Most Successful Star Trek Alumnus/ae?

I was watching a couple of Voyager episodes and realized that there weren’t a lot of recognizable household names on the show. Now, I realize most ST guys don’t go on to stellar careers but the guys like Nemoy, Shatnery, Stewart, or even DeForest Kelley. who has had the best career?

Stewart, even on the X-Men movies alone. Shatner did okay with TJ Hooker and Rescue 911. I don’t offhand know of any of the others who had major roles in film or television series afterward, in the sense of being identified with that character, as opposed to “Hey, it’s that person from Star Trek…”

I’d hazard a guess that Scott Bakula was the most well-known actor before his Trek days.

Wil Wheaton is doing pretty well as a tribal leader for geekdom, and playing the role of annoying prats in various TV shows.

Jonathan Frakes seems to have a pretty stable career as a TV director.

Michelle Forbes seems to have a pretty good career and was apparently nominated for an Emmy, in 2011.

Ronald Moore, of course, lead the development of the new Battlestar Galactica.

Or LeVar Burton, for certain generations. Avery Brooks or Kate Mulgrew for others, perhaps.

Wil Wheaton was well known before the show from his role in Stand By Me.

Can we count Whoopi Goldberg?

Don’t forget his comeback role on Third Rock.

“I’m Denny Crane, Dammit!”

as much as i think he sucks, that was his best, massive funny. this has lead to his doing legal services commercials.

also the short lived om $#*! My Dad Says, the longer lived Priceline

Plus, he was nominated for six Emmys playing Denny Crane, winning twice.

True, I was overlooking Reading Rainbow. I think I knew vaguely who Brooks was pre DS9 from A Man Called Hawk, a short lived spinoff of some detective show starring Robert Urich, and Mulgrew has had supporting roles in that Irish crime family show and Orange is the New Black.

I’d still call it Stewart for film success, Shatner for TV.
ETA: it occurs to me that I’ve confused pre- and post-Trek success but I’m on my phone and the full rewrite the above needs is not practical in five minutes.


  1. Shatner. After the show he parlayed that into 7 movies. He also had 3 successful TV series as the star. So that’s 4 successful series. Having more than one is a rarity. Along with that he has had a few other shows with less success. Also the Tekwar books and series. And over 200 IMDB credits. Not to mention reportedly getting very rich from Priceline.

  2. Stewart. A couple of Star Trek movies but couldn’t sustain it long term. An iconic role as Charles Xavier. Lots of success on stage. And apparently he writes.

  3. Ashley Judd. Ok she only had a few episodes on TNG but she did become a movie star.

  4. Whoopi Goldberg. Oscar. Some big movies. Anchoring The View. Pretty damn successful. But she was well known before the show and it was mostly for the types of things she did before that has made her successful. Not her role as a boring bartender.

Avery Brooks may have had potential to be bigger but he concentrates on the stage and teaching. He is a professor at Rutgers University. And he is really odd. Watch the show that Shatner did when he interviewed all the captains.

Of course Levar Burton’s breakout role was Roots. Avery Brooks started the role of Hawk in Spenser for Hire which is where most people knew him from. Kate Mulgrew was Mrs Colombo and many guest roles on TV.

I see the DS9 folks around lot. None of them are super successful, but they seem to keep getting decent secondary role parts. Colm Meany especially must have a really good agent. He seems to have a bit part in everything.

As far for the best Post ST career though, it’s definitely between Stewart and Shatner.

Weirdest career path definitely goes to Takei. He managed to leverage his St fame 40 years after the fact into some sort of gay Twitter star.

Burton was iconic for his role in Roots. It took me a long time to get used to him in a different role.

He was known, but hwould hwe really say Hwil Hwheaton hwas hwell known? :stuck_out_tongue:

that whole show was excellent casting and scripts.

Oh, my.

Before my time, but my understanding is that Jeffery Hunter was a pretty big movie star for a while, though his career had peaked and then faltered before he played Capt. Pike.

Armin Shimerman has done pretty well for himself as both a character actor and as a voice actor. Besides showing up in three of the Star Trek series, he was in Buffy and did voice work for both the Bioshock and Mass Effect game series.

I think that holds true for most TV series. Getting a regular gig on a TV program is more often than not the highlight of a career, not the beginning.