Gates McFadden

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Gates McFadden
Gates McFadden 3.jpg
Gates McFadden in May 2004
Born Cheryl Gates McFadden
(1949-03-02) March 2, 1949 (age 67)
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States
Alma mater Brandeis University
Occupation Actress and choreographer
Years active 1984–present
Known for Star Trek: The Next Generation
Spouse(s) John Talbot (?-present) (1 child)
Children 1

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

Early life[edit]

McFadden was born in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. She attended Brandeis University graduating with a Bachelor of Arts cum laude in theatre arts. After graduating from Brandeis, she moved to Paris and studied theatre with actor Jacques Lecoq. She is of Lithuanian descent on her mother's side.[2]


Early work[edit]

McFadden often worked for Jim Henson productions, including the films The Dark Crystal (as choreographer), Labyrinth (as director of choreography and puppet movement), The Muppets Take Manhattan (choreographer and a brief on-screen appearance), and uncredited work on Dreamchild (again supervising choreography and puppet movement). 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 One[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 McFadden was fired at the end of the season 1.[3] Diana Muldaur joined the production as the Enterprise's new chief medical officer, Dr. Katherine Pulaski, for season 2.

Seasons three through seven[edit]

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.[4] At first, she was hesitant, but after a phone call from co-star Patrick Stewart, McFadden was persuaded to return to the role, which she subsequently continued to play through the remainder of the series.[5]

Highlights for her character included "The High Ground", where Dr. Crusher 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 a man with a big secret; "Suspicions", in which Dr. Crusher risks her career to solve the murder of a scientist; "Descent" where Crusher takes command of the Enterprise when the rest of the senior staff is participating in a search for Data; "Sub Rosa", where Dr. Crusher becomes the next victim of her grandmother's 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 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.

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).[6] As of August 2010, she was listed as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Theater at the University of Southern California.[7] She has been Artistic Director of Ensemble Studio Theatre of Los Angeles since January 2009,[8] stepping down from that position in October 2014.[9] During her tenure, she spearheaded the building of the Atwater Village Theatre Collective, a new two-theater space in Los Angeles.[10][11]

McFadden has lent her voice as narrator in several audio books. In 2010, she was the narrator of "Confessor" (METAtropolis: CASCADIA).[12][13]

Personal life[edit]

McFadden has one son, James, born in 1991.[14] Her pregnancy was not written into the fourth season of TNG; instead, her character wore a laboratory coat over her uniform. Next Generation co-star Brent Spiner is her son's godfather.[15]


McFadden in 2014




  1. ^ "Gates McFadden Biography (1949–)". March 2, 1949. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  2. ^ "DragonCon 2011 - Star Trek: The Next Generation - Friday panel". Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  3. ^ 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 3rd season after Hurley left. 
  4. ^ "Gates McFadden interview with Joan Rivers". YouTube. December 6, 1990. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  5. ^ “”. "Rick Berman Talks 18 Years of Trek In Extensive Oral History". 
  6. ^ "Ensemble Studio Theatre of Los Angeles". 
  7. ^ "USC School of Theatre". Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  8. ^ "". 
  9. ^ "Gates McFadden Steps Down from Helm of Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA". American Theatre. October 31, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Atwater Village". 
  11. ^ "Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA Presents HOUSE OF GOLD, 10/22-12/4". 
  12. ^ "". 
  13. ^ " METAtropolis Cascadia – Part 1 The Difference Between Acting and Narrating". November 8, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Gates McFadden Biography (1949–)". March 2, 1949. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Spiner And McFadden Interview About New Collaboration". September 18, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Gates McFadden film biography". 
  17. ^ "Beyond the Groove". Retrieved February 18, 2016. 

External links[edit]