Marina Sirtis

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Marina Sirtis
Marina Sirtis - Lucca Comics & Games 2016.jpg
Sirtis at the 2016 Lucca Comics & Games
Born (1955-03-29) 29 March 1955 (age 66)
Hackney,[1] England
Nationality
  • British
  • Greek
  • United States[2]
Alma materGuildhall School of Music and Drama
OccupationActress
Years active1977–present
Known forStar Trek: The Next Generation
Spouse(s)
Michael Lamper
(m. 1992; died 2019)
Websitemarinasirtis.tv

Marina Sirtis (/ˈsɜːrtɪs/; born 29 March 1955) is a British actress. She is best known for her role as Counselor Deanna Troi on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and four Star Trek feature films, as well as other appearances in the Star Trek franchise.

Early life[edit]

Marina Sirtis was born in Hackney, London,[1] the daughter of Greek parents, Despina, a tailor's assistant, and John Sirtis.[2][3] She was brought up in Harringay, North London.[2][4] When she was three years old, Sirtis says, the teenaged sons of her babysitter sexually molested her. Sirtis suffered from an eating disorder, which emerged due to the trauma of the assault. After suffering from the disorder for 20 years, she went into therapy in the 1990s and was able to manage the trauma and learn to eat healthily again.[5]

While still in secondary school, Sirtis secretly auditioned for drama school against her parents' wishes, ultimately being accepted to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.[6]

In 1976, at the age of 21, Sirtis graduated from Guildhall and began her career by joining the Connaught Theatre.[7]

In 1986, Sirtis emigrated to the United States, settling in Los Angeles to boost her career. She later became a naturalized US citizen.[2]

Career[edit]

Early work[edit]

Sirtis showing her tattoo of the logo of English football team Tottenham Hotspur at the 2012 Phoenix Comicon

Sirtis started her career as a member of the repertory company at the Connaught Theatre, Worthing, West Sussex, in 1976. Directed by Nic Young, she appeared in Joe Orton's What the Butler Saw and as Ophelia in Hamlet.[8]

Before her role in Star Trek, Sirtis was featured in supporting roles in several films. In the 1983, Faye Dunaway film, The Wicked Lady, she engaged in a whip fight with Dunaway. In the Charles Bronson sequel Death Wish 3, Sirtis' character is a rape victim. In the film Blind Date, she appears as a prostitute who is murdered by a madman.

Other early works include numerous guest-starring roles on British television series. Sirtis appeared in Raffles (1977), Who Pays the Ferryman (1977), Hazell (1978), Minder (1979), the Jim Davidson sitcom Up the Elephant and Round the Castle (1985), and The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1986). She also played the flight attendant in a 1979 Cinzano Bianco television commercial starring Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins, in which Collins was splattered with drink.

Star Trek[edit]

Star Trek: The Next Generation[edit]

In 1986, Sirtis relocated to the United States. When casting Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gene Roddenberry was inspired to ask the exotic-looking Sirtis to audition for a role after seeing the film Aliens with Bob Justman, which featured the prominent Latina character Vasquez, played by Jenette Goldstein.[9] Sirtis and Denise Crosby initially tried out for each other's eventual roles on The Next Generation. Sirtis' character was going to be named Lt. Macha Hernandez, the Security Chief. Gene Roddenberry decided to switch them, and Macha Hernandez became Tasha Yar. Sirtis recalls that on the day she received the call offering her the role, she was actually packing to return to Britain because her six-month visa had expired.

