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Armin Shimerman

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Armin Shimerman
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Armin Shimerman

Date of birth: 5 November 1949
Place of birth: Lakewood, New Jersey, USA
Character(s): Quark (Primary character; see Other Appearances
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Armin Shimerman (born 5 November 1949; age 64) is the actor who was best known in the Star Trek universe for his portrayal of the Ferengi bartender Quark on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He is one of only six actors to appear in three different Star Trek series (The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager) as the same character. Prior to assuming the role of Quark, however, Shimerman earned the distinction of being among the first to ever portray a Ferengi in the Star Trek franchise when the race first appeared in the Next Generation episode "The Last Outpost". Shimerman went on to make two more appearances on TNG (including a second time as a Ferengi in the episode "Peak Performance") and to star on Deep Space Nine for its entire seven-year run (19931999). He also co-wrote the Trek novel The 34th Rule.

Born to immigrant parents in Lakewood, New Jersey, Shimerman and his family moved to Los Angeles at the age of sixteen. There, his mother enrolled him into a drama group to help her son meet new people. After graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Shimerman was one of eight people out of 900 applicants chosen to become an apprentice at the prestigious Old Globe Theater in San Diego, California. Shimerman participated in numerous regional theater productions before moving to New York and landing roles on the Broadway stage.

Shimerman's Broadway debut came when he played part of an ensemble and served as an understudy in the musical Threepenny Opera, which ran for 306 performances from 1 May, 1976 through 23 January, 1977. "Peak Performance" co-star Roy Brocksmith was also a part of that play's cast. Shimerman next performed in the play Saint Joan from December 1977 through February 1978 and played the role of Mr. Thorkelson in the musical I Remember Mama in 1979.

Shimerman ultimately moved back to Los Angeles, where he acquired guest spots on such television shows as Cagney & Lacey, Remington Steele, and The Facts of Life. From 1987 through 1989, he was a recurring player on the TV series Beauty and the Beast, which starred Star Trek Nemesis actor Ron Perlman. He went on to make appearances on L.A. Law (starring Corbin Bernsen and Larry Drake), Who's the Boss?, Alien Nation (starring Gary Graham, Eric Pierpoint, and Michele Scarabelli), and Married... with Children. Shimerman also became a regular on Brooklyn Bridge during that show's first season (1991-92), playing Uncle Bernie.

Beyond Star Trek, however, he is perhaps best known for his recurring role as Principal Snyder on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. An interesting piece of trivia is that his character in that series was killed by a transformed Mayor Wilkins, played by infrequent Trek guest star Harry Groener.

Shimerman's other TV credits include guest appearances on Stargate SG-1, Ally McBeal, The Practice, Sliders, Charmed, The West Wing, ER, Nip/Tuck, and Warehouse 13. He was seen in an episode of Seinfeld, starring Star Trek: Voyager guest actor Jason Alexander. In 2006, he co-starred with Star Trek: Enterprise actor John Billingsley in the TV movie Dead & Deader.

More recently, Shimerman has been lending his voice to the characters of General Skarr and Hector's Stomach on the Cartoon Network series The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy and Evil Con Carne. In 2005, he appeared on the TV series Invasion, alongside other Star Trek actors such as his DS9 co-star Cirroc Lofton. Currently, he has a recurring role as Judge Brian Hooper on Boston Legal, starring William Shatner and DS9 co-star and friend Rene Auberjonois. DS9 guest star Henry Gibson also played a judge in Shimerman's first episode, "Can't We All Get a Lung?", which aired 19 September 2006. In Shimerman's third episode, Voyager star Ethan Phillips appeared as the father of the boy accused of killing Shimerman's wife. Ron Canada also guest-starred in the episode, also as a judge. In his fourth episode, Shimerman finally shared a scene with Rene Auberjonois.

In 2007, Shimerman also voiced various characters BioWare's Mass Effect, a game also featuring the voice of Marina Sirtis. Shimerman also voiced the character of Andrew Ryan in the 2007 computer game Bioshock. The developers of the game refused to disclose who voiced this character before the game's release, only hinting that "we wouldn't believe it". Only after the game's release was it confirmed that Ryan was voiced by Shimerman. (Source: IGN.com) In gaming circles, this surprised many, for Ryan had a very low voice, very different than what Shimerman had shown in other mediums. (TTLG.com) Shimerman's frequent DS9 co-star, J.G. Hertzler, also voiced a character in the game, and both Shimerman and Hertzler reprised their roles for the 2010 sequel, BioShock 2.

Shimerman has also acquired a number of feature film credits throughout his career, including The Hitcher (1986) with Henry Darrow, Death Warrant (1990) sharing screen time with Patrick Kilpatrick and TNG guest musician performer Abdul Salaam El Razzac, and Eye for an Eye (1996) with many fellow Trek actors in this legal thriller. Joining Shimmerman were Nicholas Cascone, Robert Clendenin, Natalia Nogulich, Angela Paton, Sierra Pecheur, Wayne Péré and Michael Buchman Silver. He recently completed filming on a comedy entitled The Urn, co-starring TNG guest actor Stanley Kamel. However, both Shimerman and Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Brent Spiner made their feature film debuts in small roles in Woody Allen's Stardust Memories, released in 1980. More recently, he had a cameo in the docudrama What the Bleep Do We Know?

Shimerman is married to actress Kitty Swink, who guest starred twice on DS9, first as Rozahn in season two's "Sanctuary" and then as Luaran in season seven's "Tacking Into the Wind". Shimerman and Swink also co-starred together in a few projects, including 1987's Like Father Like Son (starring Catherine Hicks and also featuring Randy Lowell, Michael Horton, and Dakin Matthews) and the 2001 made-for-TV movie Just Ask My Children (co-starring Virginia Madsen, Robert Joy, Barbara Tarbuck, Casey Biggs, Jack Shearer, and John Billingsley).

In 2010 Shimerman appeared in a Warehouse 13 episode entitled "Where and When".

Appearances as Quark

Further Star Trek appearances

Books

  • The Merchant Prince
  • The Merchant Prince Volume 2: Outrageous Fortune
  • Capital Offense: Merchant Prince III
  • The 34th Rule

Trivia

Shimerman was on the set of DS9 during a large earthquake in Los Angeles. He rushed home to check on his family, so he did not have time to get his makeup removed. His Ferengi makeup "scared the living shit out of people" as he says at conventions.

Star Trek interviews

  • TNG Season 1 DVD special feature "Memorable Missions" (as Quark from the set of Deep Space Nine)


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