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  • Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi)

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    Marina Sirtis was born 29th March 1955 in Hackney, London, the daughter of working-class Greek parents, Despina, a tailor's assistant, and John Sirtis. She was brought up in Harringay, North London. When she was three years old, Sirtis says, the teenage sons of her babysitter sexually molested her. Sirtis suffered from an eating disorder which emerged due to the trauma of the assault. After suffering from the disorder for 20 years, she went into therapy in the 1990s and was able to manage the trauma and learn to eat healthily again.

    While still in secondary school, Sirtis secretly auditioned for drama school against her parents' wishes, ultimately being accepted to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

    In 1976, at the age of 21, Sirtis graduated from Guildhall and began her career by joining the Connaught Theatre.

    In 1986, at the age of 31, Sirtis emigrated to the United States, settling in Los Angeles to boost her career. She later became a naturalized US citizen.

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

    Other early works include numerous guest-starring roles on British television series. Sirtis appeared in Raffles (1977), Who Pays the Ferryman (1977), Hazell (1978), Minder (1979), the Jim Davidson sitcom Up the Elephant and Round the Castle (1985), and The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1986). She also played the flight attendant in a 1979 Cinzano Bianco television commercial starring Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins, in which Collins was splattered with drink.

    In 1986, Sirtis relocated to the United States. When casting 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 roles on The Next Generation. Sirtis' character was going to be named Lt. Macha Hernandez, the Security Chief. Gene Roddenberry decided to switch them, and Macha Hernandez became Tasha Yar. Sirtis recalls that on the day she received the call offering her the role, she was packing to return to Britain, because her six-month visa had expired.

    Deanna Troi is a half-human, half-Betazoid. Her Betazoid abilities allow her to read the emotions of others. Her position on the Enterprise-D is ship's counsellor, looking after the crew's well-being and serving as trusted advisor to Captain Picard, with a position next to him on the bridge. Initially, the writers found it difficult to write for Troi and even left her out of four first-season episodes. Sirtis felt her job was in jeopardy after the first season but was overjoyed when Roddenberry took her aside at Jonathan Frakes' wedding and told her that the season-two premiere episode would centre 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 a tougher Starfleet officer. She has stated her favourite episode is season six's "Face of the Enemy", in which she 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 could do things that I hadn't been allowed to do for five or six years. I went on away teams, I oversaw 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, Michael Dorn and Brent Spiner. The latter cast members were groomsmen at her wedding.

    She wore black-coloured contact lenses during the seven-year run of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the subsequent films because her character had black eyes. Her own eyes are light brown.

    She usually wore hairpieces for her role as Troi. 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 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 Cockney. Over time, the accent was adjusted and became more Americanised.

    Sirtis has reprised her character in the feature films, Star Trek Generations (1994), Star Trek First Contact (1996), Star Trek Insurrection (1998), and Star Trek Nemesis (2002). She also appeared in Star Trek: Voyager for three episodes toward the end of the series (1999 and 2000) and in the series finale of Star Trek: Enterprise (2005).

    Sirtis was delighted to get the chance to do some comedy in Star Trek: First Contact and said, "I loved it because it opened the door to a different side of Troi we'd never seen before. That door has stayed open and that whole kind of wacky, zany Troi thing has continued into the next movie, which is great for me because I like to do things that are different." Sirtis stated of her role in Star Trek: Nemesis, "I sort of had an inkling that I was going to have a good part in this film because John Logan was such a big fan of the character. So I knew that he would do her some justice."

    Star Trek: Picard will see the return of Marina as Deanna Troi in the current new series.

    While filming Star Trek: The Next Generation, Sirtis returned to the UK during the hiatus between seasons three and four in 1990 to film a drama special entitled One Last Chance for the BBC. In 1992, she appeared in an episode of the short-lived series The Fifth Corner and had a cameo in the horror/fantasy movie Waxwork II: Lost in Time. After the end of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1994, Sirtis continued to work regularly. Her first role was a departure from previous work, an abused wife in the series Heaven Help Us.

    She provided the voice of Demona in the animated Disney television series Gargoyles for two seasons starting in 1994. Her Next Generation co-stars, Frakes (as the voice of David Xanatos), Spiner and Dorn, also lent their voices to the show. She voiced the character again for an episode of the unmade animated series Team Atlantis.

    In 1996, Sirtis starred as a villainous police detective in the British made-for-television movie, Gadgetman. She played a villainess once again when she guest-starred as a race-track owner under investigation following the death of a driver in Diagnosis: Murder in 1998. The independent movie Paradise Lost, with Sirtis in a starring role, was released in 1999.

