A funny thing about Star Trek is that in some ways, it's any other TV show. Or movie. At least, in the sense that, if you are an actor who hasn't had a particularly successful break, if you're a fan of the franchise and look forward to a role, or perhaps even, you're tired of eating hormel chili...it's a job. No intended derision, especially to hormel chili. I may be eating hormel chili in very similar circumstances in the near future, or, tomorrow, even. But basically. It's a part in a show with, at the very least, a very loyal following that's going to see your work.
Nonetheless, here are a few Star Trek guest stars who may come as something of a surprise. But you don't have to take my word for it.
Let's start off simple. If you take a look, it's in a book, it's
Levar Burton, from Reading Rainbow. Also from the miniseries, Roots. Subtract vision, and we have:
Lieutenant Commander Geordi LaForge, originally pilot of the Enterprise, later turned engineer when producers/writers decided that, while the notion of the blind pilot was neat, the character really didn't have much to do there. It's a more striking picture back when he was wearing what looked like a headband over his eyes, but it works for comparison.
Moving on a bit, a familiar comedian we all know and perhaps might love, Whoopi Goldberg had her own stint in space. By day, sunglasses wearing potty mouthed comedian:
Guinan. Bartender at Ten-Forward, the Enterprise's bar and lounge. They serve "synthehol" there, which, according to wikipedia, is supposed to "allowing the drinker to experience the intoxicating effects [of alcohol] without any adverse after-effects such as hangovers; also the intoxicating effects themselves can be dispelled easily, apparently simply by the intent to do so." This notion, despite its idyllic sound...is somewhat disturbing.
But moving a bit towards the more obscure, here's a shot from an episode called "The Perfect Mate" (I may be wrong on the episode title but I will not look it up):
Not a great photo, but the dame standing next to the ever dignified Patrick Stewart is the same actor from:
X-Men/X2/X-Men 3...playing Jean Grey/Phoenix.
If you're still here, patience may be wearing thin, in which case, I will jump to my two favorites (and if you know me well, I've certainly mentioned this before):
The actor playing the marine biologist from Star Trek IV, The Voyage Home (yes, the one with the whales):
And the one playing Captain Willard Decker in Star Trek I.
If you're as big fans of the Camden family as the rest of America should be, you'll recognize mom and dad, back from those crazy years in the seventies and eighties when they would go gallivanting around the galaxy.
Footnote: Stewie actually references a line/action of Catherine Hicks from Star Trek IV when he grabs on to his older self, whispers, "Surprise!" and is transported into the future in Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story.
Ok, I just have one more.
This actor from Star Trek VI played Lieutenant Valeris, an efficient officer, yet emotionally and morally detached:
She later reprised the role in this show:
Wholly unfair, I've never seen the show...but hey, how do I know that's not true?