Gates McFadden

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Gates McFadden
Gates McFadden Photo Op GalaxyCon Louisville 2019.jpg
McFadden at the 2019 GalaxyCon Louisville
Cheryl Gates McFadden

(1949-03-02) March 2, 1949 (age 72)
Other names
  • Cheryl McFadden (for choreography work)
  • Gates McFadden (for work as an actress)
Alma mater
OccupationActress, choreographer
Years active1980–present
Notable credit(s)
Dr. Beverly Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation and the four subsequent films
Spouse(s)John Cleveland Talbot

Cheryl Gates McFadden (born March 2, 1949)[citation needed] is an American actress and choreographer. She is usually credited as Cheryl McFadden when working as a choreographer and Gates McFadden when working as an actress. She is best known for playing Dr. Beverly Crusher in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series and in the four subsequent films.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

McFadden at Creation Entertainment's 50 Year Mission Tour in New Jersey, August 2016

McFadden was born in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. She attended Brandeis University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (cum laude) in the theatre arts, before moving to Paris, where she studied theatre with actor Jacques Lecoq at his school of physical theatre. McFadden is of Lithuanian descent on her mother's side.[3]


Early work[edit]

McFadden worked at The Jim Henson Company[4][5] as the director of choreography and puppet movement for Labyrinth, The Muppets Take Manhattan, and uncredited work on Dreamchild. As a way of distinguishing her acting work from her choreography, she is usually credited as "Gates McFadden" as an actress and "Cheryl McFadden" as a choreographer. However, she was credited as "Cheryl McFadden" in the Troma movie When Nature Calls (1985) and in the season-three episode of The Cosby Show, "Cliff's 50th Birthday". She appeared in The Hunt for Red October as Jack Ryan's wife Caroline, though most of her scenes were cut in post-production.

Star Trek: The Next Generation[edit]

Season 1[edit]

In 1987, McFadden was cast as Dr. Beverly Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Crusher character was slated to be Captain Jean-Luc Picard's love interest; another important aspect of the character was being a widow balancing motherhood and a career. Maurice Hurley, head writer and showrunner, did not like working with McFadden and, at Hurley's demand, she was let go at the end of season one.[6] Diana Muldaur joined the production as the Enterprise's new chief medical officer, Dr. Katherine Pulaski, for the second season.

Seasons 3–7[edit]

McFadden in 2014

Series creator Gene Roddenberry admitted that the Dr. Pulaski character did not develop a chemistry with the other characters, so McFadden was approached to return as Dr. Crusher for the third season.[7] At first, she was hesitant, but after a phone call from co-star Patrick Stewart, and numerous fan letters, McFadden was persuaded to return to the role, which she then played through the remainder of the series.[8]

Highlights for her character included "The High Ground", where she is kidnapped by terrorists; "Remember Me", in which she becomes trapped in an alternate reality where her loved ones start to disappear; "The Host", which features a romance between the doctor and an alien composed of two symbiotic organisms; "Suspicions", in which she risks her career to solve the murder of a scientist; "Descent" where Crusher takes command of the Enterprise; "Sub Rosa", where she becomes the victim of a seductive "ghost"; and "Attached", where Picard and Crusher become telepathically linked as prisoners and learn their true feelings for one another.

McFadden reprised her role for all four TNG movies and also provided her voice for PC games Star Trek: A Final Unity and Star Trek Generations. Also, McFadden directed the episode "Genesis" (her only directing credit to date) in which an infection causes the crew to de-evolve into primitive forms of life, and choreographed the dance routine in "Data's Day".

After The Next Generation[edit]

McFadden with co-star Denise Crosby at Creation Entertainment's 2017 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention

McFadden co-starred in the 1990 comedy Taking Care of Business starring James Belushi, and fellow Next Generation alumnus John de Lancie (Q). In 1992, she appeared alongside fellow cast members Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, and Colm Meaney in a production of Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, which was performed in four cities. She also starred in the 1995 television series Marker with Richard Grieco and appeared in the made-for-television movie Crowned and Dangerous with Yasmine Bleeth in 1997. Additional television work was the role of Allison Rourke, Paul Buchman's boss, in four episodes of the sitcom Mad About You. In the spring of 2006, McFadden appeared in a series of television commercials for Microsoft.

Gates McFadden with Wil Wheaton on the Star Trek Cruise III, January 2019

She has taught at several universities (American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Brandeis, Harvard, Purdue, Temple, the Stella Academy in Hamburg, and the University of Pittsburgh).[9] As of August 2010, she was listed as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Theater at the University of Southern California.[10] She was the Artistic Director of the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Los Angeles from January 2009[11] to October 2014.[12] During her tenure, she spearheaded the building of the Atwater Village Theatre Collective, a new two-theater space in Los Angeles.[13][14]

McFadden has lent her voice as narrator in several audio books. In 2010, she was the narrator of "Confessor" (METAtropolis: Cascadia).[15][16]

Prior to 2014, McFadden did not attend fan conventions, due to a stalking incident years earlier. However, after participating in New York Comic Con 2014, she became enthusiastic about such events. In 2017, McFadden was pleased that a recent documentary about the making of Labyrinth led her to connect with fans of her work with Jim Henson.[17]