    Beginning in 1999, Sirtis returned to science-fiction television in several roles starting with The Outer Limits. The same year, she appeared in Earth: Final Conflict, originally created by Gene Roddenberry. In 2000, she played a Russian scientist in Stargate SG-1. Sirtis was interviewed in the October 2000 issue of SFX magazine in the UK; the cover stated, "Marina Sirtis is Everywhere", also referring to her reprisal of her character Deanna Troi on Star Trek: Voyager.

    In 2001, Sirtis made a highly publicised appearance on the long-running British hospital drama Casualty. She played a politician with controversial views on the National Health Service. When she meets with a man with whom she is having an affair at a hotel, she is caught in an explosion. She appeared in the made-for-television movies Terminal Error in 2002 and Net Games in 2003. Also, in 2003, she guest-starred in the ABC series Threat Matrix playing a biological-weapons scientist from Iraq.

    Sirtis starred in the movie Spectres in 2004, and at ShockerFest International Film Festival, she won the best actress award.

    Sirtis had a minor role in the Academy Award-winning ensemble film Crash as the wife of the Persian shopkeeper. Following this, she played another Middle Eastern role on the series The Closer in 2005. In 2006, she had a three-episode recurring role as a love matchmaker on Girlfriends, and she guest-starred in Without a Trace. In 2007, Sirtis starred in the SyFy channel production of Grendel, where she played Queen Onela. Independent movies Trade RoutesThe Deep Below, and Lesser of Three Evils were released. She provided the voice for Matriarch Benezia in the critically acclaimed video game Mass Effect on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

    In 2008, she made a guest appearance in an episode of the Casualty spin-off show Holby City. The same year, the sci-fi/drama movie Inalienable, written by Star Trek alumnus Walter Koenig, was released. Sirtis said of her role, "I actually play the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, so I'm a bad guy, a mean lawyer, which was fantastic."

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

    Sirtis voiced the Enterprise's computer in the first episode in the web series Star Trek Continues.

    Sirtis married Michael Lamper, an actor and rock guitarist, in 1992. Lamper died in his sleep on December 7, 2019.

    Film Career:

    • 1983  The Wicked Lady
    • 1984  Blind Date
    • 1985  Death Wish 3
    • 1992  Waxwork II: Lost in Time
    • 1994  Star Trek Generations
    • 1996  Star Trek: First Contact
    • 1998  Star Trek: Insurrection
    • 2002  Star Trek: Nemesis
    • 2002  Terminal Error
    • 2004  Spectres
    • 2004  Crash
    • 2007  Fist of the Warrior
    • 2007  The Deep Below
    • 2007  Game of Life
    • 2008  InAlienable
    • 2009  Green Street 2: Stand Your Ground
    • 2009  The Grudge 3
    • 2009  31 North 62 East
    • 2014  Finders Keepers
    • 2014  Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films
    • 2015  A Dark Reflection
    • 2016  Little Dead Rotting Hood
    • 2017  The Assassin's Apprentice
    • 2018  5th Passenger

    Television Career:

    • 1977  Raffles
    • 1977  Who Pays the Ferryman?
    • 1978  Hazell
    • 1978  The Thief of Baghdad
    • 1979  Cinzano commercial
    • 1979  Minder
    • 1982  Kelly Monteith
    • 1985  Up the Elephant and Round the Castle
    • 1986  Room at the Bottom
    • 1986  Call Me Mister
    • 1986  The Return of Sherlock Holmes
    • 1987  Hunter
    • 1987–1994  Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • 1988  Reading Rainbow
    • 1990  One Last Chance
    • 1994  Heaven Help Us
    • 1994–1996, 1997  Gargoyles
    • 1996  Gadgetman
    • 1997  Duckman
    • 1998  Diagnosis: Murder
    • 1999  Earth: Final Conflict
    • 1999  The Outer Limits
    • 1999–2000  Star Trek: Voyager
    • 2000  Stargate SG-1
    • 2001  Casualty
    • 2003  Threat Matrix
    • 2005, 2009  Family Guy
    • 2005  The Closer
    • 2005  Star Trek: Enterprise
    • 2006  Without a Trace
    • 2006  Girlfriends
    • 2007  Grendel
    • 2008  Holby City
    • 2009  Annihilation Earth
    • 2009  The Cleveland Show
    • 2009  Green Street 2
    • 2009  Three Rivers
    • 2010  Make It or Break It
    • 2010–2013, 2019  Young Justice
    • 2011  Grey's Anatomy
    • 2013  Star Trek Continues
    • 2013  Adventure Time
    • 2013–2016  NCIS
    • 2017  Scandal
    • 2017  OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes
    • 2018  The Last Sharknado: It's About Time
    • 2018  Titans
    • 2019  The Orville
    • 2020  Star Trek: Picard

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