The Borg Queen
South Africa actress Alice Krige is best recalled as the Borg Queen in the Star Trek motion picture, “First Contact” (1996), from which she won a Saturn Award. She later reprised the role for two final episodes of the spin-off series “Star Trek: Voyager” (2001). Although the role made her very popular, the talented performer has never been typecast. Commenting about it, she said, “I'm immensely grateful. I don't know how much I've had to do with it, but I'm immensely grateful because I have been very fortunate to play a huge variety of roles in a greatly varied spectrum of work. I've worked in mainstream cinema, on the absolute fringe of cinema, mainstream television, television that was sort of ‘out there’ and cutting edge at the time and I've done some work in the theatre. I haven't yet been typecast and I actually consider myself incredibly fortunate.”
Krige is also known for playing a vampire's mother in “Stephen King's Sleepwalkers” (1992), in which she took home a Fantafestival Award and Dee in Showtime's “Hidden in America” (1996). Her more recent and upcoming credits include “The Little Vampire” (2000), “Reign of Fire” (2002), “The Mystery of Natalie Wood” (2004, TV), “Silent Hill” (2006), “Lonely Hearts” (2006), “The Contract” (2007), “Persuasion” (2007, TV), “Heroes and Villains: Napoleon” (2007, TV), “Skin” (2008) and “Solomon Kane” (2008).
A wishful psychologist before turning her attention to acting, Krige has also dotted her resume with several stage performances, most notably her award-winning turn in “Arms and the Man” (1981).
As for her personal life, Krige has been married to director/writer Paul Schoolman since 1988. The couple currently resides in Malibu, California, but spends a great deal of time traveling abroad, which Krige describes as a “gypsy” lifestyle.
Alice is a vegetarian.
Childhood and Family:
Alice Maud Krige was born June 28, 1954, in Upington, South Africa, to Louis Krige, a physician, and Pat Krige, a psychologist. Despite having a happy upbringing in Port Elizabeth, young Alice grew up without television because South Africa did not start getting television until after the mid-1970s. She describes the experience as a “huge black hole in my education.” Inspired by her mother's profession, Alice attended Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, where she chased an undergraduate degree in psychology and literature. She joined the drama class in her senior year. Upon completing her studies in 1975, she relocated to England to gain professional training at London's Central School of Speech and Drama. On her new-found passion, she said, “I really got into it and it took over my life. It became my life-calling, all consuming.”
Alice married writer/director Paul Schoolman in 1988. They met during the production of “Chariots of Fire” (1981).
Born and raised in South Africa, where television was not available until the 1970s, Alice Krige had no intentions or dreams of pursuing an acting career until she entered her senior year in college. Primarily trained as a clinical psychologist, she discovered a love for performing with the drama class and at age 22, decided to relocate to London to further her acting studies. Following a three-year stint at The Central School of Speech and Drama, Krige made her television debut with a bit part in the British drama “The Happy Autumn Fields” (1980), followed by her American TV-movie debut in Jim Goddard's adaptation of Charles Dickens' “A Tale of Two Cities” (also 1980), playing Lucie Manette. The next year, Krige made the leap into film by playing Sybil Gordon on the Academy Award-winning sport-themed “Chariots of Fire,” which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 1981. Later that same year, John Irvin hired her to play the dual role of the punishing spirit in the drama/horror “Ghost Story.” She also received praise on stage with her West End debut in “Arms and the Man,” where she took home a Laurence Olivier for Most Promising Newcomer.
Led by her stage success, Krige went on to spend some time working with the renowned Royal Shakespeare Company and acted in such plays as “Cyrano de Bergerac,” “King Lear,” “The Tempest” and “The Taming of the Shrew.” She returned to television in 1984 in the miniseries “Ellis Island” and to film in 1985 in the Biblical epic “King David” (1985), starring Richard Gere. From then, she alternated between television and movies. Her subsequent movie credits include “Barfly” (1987), “Haunted Summer” (1988), “Code Name: Chaos” (1988) and “See You in the Morning” (1989). While on TV, she could be seen in the biopic “Wallenberg: A Hero's Story” (1985, with Richard Chamberlain), the CBS miniseries “Dream West” (1986), the Vanessa Redgrave vehicle “Second Serve” (1986) and the HBO film “Baja Oklahoma” (1989).