Deanna Troi is a half-human, half-Betazoid. Her Betazoid abilities allow her to read the emotions of others. Her position on the Enterprise-D is ship's counselor, looking after the crew's well-being and serving as trusted advisor to Captain Picard, with a position next to him on the bridge. Initially, the writers found it difficult to write for Troi and even left her out of four first-season episodes. Sirtis felt her job was in jeopardy after the first season, but was overjoyed when Roddenberry took her aside at Jonathan Frakes' wedding and told her that the season-two premiere episode would centre on Troi.[10]

Sirtis appeared in all seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and her character was developed from a more passive therapist to a tougher Starfleet officer. She has stated her favourite episode is season six's "Face of the Enemy", in which she is kidnapped and surgically altered to pose as a Romulan. Troi's switching to a standard Starfleet uniform in the same season in "Chain of Command" elevated the character's dignity in Sirtis' eyes, and her enthusiasm in playing her, with Sirtis commenting, "It covered up my cleavage and, consequently, I got all my brains back, because when you have a cleavage you can't have brains in Hollywood. So I got all my brains back and I was allowed to do things that I hadn't been allowed to do for five or six years. I went on away teams, I was in charge of staff, I had my pips back, I had phasers, I had all the equipment again, and it was fabulous. I was absolutely thrilled."[11]

During her time on the show, she became close friends with her co-stars Jonathan Frakes (who played Commander Riker), Michael Dorn (Lieutenant Worf) and Brent Spiner (who played Lieutenant Commander Data). The latter cast members were groomsmen at her wedding.[12]

She wore black-coloured contact lenses during the seven-year run of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the subsequent films because her character had black eyes.[13] Her own eyes are light brown.

She usually wore hairpieces for her role as Troi. Sirtis' real hair was slightly shorter and, although curly, was not as bouffant as her character's. However, Sirtis' real hair was used in the pilot episode, and also in the first six episodes of season six, in which Troi sported a more natural looking pony-tailed style. She was also asked to create an accent (described as a mixture of Eastern European and Israeli)[14] for her character, although her natural accent is Cockney. Over time, the accent was adjusted and became more Americanized.[citation needed]

Other Star Trek works[edit]

Sirtis reprised her character in the feature films Star Trek Generations (1994), Star Trek First Contact (1996), Star Trek Insurrection (1998), and Star Trek Nemesis (2002).

Sirtis was delighted to get the chance to do some comedy in Star Trek: First Contact and said, "I loved it because it opened the door to a different side of Troi we'd never seen before. That door has stayed open and that whole kind of wacky, zany Troi thing has continued into the next movie, which is great for me because I like to do things that are different."[15] Sirtis stated of her role in Star Trek: Nemesis, "I sort of had an inkling that I was going to have a good part in this film because John Logan was such a big fan of the character. So I knew that he would do her some justice."[16]

Sirtis also appeared in Star Trek: Voyager for three episodes toward the end of the series (1999 and 2000), and the series finale of Star Trek: Enterprise (2005). She next returned to her role as Deanna Troi in 2020 in Star Trek: Picard episode "Nepenthe".[17] She also reprised the role in "No Small Parts", the first season finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks.

Other work[edit]

While filming Star Trek: The Next Generation, Sirtis returned to the UK during the hiatus between seasons three and four in 1990 to film a drama special entitled One Last Chance for the BBC. In 1992, she appeared in an episode of the short-lived series The Fifth Corner and had a cameo in the horror/fantasy movie Waxwork II: Lost in Time. After the end of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1994, Sirtis continued to work regularly. Her first role was a departure from previous work, an abused wife in the series Heaven Help Us.

She provided the voice of Demona in the animated Disney television series Gargoyles for two seasons starting in 1994. Her Next Generation co-stars, Frakes (as the voice of David Xanatos), Spiner and Dorn, also lent their voices to the show. She voiced the character again for an episode of the unmade animated series Team Atlantis.

Marina Sirtis at a Star Trek Convention, 2008

In 1996, Sirtis starred as a villainous police detective in the British made-for-television movie, Gadgetman. She played a villainess once again when she guest-starred as a race-track owner under investigation following the death of a driver in Diagnosis: Murder in 1998. The independent movie Paradise Lost, with Sirtis in a starring role, was released in 1999.

Beginning in 1999, Sirtis returned to science-fiction television in a number of roles starting with The Outer Limits. The same year, she appeared in Earth: Final Conflict, originally created by Gene Roddenberry. In 2000, she played a Russian scientist in Stargate SG-1. Sirtis was interviewed in the October 2000 issue of SFX magazine in the UK; the cover stated, "Marina Sirtis is Everywhere", also referring to her reprisal of her character Deanna Troi on Star Trek: Voyager.

