Gates McFadden

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Gates McFadden
McFadden at GalaxyCon Richmond in 2023
Cheryl Gates McFadden

(1949-03-02) March 2, 1949 (age 74)
Other names
  • Cheryl McFadden (for choreography work)
  • Gates McFadden (for acting work)
Alma mater
Years active1980–present
Notable credit(s)Dr. Beverly Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation, the four subsequent films, and Star Trek: Picard
Children1 (James McFadden-Talbot)

Cheryl Gates McFadden (born March 2, 1949)[1][2] 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 played Dr. Beverly Crusher in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, its four subsequent films and the sequel series Star Trek: Picard.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

McFadden in 2016

McFadden was born in Akron, Ohio.[5] 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.[6]


Early work[edit]

In the 1970s, McFadden spent time teaching in post-secondary theater and dance departments, including those of the University of Pittsburgh, Harvard University, and George Washington University.[7][8] During this period she formed a theatrical company, The New York Theatre Commotion, and in 1975 toured an all-female clown act, "Commedia Dell Pinky".[7]

McFadden worked at The Jim Henson Company[9][10] 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.

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.[11] McFadden clashed with Hurley's take on her character, stating, "I definitely pissed off Hurley. Because I kept saying "Why is it that I've raised this genius kid... and yet every time there's anything serious it's only the male characters who talk to him?"[12] McFadden was highly critical of the episode "Angel One", labeling it sexist. 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.[13] 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.[14]

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. McFadden directed the seventh season episode "Genesis" (her only directing credit) in which an infection causes the crew to de-evolve into primitive forms of life, and choreographed the dance routine in the fourth season's "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 (who plays her son in the show) 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).[15] As of August 2010, she was listed as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Theater at the University of Southern California.[16] She was the artistic director of the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Los Angeles from January 2009[17] to October 2014.[18] During her tenure, she spearheaded the building of the Atwater Village Theatre Collective, a new two-theater space in Los Angeles.[19][20]

McFadden has lent her voice as narrator in several audio books. In 2010, she was the narrator of "Confessor" (METAtropolis: Cascadia).[21][22]

McFadden was initially nervous to attend fan conventions, due to a stalking issue early in her teaching career prior to her Star Trek tenure. However her concerns have not come to pass and she has since found conventions to be a positive experience.[23]

McFadden narrated the multi-part documentary series The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek, which aired on the cable channel History in 2021. She was also one of the executive producers.[24]

In 2021 McFadden launched Gates McFadden InvestiGates: Who Do You Think You Are?, a podcast for Brian Volk-Weiss's Nacelle Company, interviewing close friends and former co-stars.[25][26][27]

She has since reprised the role of Crusher on Star Trek: Prodigy and Star Trek: Picard's third season as well as in the video game Star Trek Online.[28][29]

Personal life[edit]

McFadden's 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.[30]



Year Title Role Notes
1984 The Muppets Take Manhattan Mr. Price's Secretary
1985 Rustlers' Rhapsody Choreographer[31]
Dreamchild Choreographer
When Nature Calls Gena "Gena's Story" trailer
1986 Labyrinth Choreographer
1990 The Hunt for Red October Caroline Ryan
Taking Care of Business Diane
1994 Star Trek Generations Dr. Beverly Crusher
1996 Star Trek: First Contact
1998 Star Trek: Insurrection
2002 Star Trek: Nemesis
2005 Dirty Wife
2009 Make the Yuletide Gay Martha Stanford


Year Title Role Notes
1986 The Wizard Darcy Episode: "El Dorado"
1987 The Cosby Show Episode: "Cliff's 50th Birthday"
1987–1994 Star Trek: The Next Generation Dr. Beverly Crusher 153 episodes
1990 Beyond the Groove Secretary Unknown episode
1992 L.A. Law Uta Keller Episode: "Steal It Again, Sam"
1993 Dream On Ina Dreikoff Episode: "The Book, the Thief, Her Boss and His Lover"
1994 Party of Five Greer Erikson Episode: "Something Out of Nothing"
1995 Marker Kimba 13 episodes
1995–1996 Mad About You Allison Rourke 4 episodes
1997 Crowned and Dangerous Patrice Baxter TV film
2000 The Practice Judge Emily Harrison Episode: "Checkmates"
2001 The Division Mrs. Petersen Episode: "Hero"
2004 The Handler Siobhan Episode: "Wedding Party"
2009 Family Guy Herself (voice) Episode: "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven"
2011–2013 Franklin & Bash Judge Mallory Jacobs 4 episodes
2016 Scary Endings The 911 Operator (voice) TV short
2017 A Neighbor's Deception Dr. Constance Abrams TV film
NCIS Mrs. Belmont Episode: "Skeleton Crew"
2022 Star Trek: Prodigy Dr. Beverly Crusher (voice) Episode: "Kobayashi"
2023 Star Trek: Picard Dr. Beverly Crusher 10 episodes

