(written from a Production point of view)
Bebe Neuwirth (born 31 December 1958; age 55) is the actress who played the role of Nurse Lanel in the Star Trek: The Next Generation fourth season episode "First Contact" in 1991. Neuwirth's scene was written in late with her in mind for the role. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion) She filmed her scenes on Friday 7 December 1990 and Tuesday 11 December 1990 on Paramount Stage 16. On 7 December she had a makeup call at 6:00 a.m. and the call sheet for this day features the note that she was unavailable between 10:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. because of a Cheers rehearsal. Neuwirth herself is a big Star Trek fan. (Michael Piller, "Inside the Star Trek Archives - "First Contact", TNG Season 4 DVD special feature)
Neuwirth was interviewed by Ian Spelling for the article "Bebe Neuwirth's First Contact", published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 20, p. 6. On how she was cast, Neuwirth explains, "I guess they got wind of the fact that I'm a Trekkie and that I would love to do their show. Something came up that they felt I could do it. They sent it over and I jumped at it. It was basically one scene, and I had a ball doing it."
Born Beatrice Neuwirth, she is perhaps best known for her role as Frasier Crane's wife and later ex-wife Lilith Sternin on the hit television series Cheers and its spin-off Frasier, a role for which she won two Emmy awards. She recently played lead on the television series Law & Order: Trial by Jury. Neuwirth is also an accomplished performer in musical theater, having won Tony and Drama Desk Awards for her role of Velma Kelly in the Broadway revival of Chicago (with Joel Grey).
Three of her Cheers co-stars have also had Trek roles. Kelsey Grammer who played her husband, Dr. Frasier Crane, also starred on Star Trek: The Next Generation in "Cause and Effect", Kirstie Alley appeared in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and Paul Willson was in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "The Void". She also appeared alongside Brent Spiner in an episode of Frasier.