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Marina Sirtis (1955)

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Marina Sirtis is a British-American actress of Greek descent. She played the role of the human/Betazoid Commander Deanna Troi, ship's counselor, on the television and film series Star Trek: The Next Generation.


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.

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's character is a rape victim. In the film Blind Date, she appears as a prostitute who is murdered by a madman.

She has an established record of British television work, appearing in Minder, Raffles, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, Casualty and Holby City among other things. She played the stewardess in the famous Cinzano Bianco television commercial starring Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins, in which Collins was splattered with drink.

 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. Sirtis and Denise Crosby initially tried out for each other's eventual role on The Next Generation. Sirtis's character was going to be named Lt. Macha Hernandez, the Security Chief. Gene Roddenberry decided to switch them, and Macha Hernandez became Natasha Yar. Sirtis recalls that on the day she received a call offering her the role of Deanna Troi, she was actually packing to return to England, because her six-month visa had ended.

Deanna Troi was a half-human, half-Betazoid. Her Betazoid abilities allowed her to read the emotions of others. Her position on the Enterprise-D was ship's counsellor, looking after the crew's well-being and a trusted advisor to Captain Picard with a position seated next to him on the Bridge.

Initially, the writers found it difficult to write for Troi and even left her out of four of the first season episodes. Sirtis felt her job was in jeopardy after the first season but was overjoyed when Gene Roddenberry took her aside at Jonathan Frakes's wedding and told her that the season two premiere episode, "The Child", would center on Troi.

Sirtis appeared in all seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and her character was developed from a more passive therapist to tougher Starfleet officer, much to Sirtis's approval.

She has stated her favourite episode is season six's "Face of the Enemy", in which Troi 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."

During her time on the show, she became close friends with her co-stars Jonathan Frakes (who played her on-again/off-again lover Commander Riker), Michael Dorn (Lieutenant Worf, also an on-screen love interest) and Brent Spiner . Cast members Spiner and Dorn were groomsmen at her wedding.

She usually wore hair-pieces for her role as Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation. 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 for her character, although her natural accent is English. Over time, the accent was adjusted and became more Americanized.

Sirtis has also reprised her character of Deanna Troi in the feature films, Star Trek: Generations , Star Trek: First Contact , Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek: Nemesis . She also appeared in Star Trek: Voyager for three episodes toward the end of the series and also in the series finale of Star Trek: Enterprise .

Sirtis was delighted to get the chance to do some comedy in Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection. Her biggest role was in Star Trek: Nemesis and she stated "I sort of had an inkling that I was going to have a good part in this movie because John Logan was such a big fan of the character. So I knew that he would do her some justice." Troi and Riker finally get married but Troi has to endure being telepathically violated. She gets her revenge by using her Betazoid senses to target the cloaked enemy ship.

 Other work
After the end of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1994, Sirtis continued to work regularly. She provided the voice of Demona in the Disney animated television series Gargoyles, (1994–1996 and two one off specials). Her Next Generation co-stars, Frakes, Spiner and Dorn, also lent their voices to the acclaimed show. She voiced the character again for an episode of the unmade Animated Series Team Atlantis.

Sirtis popularly appeared in episodes of other science fiction television series; The Outer Limits, Stargate SG-1 and Earth: Final Conflict. Sirtis was interviewed in the October 2000 SFX magazine in the UK, the cover stated "Marina Sirtis is Everywhere" referring to her numerous sci-fi appearances airing close together, Stargate SG-1, Earth Final Conflict and Star Trek: Voyager. Her other guest starring roles include Heaven Help Us, Diagnosis: Murder, Threat Matrix (playing a Bio-weapons scientist from Iraq), The Closer, a three episode recurring role on Girlfriends and Without a Trace.

She has also starred in many independent, made-for-television films and theatrical films including Gadgetman, Paradise Lost, Terminal Error, Net Games, Spectres, Grendel, Inalienable, Oranges, Fist of the Warrior, The Grudge 3 and Green Street 2.

In the United Kingdom, she made a highly publicized guest appearance on the BBC hospital drama series Casualty in 2001. In 2008, she made a guest appearance in an episode of Casualtys sister show, Holby City.

Sirtis has expanded her career branching out into production, she was associate producer for Spectres and The Deep Below.

In 2004, Sirtis had a minor role in the Academy Award-winning ensemble film Crash as the wife of the Persian shopkeeper.

She also has done voice work for video games, as the character Matriarch Benezia for the critically acclaimed RPG Mass Effect, as well as Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation – A Final Unity and Star Trek Generations PC games.

Sirtis has read a few audio books including Powers That Be, by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Anne Scarborough.

In 1999 she co-starred in the Radio Reperatory Company of America radio play "Flight of the Bumble Bee".

2009 saw Sirtis continuing to regularly attend Star Trek conventions as well as a Gargoyles themed one. Sirtis appeared as a guest on the show Family Guy playing herself along with the rest of the cast of Star Trek: TNG. She has provided her voice for an episode of The Cleveland Show airing at some point in the 09-10 season. Green Street 2, The Grudge 3 and InAlienable, all featuring Sirtis were released onto DVD. Independent film 31 North 62 East was released in limited cinemas in the UK in September in which she had a starring role as the Prime Minister's aide who is kidnapped. Sirtis guest starred in the pilot episode of new medical drama Three Rivers playing an Iranian, which aired on October 4, 2009. The made-for-TV movie Annihilation Earth aired on Syfy in December 2009.

February 2010 saw Sirtis guest star as a Swiss doctor in two episodes of ABC Family's Make It or Break It. Sirtis is scheduled to commence filming for two more productions, Shadows in the Sky and P415 with Fact Not Fiction Films, based in West Sussex, UK. A vampire film entitled Immortal Cycle, which Sirtis reported she was filming last June in Louisiana, will be released at some point.

In May 2010, Sirtis announced that she would be providing the voice for comic book villainess Queen Bee in the upcoming Young Justice animated series.

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.

In September 2011, fans started a group to get Marina to appear on Doctor Who. A few weeks later, she acknowledged the group and her desire to be on the show at the Montreal Comiccon.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Marina Sirtis", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.