In 2001, Sirtis made a highly publicised appearance on the long-running British hospital drama Casualty. She played a politician with controversial views on the National Health Service. When she meets with a man with whom she is having an affair at a hotel, she is caught in an explosion. She appeared in the made-for-television movies Terminal Error in 2002 and Net Games in 2003. Also in 2003, she guest-starred in the ABC series Threat Matrix playing a biological-weapons scientist from Iraq.

Sirtis starred in the movie Spectres in 2004, and at ShockerFest International Film Festival, she won the best actress award.[18]

Sirtis had a minor role in the Academy Award-winning ensemble film Crash as the wife of the Persian shopkeeper. Following this, she played another Middle Eastern role on the series The Closer in 2005. In 2006, she had a three-episode recurring role as a love match-maker on Girlfriends, and she guest-starred in Without a Trace. In 2007, Sirtis starred in the SyFy channel production of Grendel, where she played Queen Onela. Independent movies Trade Routes, The Deep Below, and Lesser of Three Evils were released. She provided the voice for Matriarch Benezia in the critically acclaimed video game Mass Effect on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

In 2008, she made a guest appearance in an episode of the Casualty spin-off show Holby City. The same year, the sci-fi/drama movie Inalienable, written by Star Trek alumnus Walter Koenig, was released. Sirtis said of her role, "I actually play the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, so I'm a bad guy, a mean lawyer, which was fantastic."[19]

The direct-to-DVD sequels Green Street 2 and The Grudge 3, featuring Sirtis, were released in 2009. She co-starred in the British movie 31 North 62 East as the prime minister's top aide; it had a limited theatrical release in the UK. Sirtis guest-starred in the first episode of the short-lived hospital drama Three Rivers. She returned to SyFy in December 2009 in the disaster movie Annihilation Earth.

In 2010, Sirtis guest-starred as a Swiss doctor in two episodes of ABC Family's Make It or Break It. In May 2010, Sirtis announced that she would be providing the voice for comic-book villainess Queen Bee in the Young Justice animated series.[20] She provided her voice for a number of episodes from 2011 until its cancellation in 2013. In March 2011, Sirtis guest-starred on an episode of Grey's Anatomy. She played an Iranian mother who was at the hospital to participate in a medical trial for Alzheimer's disease.[21]

In 2012, the vampire movie Speed Demons, in which Sirtis co-starred, was released to pay-per-view services.[22] The same year, she played a fortune teller in the Castlevania fan-made series posted on YouTube. She accepted a recurring role as director of Mossad on NCIS.[23] Her character, Orli Elbaz, succeeds Eli David (portrayed by Michael Nouri) and was introduced in the season-10 episode "Berlin", which aired in April 2013. She subsequently appeared in the second episode of season 11, which aired in early October 2013, and in the season 13 finale "Family First".

Gargoyles voice actress Sirtis with a Demona cosplayer at Wizard World Des Moines 2017

Sirtis voiced the Enterprise's computer in the web series Star Trek Continues.[24][25]

