captain Picard is moving back and forth through time, and encounters Tasha during the events just prior to the pilot episode.

Crosby in 2003

Crosby co-produced and narrated the 1997 documentary Trekkies, followed by the 2003 sequel Trekkies 2. Both films star Crosby, who conducts interviews with devotees of Star Trek, more commonly known as "Trekkies". As of 2017, she was reportedly working on a sequel called Trekkies 3.[8]

Along with other Star Trek actors, she has also appeared in the "Blood and Fire" episode of the fan-produced series Star Trek: New Voyages, playing Dr. Jenna Yar (grandmother of Tasha Yar).

In 2013, Crosby provided voicing for the characters of Tasha Yar and Sela in the Cryptic Studios MMORPG Star Trek Online. Crosby became the first of a new wave of several Star Trek alumni to return to the roles they originated since Leonard Nimoy's participation at the game's launch in 2010.

Post-Star Trek work[edit]

In January and February 2010, Crosby performed alongside Gale Harold and ex-model Claudia Mason in Tennessee Williams' Orpheus Descending at Theater in Los Angeles. The production and cast received mostly positive reviews in the Los Angeles Times, which stated, "Harold, ideally cast, beautifully ignites with Crosby, whose unconventional interpretation is an affecting revelation."[9]

Crosby has a recurring role on Showtime's 2013 series Ray Donovan.[10] In 2014, she appeared in three episodes of AMC's The Walking Dead as Mary, a member of a group of cannibals.[11] The character first appears in the penultimate episode of season four, "Us", and made her final appearance in the season-five premiere, "No Sanctuary".

Crosby also played the role of widow Margie Curtis in the TV series Bones, season three, episode four, "The Secret in the Soil". She played the role of Special Master Faye Richardson in the legal drama Suits in its final season.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Crosby was married to Geoffrey Edwards, son of director Blake Edwards, from 1983 to 1990. She appeared in a number of her former father-in-law's films, including 10, Skin Deep, Trail of the Pink Panther, and Curse of the Pink Panther. Crosby married Ken Sylk in 1995, and they have a son, August (Augie), born in 1998.[4]



Year Title Role Notes
1979 10 Party Guest Uncredited role
1982 Trail of the Pink Panther Denise, Bruno's Moll
1982 48 Hrs. Sally
1983 Curse of the Pink Panther Denise
1983 The Man Who Loved Women Enid
1985 Desert Hearts Pat
1986 Eliminators Nora Hunter
1988 Greasy Lake Bad Girl #2 Direct-to-video
1988 Arizona Heat Jill Andrews
1988 Miracle Mile Landa
1989 Skin Deep Angie
1989 Pet Sematary Rachel Creed
1989 Tennessee Waltz Sally Lomas
1991 High Strung Melanie
1991 Dolly Dearest Marilyn Wade
1993 Mafia Docks/Desperate Crimes Bella Blu Italian title: Il ritmo del silenzio
1995 Mutant Species Carol-Anne
1994 Max Jayne Blake
1994 Relative Fear Connie Madison
1995 Dream Man Barbara Direct-to-video
1997 Executive Power Christine Rolands Direct-to-video
1997 Jackie Brown Public Defender Uncredited role
1998 Deep Impact Vicky Hotchner
1998 Divorce: A Contemporary Western Kay
2002 Legend of the Phantom Rider Sarah Jenkins
2003 The Bus Stops Here Chatty Woman at Bus Stop Short film
2005 Mortuary Leslie Doyle
2007 Ripple Effect Ronald's Wife Uncredited role
2007 Born Catherine
2012 Birth Mother Detective Johnson Short film
2013 The Exterminator Linda
2015 Dark Intentions aka Don't Wake Mummy Beth's Mother
2019 Itsy Bitsy Sheriff Jane