Web series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2023 Star Trek: Very Short Treks Dr. Beverly Crusher (voice) Episode: "Worst Contact"


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 Favour
  • 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. ^ "McFadden, Gates 1949-". Cengage. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  2. ^ @gates_mcfadden (March 2, 2022). "Big thank you to all for lovely birthday wishes!!!!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Cooper, Caren (December 20, 2016). Citizen Science: How Ordinary People are Changing the Face of Discovery. ISBN 9781468314144.
  5. ^ "Twitter Post - I was born in #Akron #Ohio at Akron General Hospital". Twitter. Retrieved August 30, 2022.
  6. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "DragonCon 2011 - Star Trek: The Next Generation - Friday panel". YouTube. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Blank, Edward L. (April 4, 1975). "'Commedia' Presents 7 'Personal' Clowns". The Pittsburgh Press. p. 15. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  8. ^ "Theatre and Dance Department records". GW Libraries. George Washington University. Historical or Biographical Note. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  9. ^ "Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher) Choreographed Labyrinth". July 24, 2013.
  10. ^ "Did You Know STAR TREK's Dr. Crusher Choreographed the Goblins in LABYRINTH? - Nerdist". January 15, 2016. Archived from the original on February 5, 2017. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Rosenbaum, Michael. "How and Why GATES MCFADDEN Was 'Fired' From Her Role in STAR TREK". Inside Of You. Retrieved June 25, 2023.
  13. ^ "Gates McFadden interview with Joan Rivers". YouTube. December 6, 1990. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  14. ^ "Rick Berman Talks 18 Years of Trek In Extensive Oral History".
  15. ^ "Ensemble Studio Theatre of Los Angeles". Archived from the original on May 24, 2011.
  16. ^ "USC School of Theatre". Archived from the original on September 1, 2006. Retrieved August 30, 2010.
  17. ^ "". Archived from the original on September 21, 2015.
  18. ^ "Gates McFadden Steps Down from Helm of Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA". American Theatre. October 31, 2014.
  19. ^ "EST-LA and Circle X Join Forces at Atwater Village". January 26, 2011.
  20. ^ "Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA Presents HOUSE OF GOLD, 10/22-12/4". Archived from the original on May 31, 2012.
  21. ^
  22. ^ " 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.
  23. ^ Rosenbaum, Michael (June 6, 2023). "Gates McFadden: Turning down Star Trek, Facing Her Stalker, Muppets Behind the Scenes and Favid Bowie Memories". Inside of You podcast.
  24. ^ Grobar, Matt (March 11, 2021). "'The Center Seat: 55 Years Of Star Trek': History Channel Sets 8-Part Docuseries From The Nacelle Company". Deadline. Archived from the original on March 20, 2021. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  25. ^ "Gates McFadden InvestiGates: Who Do You Think You Are? - Nacelle Company". May 6, 2021. Retrieved February 9, 2023.
  26. ^ "'Star Trek' Alum Gates McFadden To Host Nacelle Company's First Podcast". September 15, 2020. Retrieved February 9, 2023.
  27. ^ Stone, Sam (May 25, 2021). "Gates McFadden Gets Personal with Star Trek Cast Mates in the InvestiGates Podcast". CBR. Retrieved February 9, 2023.
  28. ^ Petski, Denise (April 5, 2022). "'Star Trek: Picard': LeVar Burton & Michael Dorn Among 6 'Next Generation' Alums Joining Third & Final Season". Deadline. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  29. ^ Kael, Ambassador (January 24, 2023). "Welcome to Refractions". Star Trek Online. Retrieved March 11, 2023.
  30. ^ "Spiner And McFadden Interview About New Collaboration". September 18, 2013.
  31. ^ "Gates McFadden film biography". Archived from the original on July 31, 2012.

External links[edit]