In 2014, she co-starred in the SyFy channel horror movie Finders Keepers. The following year, she appeared in the British film A Dark Reflection, and in 2016, Sirtis starred in the Hallmark Channel movie My Summer Prince.[26] In 2019, Sirtis made her London West End stage debut in Dark Sublime, playing the character of Marianne, a freelance actor and now-forgotten icon of a British sci-fi TV show, whose encounter with a fan changes both of their lives.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Sirtis married Michael Lamper, an actor and rock guitarist, in 1992.[5][28] Lamper died in his sleep on the 7th of December 2019.[29]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role
1983 The Wicked Lady Jackson's Girl
1984 Blind Date Hooker
1985 Death Wish 3 Maria Rodriguez
1992 Waxwork II: Lost in Time Gloria
1994 Star Trek Generations Counselor Deanna Troi
1996 Star Trek: First Contact Counselor Deanna Troi
1998 Star Trek: Insurrection Counselor Deanna Troi
1999 Paradise Lost Dr. Christine DuMaurier
2002 Star Trek: Nemesis Counselor Deanna Troi
2002 Terminal Error Alex
2004 Spectres Laura Lee
2004 Crash Shereen
2007 Fist of the Warrior Mary
2007 The Deep Below Sarah
2007 Game of Life Mrs. Rafiki
2008 InAlienable Attorney Barry
2009 Green Street 2: Stand Your Ground Veronica Mavis
2009 The Grudge 3 Gretchen
2009 31 North 62 East Sarah Webber
2014 Finders Keepers Janine
2014 Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films Herself
2015 A Dark Reflection Maggie Jaspar
2016 Little Dead Rotting Hood Esmerelda Winfield / Grandmother
2017 The Assassin's Apprentice Miranda
2017 My Christmas Prince Felicia Holst
2018 5th Passenger Alana
2020 Max Winslow and the House of Secrets H.A.V.E.N
2020 Debt Collectors Mal Reese

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Note
1977 Raffles Faustina
1977 Who Pays the Ferryman? Ariadne
1978 Hazell Melina Stassinopolus
1978 The Thief of Baghdad Harem Girl TV film
1979 Cinzano commercial Stewardess TV commercial
1979 Minder Stella Series 1, Episode 6: Aces High...And Sometimes Very Low
1982 Kelly Monteith Uncredited
1985 Up the Elephant and Round the Castle Lisa
1986 Room at the Bottom Carla
1986 Call Me Mister Sally
1986 The Return of Sherlock Holmes Lucrezia Episode: "The Six Napoleons"
1987 Hunter Kate Scanlon
1987–1994 Star Trek: The Next Generation Counselor Deanna Troi 176 Episodes
1988 Reading Rainbow Herself Episode: "The Bionic Bunny Show"
1990 One Last Chance Maria TV film
1994 Heaven Help Us Carolyn Paris
1994–1996, 1997 Gargoyles Demona Animated series
1996 Gadgetman Detective Inspector Walker TV film
1997 Duckman Aurora Abromowitz Animated series
1998 Diagnosis: Murder Mary Ann Eagin
1999 Earth: Final Conflict Sister Margarette
1999 The Outer Limits Olivia 'Liv' Kohler Episode: "The Grell"
1999–2000 Star Trek: Voyager Counselor Deanna Troi Episodes: "Pathfinder"; "Life Line"; "Inside Man"
2000 Stargate SG-1 Dr. Svetlana Markova Episode: "Watergate"
2001 Casualty Jane Taylor, MP
2003 Threat Matrix Dr. Nabila Hassan
2005, 2009 Family Guy Marina Sirtis, Herself Animated series
2005 The Closer Layla Moktari Episode: "L.A. Woman"
2005 Star Trek: Enterprise Counselor Deanna Troi Episode: "These Are the Voyages..."
2006 Without a Trace Alexas Soros
2006 Girlfriends Gina Richards
2007 Grendel Queen Wealtheow TV film
2008 Holby City Lucy Simmonds
2009 Annihilation Earth Paxton TV film
2009 The Cleveland Show Athena the Greek Prostitute/Woman at Party Animated series
2009 Green Street 2 Veronica Mavis
2009 Three Rivers Layla Rahimi
2010 Make It or Break It Dr. Anna Kleister
2010–2013, 2019 Young Justice L-4 / Queen Bee / Scientist No. 2
2011 Grey's Anatomy Sonya Amin
2013 Star Trek Continues Computer voice
2013 Adventure Time Samantha Episode: "The Pit"
2013–2016 NCIS Mossad Director Orli Elbaz Episodes: "Berlin", "Past, Present, and Future", "Family First"
2016 My Summer Prince (Hallmark TV movie) Penelope Sheridan
2017 Scandal General Fletcher Episode: "The Box"
2017 OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes Cosma (voice) Voice role
2018 The Last Sharknado: It's About Time Winter Voice role
2018 Titans Marie Granger Episode: "Hank and Dawn"
2019 The Orville Schoolteacher Episode: "Sanctuary"
2020 Star Trek: Picard Commander Deanna Troi Episode: ''Nepenthe''
2020 Star Trek: Lower Decks Commander Deanna Troi (voice) Episode: "No Small Parts"

