Star Trek’s Commander Deanna
“I wasn’t a Star Trek fan, yet I knew who all the characters were. That goes to show what an impact the show had, not just in entertainment, but in life. I knew who Chekhov was and I knew who Kirk and Spock were, although I probably had never seen the show. I don’t know about the others, but I was a little scared, not so much when we were filming but when it came time for the first show to go on the air. We were being scrutinized so closely, especially by the press, and by the fans who were not happy about there being a new show at all. They were quite happy watching their re-runs of the original Star Trek and were quite miffed that we were trying to replace their idols. So I felt like I was jumping into an abyss sometimes.” Marina Sirtis
British TV and movie actress of Greek descent Marina Sirtis became famous for her noted role, as the empathic Lt. Commander Deanna Troi in the hit series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987-94) and went on to gain popularity by continuously reprising the role in the TV movie The Next Generation - All Good Things (1994), and films Star Trek: Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) and Star Trek: Insurrection (2002), as well as the spin-off series “Star Trek: Voyager” (2000) and “Enterprise” (2005). Commenting on her renowned part, she said, “We knew that she ate chocolates and that she worked out but that was really boring. I wanted to know what she did when she went on the holodeck. We basically never saw her off duty or going on holiday. We knew she was a psychologist and a pretty good one but that was all we knew about her.”
The Greek-fluent actress also played roles in such movies as Crash (2004), Walking on Water (2004), Terminal Error (2002), Paradise Lost (1999), Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992) and others. Sirtis will play Mrs. Rafiki in Joseph Merhi’s drama Oranges (2007), starring Tom Arnold and Heather Locklear.
Out of the limelight, the vegan Sirtis is a keen animal lover and has become an active supporter for animal-rights causes, including the ASPCA. She is also an ardent fan of football club Tottenham Hotspur. As for her marriage life, 5’ 4” Sirtis is married to guitarist Michael Lamper, whom she wed in 1992.
Childhood and Family:
Born to Greek parents, on March 29, 1960, in East London, England, Marina Sirtis spent much of her early years at North London, where she was raised. Her mother is Despina Sirtis and her father died on October 24, 1981. She has one younger brother named Steve, who lives in Greece and plays professional football.
After high school, Marina, whose nickname is Rina, secretly enrolled the Guild Hall School of Music and Drama against her parents’ wills who didn’t want her to become an actress. Before relocating to Los Angeles to further launch her career, she joined Worthing Repertory Theatre, appeared in musical theater as well as worked in television and film.
On June 21, 1992, during the Star Trek’s fifth season break, Marina tied the knot with rock guitarist Michael Lamper (born in 1958), whom she met through close pal Anna Turkel. The two had their marriage in a traditional Greek ceremony and currently reside in Los Angeles.
English born and raised actress Martina Sirtis kicked off her professional career after completing her drama and music studies and soon became the member of the Worthing Repertory Theatre, with which she performed in many classical dramas, including playing the classical Ophelia in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” A talented player, she also took on roles in many musicals and once toured throughout Europe in a production of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” She broke into TV with guest roles in British series like “Raffles,” “Who Pays the Ferryman?,” (both 1977) and “Hazell” (1978), and was first cast in the made-for-TV movie in director Clive Donner’s remake of The Thief of Bagdad (1978), in which she appeared as a Harem girl. Sirtis made the leap to the big screen many years later when in 1983 London-born director Michael Winner landed her a part as Alan Bates’ girl in the adventure The Wicked Lady. Following a series of small film roles, including as a hooker in her US debut Blind Date (1984) and played Maria in Death Wish III (1985, starred the late Charles Bronson), Sirtis left London for Los Angeles in 1986 to further pursue her career.
After moving to LA, Sirtis began making audition circuits, but was fruitless. Six months later the desperate Sirtis was just about to return home to England when she got a calling call to play her signature role, as regular Lt. Commander/Commander Deanna Troi in the syndicated sci-fi smash “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”Debuted on 1987, the Gene Roddenberry-created series quickly became a hit and continued to amaze TV viewers until its final season in 1994. As for Sirtis, her empathic turn brought her attention and finally stardom.
The gifted Sirtis was also seen in an episode of the NBC police drama “Hunter” (1987), the BBC movie One Last Chance (1990, starred as Maria), the horror film Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992, starred Zach Galligan and Monika Schnarre) and one episode of the animated series “Gargoyle” (1994, voice of Demona). In 1988, she also served as one of the judges in the sixth annual Miss Teen USA beauty pageant.
Post to the departure of “Star Trek” in 1994, Sirtis began to reprise Deanna Troi role for the TV movie spin off Star Trek: The Next Generation - All Good Things..., that same year. She followed that up by playing the same role in the wide screen version Star Trek: Generations (1994, directed by David Carson) and voicing her character for the video game Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity (1995). After making her US stage debut in a production of “Loot” (1995, as Fay) at the Hartford Stage and starring with Allan Corduner and Martin Delaney in telefilm Gadgetman (1996), Sirtis returned with her prominent role, as Deanna Troi in the Jonathan Frakes-helmed Star Trek: First Contact (1996).
In 1998, the black-eyed actress resurfaced on the small screen with a guest spot on the Dick Van Dyke CBS series “Diagnosis: Murder,” playing the episodic turn of Mary Ann Eagin. The same year, after a two-year away from the Deanna Troi role, Sirtis rejoined director Jonathan Frakes to costar in the 1998 movie Star Trek: Insurrection. She rounded out the decade by teaming up with director Herb Freed and actor William Forsythe for the drama film Paradise Lost, as well as guest starring in series “The Outer Limits” and Gene Roddenberry’s “Earth: Final Conflict.”
Still on TV, Sirtis’ opening performance in the new millennium was a guest role as the Russian Dr. Svetlana Markov in the sci-fi serial “Stargate SG-1,” before appearing in the recurring role of Cmdr. Deanna Troi in the follow-up series “Star Trek: Voyager” (2000). The next year, she had a memorable guest turn as the MP Jane Taylor in the BBC hospital drama Casualty and reemerged on the big screen in 2002 with a costarring role opposite Matthew Ewald and Michael Nouri in the thriller Terminal Error. Also in 2002, Sirtis once again reprised the popular role of Deanna Troi in the feature Star Trek: Insurrection, this time directed by Stuart Baird.
Sirtis continued to undertake film roles in the following years like as Cindy Fielding in the thriller Net Games (2003, starred Thomas Howell and Lala Sloatman), Laura Lee in the sci-fi Spectres (2004, opposite Dean Haglund) and Sarah in the Jason Dohring and Jeff Corbett vehicle Walking on Water (2004). In the Oscar winning ensemble movie Crash (2004), Sirtis was additionally featured as Shereen, the wife of an Iranian shopkeeper. Next up for Sirtis, she was hired to appear with her Counsellor Deanna Troi role for the final episode of the fifth “Star Trek” series “Enterprise” and took on another guest role as Layla Moktari in “The Closer.”
Recently joining the cast of the long-running series “Girlfriends” in the recurring role of Gina Richards, Sirtis is set to revisit wide screen in 2007 with a small role as Mrs. Rafiki in Oranges, a drama written and directed by Joseph Merhi. The film will star Tom Arnold as Richard, Heather Locklear as Irene, Samual Carman as Mario and Jill Hennessy as Brenda, among others.