Ethan Phillips

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Ethan Phillips
Biography photo of Ethan Phillips. Photo by Daniel Reichert
Born (1955-02-08) February 8, 1955 (age 62)
Garden City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor, playwright
Years active 1977–present
Spouse(s) Patricia Cresswell (m. 1990)

Ethan Phillips (born February 8, 1955) is an American actor and playwright. He is best known for his television roles as Neelix on Star Trek: Voyager and PR man Pete Downey on Benson.

Personal life[edit]

Phillips was raised in Garden City, New York. He received a bachelor's degree in English literature from Boston University and a Master of Fine Arts from Cornell University.



Ethan Phillips received an MFA from.[1] He began his show business career in New York City, performing off-Broadway at theaters including Direct Theater, winning the Best of the Actors’ Festival there in 1977; the Wonderhorse Theater, in the premier of Christopher Durang's The Nature and Purpose of the Universe; and at [2] in a revival of Eccentricities of a Nightingale. Legendary writer,[3] who helped shape the latter production, wrote a new monologue for Phillips, which Williams personally dictated to him when it was realized that leading lady [4] needed more time for a dress change. In 1979–80, Phillips appeared as Utrillo in the premier of Dennis McIntyre's Modigliani at the.[5] It ran for 208 performances. Phillips performed in many plays in New York over the next fifteen years, including Terrence McNally's Lips Together, Teeth Apart at the Lucille Lortel, [[[6]]] with Kevin Kline, at the [7]'; and the premier of My Favorite Year at [8] as well as new works for,[9][10] the Hudson Guild Theater, the American Jewish Theater, and many others. He went on to appear in the premier of[11] November at the,[12] and played the title character opposite [13] in the all-male cast of The Imaginary Invalid for [14] s 2012 SummerScape Festival. In 2013-14 he appeared as Stanley Levison in [15] All the Way at the.[16] Mr. Phillips moved with the show to Broadway’s,[17] where the play won Tonys for Best Play and Best Actor Bryan Cranston. More recently Mr. Phillips played leading roles in the premiers of Dennis Kelly’s Taking Care Of Baby,[18] Golden Age, and Sharyn Rothstein’s By the Water, all for the.[19] Phillips' regional theater credits include leading roles for San Diego's Old Globe Theater, the Alaska Repertory Theater, at Seattle Repertory Theater, at Baltimore's Center Stage, for the [20] the Boston Shakespeare Company, Actors Theater of Louisville, The American Repertory Theater, the Salt Lake Acting Co., and the McCarter Theatre]]. In Los Angeles, Phillips acted in Side Man at the Pasadena Playhouse, in Lips Together, Teeth Apart for the Mark Taper Forum; in You Can't Take It with You at the Geffen Playhouse, in The Bourgeois Gentleman for the Pasadena Symphony, and as Polonius in Hamlet for the Uprising Theater. Phillips has been an actor at the Sundance Playwrights Conference in Utah for six summers, where he developed his play Penguin Blues,[1] which is published by Samuel French Inc. and is included in The Best Short Plays of 1989 (Applause, ed. Ramon Delgado). Based on his experiences at Sundance, Phillips helped found First Stage, a playwright development lab in Los Angeles now in its twenty-fourth year.


Phillips has appeared in over thirty films, beginning with a small role in Ragtime (directed by Miloš Forman). These features include For Richer or Poorer, Jeffrey, The Shadow, Wagons East!, The Man Without a Face, Green Card, Lean on Me (which reunited him with his Benson co-star Robert Guillaume), Critters, Bloodhounds of Broadway, The Island, Bad Santa, and The Babysitters. More recent films include Shadow Witness, Audrey, and the Coen Brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis.


In 1980, Phillips joined the cast of the hit sitcom Benson (1979–1986), playing Pete Downey, PR man to Governor Gatling.

Phillips has made scores of guest appearances on television series and tele films, including Pushing Daisies, Bones (TV Series), Eli Stone, Criminal Minds, NUMB3RS, Las Vegas, L.A. Law, JAG, Law & Order, Arrested Development, Boston Legal, Castle, Rizzoli & Isles, The Good Guys and The Mentalist.

In 1990 he began his prolific Star Trek career playing the Ferengi character, Dr. Farek, in the "Ménage à Troi" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. He went on to play Neelix on Star Trek: Voyager in 1995, and stayed with the series through its entire seven-season run. He also cameoed as a holographic nightclub maître d' in the 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact, and appeared as a Ferengi pirate captain on an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. He reprised his role as Neelix alongside fellow Star Trek: Voyager actors Tim Russ, Robert Picardo, Garrett Wang and Jeri Ryan in Star Trek Online's 2014 expansion Delta Rising.

Phillips co-authored the Star Trek Cookbook with William J Birnes, and performed in the Star Trek Internet fan film Of Gods and Men.

Phillips has also done voice work for several of the Star Wars franchise video games: 2000's Star Wars: Force Commander, 2001's Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, and 2003's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

On November 9, 2010, Phillips appeared on long-running soap opera Days of Our Lives as a witness to a hit-and-run pedestrian fatality. In May 2011, he played Tucker's attorney on The Young and the Restless.


Year Film Role Notes
1980–1985 Benson Peter 'Pete' John Downey Seasons 2-6
1981 Ragtime Guard at Family House
1986 Critters Jeff Barnes
1987 Werewolf Eddy Armando
1989 Lean on Me Mr. Rosenberg
Glory Hospital steward
Bloodhounds of Broadway Basil Valentine
1990 Star Trek: The Next Generation Dr. Farek Season 3, Episode 24- "Menage a Troi"
Green Card Gorsky, INS agent
L.A. Law Dr. Sam Waibel/Marvin Pick Seasons 4-7
1993 The Man Without a Face Todd Lansing
1994 The Shadow Nelson
Wagons East! CMMDR. S. L. Smedly
1995–2001 Star Trek: Voyager Neelix
1996 Star Trek: First Contact Holodeck Nightclub Maitre d'Pete Uncredited
1997 Trekkies Himself
2000 9mm of Love Guy
2002 Star Trek: Enterprise Ulis, group leader of Ferengi thieves[21]
The Wild Thornberrys Movie Loris Uncredited
2003 Rugrats Go Wild Toa Voice
Bad Santa Roger Merman
2004 Arrested Development Military Officer
Trekkies 2 Himself
Geeks Himself
2005 Las Vegas Gabe Labrador
The Island Jones Three Echo
2006 Criminal Minds Marvin Doyle
Chestnut: Hero Of Central Park Marty
Numb3rs Professor Leonard Episode: "Double Down"
2007 Super Sweet 16: The Movie Craig
Keith Mr. Miles
Have Dreams, Will Travel Businessman
The Babysitters Mark Kessler
Hallowed Ground Preacher
Cavemen Red Goldreyer
2008 Bones Checker Box Manager Episode 3.14 The Wannabe in the Weeds
2009 Dahmer Vs. Gacy X-13[22]
2011 Chuck Woodley Episode: Chuck versus The Zoom
2012 Arachnoquake Roy
The Adventures of RoboRex Randy Jenkins
2013 Inside Llewyn Davis Mitch Gorfein
2015 Irrational Man Jill's Father
Veep Mr. Wallace Testimony (S4, Ep9)

Video Games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2000 Star Trek: Voyager Elite Force Neelix Voice
Star Wars: Force Commander Transport Pilot/Governor of Abridon
2001 Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds Empire medical droid/Krantian governor/Royal grenade trooper
2003 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Various/Dantooine Civilian/Galon Lor(Korriban) Voice
2014 Star Trek Online Neelix Voice role


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]