The early to mid-1990s saw Krige star with Treat Williams as Holocaust survivors on the TNT made-for-TV film “Max and Helen” (1990), play the supporting role of Olga in the miniseries “The Strauss Dynasty” (1991), appear with Mimi Rogers in the thriller TV Film “Ladykiller” (1992) and guest star as Anne Berrisford on an episode of “Beverly Hills, 90201” (1993). She also acted in the TV films “Double Deception” (1993), “Jack Reed: Badge of Honor” (1993), “Joseph” (1995), “Donor Unknown” (1995) and the miniseries “The Scarlet and the Black” (1993, starred as Madame de Renal). She revisited feature film after a few years absence with 1992's “Sleepwalkers,” which was written by Stephen King. As Mary Brady, the overprotective mother of a shape changing teen, she picked up a Fantafestival award for Best Actress. It was followed by a costarring role as wife Lisa Benjamenta in the Quay Brothers' “Institute Benjamenta” (1995).
1996 proved to be a banner year for Krige with her supporting role in the high-profile Science fiction film “Star Trek: First Contact,” directed by Jonathan Frakes. Working with Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner and LeVar Burton, the actress offered a memorable performance as the icy, mechanized Borg Queen and was handed a Best Supporting Actress Saturn for her work in the film. The same year, she also gave a strong scene-stealing performance as Dee in the Showtime drama “Hidden in America” and portrayed Audrey Farnsworth in the good film “Amanda.”
The rest of the decade found Krige in such films as Rene Daalder's fantasy, “Habitat” (1997), “Indefensible: The Truth About Edward Brannigan” (1997, TV), “The Commissioner” (1998), “Molokai: The Story of Father Damien” (1999) and “In the Company of Spies” (1999). In addition, she supported Keith Barron in the miniseries “Close Relations” (1998) and made guest appearances in the shows “Welcome to Paradox” (1998) and “Becker” (1999).
After appearing in the movies “The Little Vampire” and “The Calling” (both 2000) and the television movie “Attila” (2001), Krige reprised her film role of the Borg Queen in two final episodes of “Star Trek: Voyager” (2001). Explaining why she was late in recreating her role for the series, she stated, “I was in England doing something else when they brought the character into the series, so I was not available. But then I was available for the finale episode. I was really quite anxious about doing it on television. I didn't know whether it would diminish her power but it seems that it didn't. “
Subsequently, she acted in “Superstition” (2001), “Falling” (2001), “Reign of Fire” (2002), “Dinotopia” (2002, miniseries), “Children of Dune” (2003, miniseries), “The Mystery of Natalie Wood” (2004, TV), “Shadow of Fear” (2004) and “Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure” (2005, TV). She played the recurring role of Maddie, an ex- prostitute, on five episodes of the HBO series “Deadwood” (2005), appeared as the author in the horror film “Stay Alive” (2006), portrayed Rachel Fedden in the BBC miniseries “The Line of Beauty” (2006) and supported Radha Michell in the horror/thriller “Silent Hill” (2006). Talking about her character in “Silent Hill,” she said, “My character, Cristabella, is the leader of a cult that burns witches. She perceives herself as the embodiment of righteousness and that's always a problem. It was disturbing to do. I think it works for the gamers because there are 35 million people who play the game. I believe it will work in the realm of science fiction because it poses some philosophical questions about the nature of reality and parallel layers of existence and the nature of good and evil. It will also work as a straight thriller and there are some truly horrifying moments in it.”
Krige then appeared in Todd Robinson's “Lonely Hearts” (2006, with John Travolta and Jared Leto), the drama/thriller “The Contract” (2007, opposite Morgan Freeman and John Cusack), “Ten Inch Hero” (2007, with Clea DuVall and Sean Patrick Flanery), and the TV films “Persuasion” and “Heroes and Villains: Napoleon” (both 2007). She is scheduled to portray Sannie Laing in the drama “Skin” (2008), alongside Sam Neill and Sophie Okonedo, and Katherine Crowthorn in the action/adventure “Solomon Kane” (2008), directed and written by Michael J. Bassett.
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films: Saturn Award, Best Supporting Actress, “Star Trek: First Contact,” 1997
Fantafestival: Best Actress, “Sleepwalkers,” 1992