In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Behind each scene goes hours of preparation. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book and pop culture greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of the nerd world, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.
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Name: Marina Sirtis
Notable Work: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gargoyles, Hamlet
“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.” – Marina Sirtis
Marina Sirtis is coming to Denver Comic Con along with several from the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The cast reunion is going to prove to be a one hell of a time with so many from the cast in the same location. Trek has been a hotbed of talent and a cornucopia of collective work. McFadden has worked as a choreographer for Dark Crystal and the Labyrinth, Frakes has directed, Burton ran Reading Rainbow, Denise Crosby was currently on The Walking Dead and Trek fans are still waiting for a Dorn to reprise his role of Worf to be captain of his own starship.
For anyone who has seen Sirtis at a convention, it’s easy to be instantly taken with her. Her real life persona is more like that of her screen mother, Laxana Troi, than Deanna. She is a spitfire, strong and commanding – and her body of work is extensive and dynamic.
Sirtis got her start on the stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company and with The Worthington Repertory Theatre Company’s production of Hamlet where Sirtis played Ophelia. She was also in a production of Rocky Horror Picture Show in which she played Magenta and toured Malian and Munich. Sirtis has never left theater and still takes the stage when she can. Her last stage performance was Neil Simon’s Hotel Suite at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia.
“I would have to say that most of my other favorite things that I’ve done have been theater projects. Playing Ophelia in “Hamlet” is one of my favorites. Esmeralda in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and Magenta in “Rocky Horror” are my other favorite stage roles. (1994)”
After her work on the stage, Sirtis was on several well-known British television series, such as: Up the Elephant and around the Castle, and The Return of Sherlock. Her working history is extensive, however, she is best known for her role as Deanna Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Sirtis left England and came to the United States to get work here. When she originally auditioned for Trek, she was reading for Denise Crosby’s role, Tasha Yar. Rodenberry felt they were each better suited for the other’s role. In the end, Sirtis was cast as Troi, while Crosby was cast as Yar.
Sirtis, at the time she got the role, was rather shy and took some time to get out of her shell. She’s been known to say she was just hiding more of her spunk so as to keep her role for Troi. It wasn’t long before her dynamic personality shined through. She quickly became close with several of the cast members and was particularity close to Majel Barrett (Laxana Troi) Gene Rodenberry’s wife. Sirtis called her mom and was sad when she past just a few years after her mother back in England.
What is amazing about Sirtis was her dedication to her character and the advocacy to expand and grow Tori as a character. At first, the writers for TNG found it hard to write for the half-human Betazoid. After all, when you have a character who can feel others’ emotions and intentions, it can take away from conflict of the plot. After the first season, however, Rodenberry was able to figure out her character and she continued to grow as the season continued. Troi had many intriguing and dynamic relationships with the character of TNG. I was always intrigued by her interactions with the Yar and Crusher on the show. TNG did a great portrayal of the spectrum of what femininity is and could be and the strength that it could convey to an audience and Sirtis had a big influence of were the writers took her character.
Sirtis’ favorite time on the show came in the sixth season when she got to explore Troi outside of her Betazoid counselor self when she was disguised as a Romulan in Face the Enemy, her favorite TNG episode. It pushed her acting and her character into a new path. At first, Troi was supposed to be like the wiz kid, Weasley, and Sirtis was happy when Troi made the transition from counselor to Starfleet officer. Sirtis felt her character went through a transformation. She went from staying on the ship to leading away teams and caring phasers, and getting a different voice. In both position of the passive and the active, Sirtis brought a spark and a strength to it that was refreshing to watch on-screen. Sirtis has had a lasting impression on television with this seminal role. Those of us who go to conventions know the impression she’s had on Sci-fi and we can thank her for the dynamic women she has played throughout the years. Sirtis did more than play a character, she helped create images of strength for a generation of women.
When TNG ended, Sirtis continued on in 1994 to voice Demona for Disney’s Gargoyles. Which she did for two years along side TNG costar Jonathan Frakes . Sirtis has lent her voice for other projects, including Mass Effect and Adventure Time. After her time with Gargoyles, she switched modalities and stared as a police detective for a British movie Gadgememant. She also had many character roles in her career which consist of: Stargate SG-1, Outer Limits, Star Trek Voyager, and NCIS. Her character work shows her versatility as an actress – how much of an awesome and inspiring personality she is on the stage. She is also still great friend with Brent Spiner and Michael Dorn (Sirtis calls him Dorny) and were even groomsmen at her wedding.
Her work with her fans is also something to note. Sirtis feels she has the best fans. It isn’t often you see such a direct relationship with the fans and all the people she has inspired. Like a lot of other Trek actors, she has worked on a lot of fan based stories and online shows. Her recent work includes the fan show, Castlevania. This is what so amazing about the creatives involved with Trek – it’s the close relationship to their art and the audience.
“I have the best time. My stand-up material is pretty well-set now. The traveling part gets me down, but the actual convention part I still love. I come home after a weekend at a convention, and you have to scrape me off the ceiling. I’m so up and high and full of self-confidence, and I thank the fans for making me feel that way. Sometimes I think I should be paying the fans money to let me be there. I bet they would like that, too. I probably get more out of it than they do. (1994)”
As of late Sirtis has been working on NCIS and Star Trek Continues, where she plays the voice of the computer. There is also a fan campaign going around to get her on Doctor Who. Sirtis loves that her fans want her to be on Doctor Who, and would be on the show if given the opportunity. She sure would make a good doctor in my opinion. I hope that this is something that will happen for her. With the magnitude of collective power her fans have, it wouldn’t surprise me if she eventually didn’t get a role on the show. Hell, maybe she could even be the next Doctor. She, after all, has the spunk for it.
Join us tomorrow as we continue our countdown to Denver Comic Con as we spotlight legendary comic book artist, George Perez.
All media belongs to CBS, Samoht Lion, Gage Skidmore