Voice acting[edit]

AudioBooks[edit]

Year Title Role
2015 Rain of the Ghosts Julia

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sirtis, Marina [@Marina_Sirtis] (13 April 2018). "I was born in 'Ackney and grew up in Harringay. Went to school in Tottenham" (Tweet). Retrieved 14 April 2018 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ a b c d "Marina Sirtis biography". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  3. ^ "Jolly Good Shows". Oddsagainstyou.net. 4 November 1990. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  4. ^ closed access Folsom, Robert (18 April 1997). "Counselor Troi remains the accent of actress' career Marina Sirtis to join other 'Star Trek' stars at weekend convention". The Kansas City Star. p. 16. (subscription required)
  5. ^ a b Craine, Debra (20 June 2019). "Marina Sirtis: 'What happened to me was awful and I've never talked about it in public'". The Times. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Sirtis, Marina". startrek.com. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  7. ^ Clark, Mark (1 June 2013). Star Trek FAQ 2.0 (Unofficial and Unauthorized): Everything Left to Know About the Next Generation, the Movies, and Beyond. Hal Leonard Corporation, 1 June 2013.
  8. ^ Full Circle by John Willmer, pub. Optimus Books 1999
  9. ^ Nemeck, Larry (2003). Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-7434-5798-6.
  10. ^ "Empathetic Marina Sirtis". Littlereview.com. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
  11. ^ "BBC Online – Cult – Star Trek – Marina Sirtis – Cleavage or Brains?". BBC. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
  12. ^ "24". Marinasirtis.tv. Archived from the original on 27 April 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
  13. ^ "Betazoids". StarTrek.com. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  14. ^ Mitchell, Maurice. "The Strange History Of Deanna Troi's Accent". thegeektwins.com. The Geek Twins. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  15. ^ "Scifi and TV Talk". Sci-fi and TV Talk. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  16. ^ "Review". Sfrevu.com. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  17. ^ Blauvelt, Christian (5 March 2020). "'Star Trek: Picard' Review: Riker and Troi Return for a TNG Reunion That's Everything You Hoped For". IndieWire. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  18. ^ "ShockerFest 2004". ShockerFest 2004. Archived from the original on 30 December 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  19. ^ "Interview with Star Trek actress Marina Sirtis". Paula Hammond. 9 October 2008. Archived from the original on 15 December 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  20. ^ Marina Sirtis will be playing Queen Bee in Young Justice for Cartoon Network on YouTube
  21. ^ "Interview: Grey's welcomes Star Trek actress Marina Sirtis in tonight's episode!!". Jim Halterman. 24 March 2010. Archived from the original on 16 October 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
  22. ^ Speed Demon (2012) Dread Central.
  23. ^ "Sirtis Lands NCIS Role". T'Bonz. 27 March 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  24. ^ "Cast and Crew – Star Trek Continues". Archived from the original on 17 November 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  25. ^ "Star Trek Continues Webseries on Kickstarter". Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  26. ^ "My Summer Prince Cast". hallmarkchannel.com. Crown Media Family Networks. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  27. ^ Gillinson, Miriam (1 July 2019). "Dark Sublime Review – Marina Sirtis enters parallel sci-fi universe". www.theguardian.com.
  28. ^ Byrne, Suzy (20 June 2019). "'Star Trek' actress Marina Sirtis reveals she was molested at age 3 by her babysitter's teen sons". Yahoo News. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  29. ^ Perine, Aaron (8 December 2019). "Star Trek: The Next Generation Star Marina Sirtis' Husband Michael Lamper Dead at 61". comicbook.com. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  30. ^ "Cockpit Voice Assistant Carina - Elite Dangerous - Game Extras". www.frontierstore.net. Archived from the original on 22 July 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2019.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]