Year Title Role Notes
1980 Days of Our Lives Lisa Davis 3 episodes
1983 Cocaine: One Man's Seduction Teller Television film
1985 My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn Diana Dyrenforth Television film
1985 Stark Kim Parker Television film
1985 Malice in Wonderland Carole Lombard Television film
1986 The Family Martinez Rachael McCann Television film
1986 L.A. Law Joan Turtletaub Episode: "Gibbon Take"
1987 Ohara Rachel Winters Episode: "Laura"
Star Trek: The Next Generation Lieutenant Tasha Yar 26 episodes
1991 Sela 3 episodes + 1 Voice only episode
1989 Mancuso, F.B.I. Toni Simmons Episode: "I Cover the Waterfront"
1991 WIOU Unknown role Episode: "Labored Relations"
1991 Hunter Pam Sutton Episode: "All That Glitters"
1991 The Flash Dr. Rebecca Frost Episode: "The Deadly Nightshade"
1991 Dark Justice Christina Forbes Episode: "Forbes for the Defense"
1992 Jack's Place Lindsay Episode: "Everything Old is New Again"
1992–1994 Red Shoe Diaries Officer Lynn "Mona" McCabe / The Psychiatrist Episodes: "You Have The Right to Remain Silent", "The Psychiatrist"
1993 Civil Wars Gwen Leary Episode: "Captain Kangaroo Court"
1993 Key West Chaucy Caldwell 13 episodes
1993 Johnny Bago Dr. Candace David Episode: "Hail the Conquering Marrow"
1993 The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. Sheriff Jenny Taylor Episode: "No Man's Land"
1994 Models Inc. Ursula Edwards Episode: "Good Girls Finish Last"
1994–1995 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Dr. Gretchen Kelly 3 episodes
1995–1996 Diagnosis: Murder Didi Harris / Cynthia Holling 3 episodes
1996 Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Isabelle Maynard Episode: "Fear Itself"
1997 Baywatch Emily Morgan Episode: "Rendezvous"
1998 Spy Game Chrysalis Episode: "Go, Girl"
1998 Pumpkin Man Laurel Hollway Television short film
1998 Chance of a Lifetime Katie Television film
1999 The Rockford Files: If It Bleeds... It Leads Mrs. Muller Television film
2000 Snoops Evelyn Houtch Episode: "The Stolen Diskette"
2000 Family Law Doris Collins Episode: "For Love"
2001 The Drew Carey Show Officer Hayes Episode: "The Warsaw Closes"
2001 NYPD Blue Lieutenant Susan Dalto Episodes: "Thumb Enchanted Evening", "Flight of Fancy"
2001 The X-Files Dr. Mary Speake Episodes: "Empedocles", "Essence"
2001 Judging Amy Mrs. Nasretian Episode: "Look Closer"
2002 JAG Mrs. Dietz Episode: "Capital Crime"
2002 The Division Alison Tisdale Episode: "This Thing Called Love"
2002 The Agency Detective Reidy Episode: "Sleeping Dogs Lie"
2003 Threat Matrix Gillian Sadler Episode: "Cold Cash"
2004 Crossing Jordan Carla Moran Episode: "Fire from the Sky"
2005 Eyes Justine Canning Episode: "Shots"
2006 Dexter Nurse Mary Episode: "Popping Cherry"
2007 Bones Margie Curtis Episode: "The Secret in the Soil"
2008 Mad Men Gertie Episodes: "For Those Who Think Young", "The Benefactor"
2008 Prison Break Doctor Episode: "Going Under"
2009 Star Trek: New Voyages Dr. Jenna Yar Episode: "Blood and Fire: Part 2"
2009 Family Guy Herself (voice) Episode: "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven"
2009–2010 Southland Susan Salinger 3 episodes
2011 Law & Order: LA Diana Burt Episode: "Big Rock Mesa"
2013 Invasion Roswell Linda Television film
2013–2017 Ray Donovan Deb 15 episodes
2014 The Walking Dead Mary (Seasons 4–5) 3 episodes
2015 Scandal Janet Holland Episode: "Even the Devil Deserves a Second Chance"
2016 The Magicians Genji Episode: "Mendings, Major and Minor"
2016 Castle Dr Marion Baker Episode: "Death Wish"
2016 The Watcher Jeanne Television film
2019 NCIS: Los Angeles Tisha Long Episode: "The One That Got Away", "The Guardian"
2019 Suits Faye Richardson Recurring Role; Season 9
2021 Creepshow Professor Trollenberg Season 2, Episode 4: Pipe Screams/Within The Walls Of Madness
2022 NCIS SECNAV Hattie Taylor Season 19, Episode 10: "Pledge of Allegiance"
2022 General Hospital Carolyn Webber Guest role; October 31–November 2, 2022 & January 20-February 3, 2023


Year Title Role Notes
1997 Trekkies Co-executive producer
2004 Trekkies 2 Executive producer

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2000 Star Trek: Armada Sela Voice role
2010 Star Trek Online Lieutenant Tasha Yar / Sela Voice role
Uncredited role
2017 XCOM2: War of the Chosen Betos Voice role


  1. ^ “Crosby Son Ordered To Pay Pending Trial.” The Anniston Star, May 17, 1959. https://www.newspapers.com/image/115758592 (accessed March 18, 2023).
  2. ^ “Newlywed Dennis Crosby Named in Paternity Story.” Intelligencer Journal, May 7, 1958. https://www.newspapers.com/image/558616397/ (accessed March 18, 2023).
  3. ^ "Apr 10, 1959, page 5 - Monticello Daily Herald Journal at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. Retrieved March 14, 2024.
  4. ^ a b "StarTrek.com bio". Archived from the original on May 6, 2021. Retrieved September 8, 2009.
  5. ^ "Denise Crosby, Granddaughter of Bing, Beams Down from Star Trek for Some New Enterprise". Archived from the original on April 23, 2016. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  6. ^ "STARTREK.COM : Transcript". Archived from the original on May 5, 2008. Retrieved September 8, 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  7. ^ Stillwell, Eric (2008). The Making of Yesterday's Enterprise. Raleigh, NC: Lulu. ISBN 978-1-4357-0256-1.
  8. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Denise Crosby Talks Trekkies 3, TNG, Star Trek Online". TrekNews.net. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  9. ^ "Theater review: 'Orpheus Descending' at Theatre/Theater". Los Angeles Times. January 22, 2010.
  10. ^ Owen, Rob (June 28, 2013). "Tuned In: 'Ray Donovan' is cable's latest antihero". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  11. ^ "'The Walking Dead' Season 5: Denise Crosby Describes Mary As 'Real Determined, Soulful Woman'". www.ibtimes.com.au. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  12. ^ Petski, Denise (June 5, 2019). "'Suits': Denise Crosby To Recur In Ninth & Final Season Of USA Series". Deadline. Retrieved March 19, 2023.

External links[edit]