Personal life[edit]

McFadden was married to John Cleveland Talbot and has one son, James, born in 1991.[citation needed] Her pregnancy was not written into the fourth season of TNG; instead, her character wore a laboratory coat over her uniform to conceal it. Next Generation co-star Brent Spiner is her son's godfather.[18]



Stage Appearances

  • (As Cheryl McFadden) Ellen/Mrs. Saunders and Betty, Cloud 9, Theatre De Lys, New York City, 1981.
  • (As Cheryl McFadden) Title role, To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New York City, 1983, then Circle in the Square Downtown, New York City, 1984.
  • (As Cheryl McFadden) Ruth, The Homecoming, Jewish Repertory Theatre, New York City, 1984.
  • (As Cheryl McFadden) Annie Sutter, The Bloodletters, Ensemble Studio Theatre, 1984.
  • (As Cheryl McFadden) Casey Staiger, How to Say Goodbye, Vineyard Theatre, New York City, 1986.
  • (As Cheryl McFadden) Dr. Handleman, Couch Tandem, Women's Interart Center, New York City, 1987.
  • Kate, Emerald City, Perry Street Theatre, New York City, 1988.
  • Lil, Voices in the Dark, George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick, NJ, 1998.
  • (As Cheryl McFadden) Mary, Rosario and the Gypsies, Ensemble Studio Theatre; and as Mrs. Malloy, The Matchmaker, La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego, CA.
  • Viva Detroit, Los Angeles;
  • Every Good Boy Deserves Favor;
  • L'histoire du Soldat.

Stage Work

  • (As Cheryl McFadden) Choreographer, The Winter's Tale, Brooklyn Academy of Music Theatre Company, Helen Owen Carey Playhouse, Brooklyn, NY, 1980.
  • (As Cheryl McFadden) Fight choreographer, Johnny on the Spot, Brooklyn Academy of Music Theatre Company, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, 1980.
  • (As Cheryl McFadden) Choreographer, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Brooklyn Academy of Music Theatre Company, Brooklyn Academy of Music, 1981.
  • Choreographer, Yesterday Is Over, Women's InterArt Center, New York City;
  • Director, Bottleneck at the Bar, Golden Lion Theatre, New York City;
  • Director and Choreographer, Bumps and Knots, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, London;
  • Director and choreographer, Women of Trachis, He Who Gets Slapped, and Old Times, all Springold Theatre, Waltham, MA;
  • Director and choreographer, Medea, Studio Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA.


  1. ^ Gross, Edward; Altman, Mark A. (August 30, 2016). The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years: From the Next Generation to J. J. Abrams: The Complete, Uncensored, and Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek. ISBN 9781250089472.
  2. ^ Cooper, Caren (December 20, 2016). Citizen Science: How Ordinary People are Changing the Face of Discovery. ISBN 9781468314144.
  3. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "DragonCon 2011 - Star Trek: The Next Generation - Friday panel". Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  4. ^ "Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher) Choreographed Labyrinth". July 24, 2013.
  5. ^ "Did You Know STAR TREK's Dr. Crusher Choreographed the Goblins in LABYRINTH? - Nerdist". January 15, 2016.
  6. ^ Pascale, Anthony (August 26, 2009). "Rick Berman Talks 18 Years of Trek In Extensive Oral History". The SciFanatic Network. Retrieved February 3, 2015. Berman on TNG [19:30 – 1:17:15]: Gates McFadden fired at end of first season because head writer Maurice Hurley "he had a real bone to pick" with Gates and didn't like her acting, Berman brought Gates back for third season after Hurley left.
  7. ^ "Gates McFadden interview with Joan Rivers". YouTube. December 6, 1990. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  8. ^ "Rick Berman Talks 18 Years of Trek In Extensive Oral History".
  9. ^ "Ensemble Studio Theatre of Los Angeles". Archived from the original on May 24, 2011.
  10. ^ "USC School of Theatre". Archived from the original on September 1, 2006. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  11. ^ "". Archived from the original on September 21, 2015.
  12. ^ "Gates McFadden Steps Down from Helm of Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA". American Theatre. October 31, 2014.
  13. ^ "EST-LA and Circle X Join Forces at Atwater Village". January 26, 2011.
  14. ^ "Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA Presents HOUSE OF GOLD, 10/22-12/4". Archived from the original on May 31, 2012.
  15. ^ "".
  16. ^ " METAtropolis Cascadia – Part 1 The Difference Between Acting and Narrating". November 8, 2011. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  17. ^ Pilieci, Vito; May 10, Ottawa Citizen Updated; 2017 (May 10, 2017). "For Gates McFadden, meeting the crowds at Comiccon is about conquering fear | Ottawa Citizen". Retrieved April 25, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ "Spiner And McFadden Interview About New Collaboration". September 18, 2013.
  19. ^ "Gates McFadden film biography". Archived from the original on July 31, 2012.
  20. ^ "Beyond the Groove". Retrieved February 18, 2016.

External links[edit]