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France Nuyen

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France Nuyen
Elaan.jpg

...as Elaan (1968)

Birth name: France Nguyen Van-Nga
Gender: Female
Date of birth: 31 July 1939
Place of birth: Marseille, France
Character(s): Elaan

France Nuyen (born 31 July 1939; age 75) is the French actress who played the title role in "Elaan of Troyius", a third season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. She is also remembered for her role as Dr. Paulette Kiem on the NBC series St. Elsewhere.

She was born as France Nguyen Van-Nga in Marseille, France to a French mother and Vietnamese father. After her mother and grandfather were persecuted by the occupying Germans during World War II for being gypsies, Nuyen was raised in Marseille by a cousin. [1] In interviews, she says that she thinks of herself as culturally French and feels she has little in common with most Asians.

Nuyen was working as a seamstress in 1955 when she was discovered by a photographer for LIFE magazine. She came to America in 1956 and became a member the Lee Strasberg Acting Studio in New York. [2] A professional acting career on film, television and stage soon followed.

Nuyen made her film debut portraying Liat in the hit 1958 film version of the stage musical South Pacific. Among her co-stars in this film was Ray Walston, who would play Boothby in various episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager many years later. Nuyen won the Daniel Bloom Award for her role in South Pacific. Nuyen followed this with a role in the 1958 film adaptation of In Love and War, co-starring the actor who played the first Star Trek captain, Jeffrey Hunter. Her roles in these two films earned her a Golden Globe nomination as Most Promising Female Newcomer.

Later that same year, Nuyen began starring on Broadway opposite William Shatner in The World of Suzie Wong, with Nuyen playing the title role. She won the 1959 Theatre World Award for her performance in the play, which ran for a total of 508 performances. [3] She was to reprise her role in the 1960 film adaptation of the play and even shot half the film, but she was suddenly replaced with Nancy Kwan. [4] She went on to work with William Shatner again on Star Trek and at least two more times afterward: on a 1972 episode of Kung Fu (with Rosemary Forsyth and Keye Luke) and in the 1973 CBS TV movie, The Horror at 37,000 Feet (with Darleen Carr and Paul Winfield).

After ending her run on Suzie Wong, Nuyen starred in such films as Diamond Head (1966, co-starring James Darren) and Dimension 5 (1966, again working with Jeffrey Hunter, as well as Robert Ito and Jon Lormer). In 1963, Nuyen married Dr. Thomas Morell, a psychiatrist. The two had a daughter, Fleur, but ultimately divorced in 1966. Nuyen's television credits during this time included a guest appearance on a Joseph Sargent-directed episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., two episodes of Gunsmoke (including one with Michael Ansara), and a few episodes of I Spy. It was on this series that Nuyen met actor Robert Culp, whom she married in 1967 and divorced in 1970.

Nuyen has since appeared on television shows such as Hawaii Five-O, The Six Million Dollar Man (for which she reunited with her Trek co-star George Takei), Charlie's Angels, Fantasy Island (starring Ricardo Montalban), Trapper John, M.D. (starring Madge Sinclair), Magnum, P.I. (with Nehemiah Persoff), Murder, She Wrote (with David Warner and directed by Vincent McEveety), and the 1990s version of The Outer Limits (again working with David Warner). From 1986 through 1988, Nuyen starred as Dr. Paulette Kim on the series St. Elsewhere, working alongside the likes of Ed Begley, Jr., Ronny Cox, Bruce Greenwood, Norman Lloyd, Jennifer Savidge, and Alfre Woodard. In 1990, she had a recurring role on the long-running prime-time soap, Knots Landing.

Her later film credits include Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973, with Paul Williams, cinematography by Richard H. Kline and music by Leonard Rosenman), The Joy Luck Club (1993, with Rosalind Chao), and The Battle of Shaker Heights (2003, with William Sadler and Ray Wise). She also starred with Star Trek: Enterprise's Scott Bakula in the 1994 film A Passion to Kill and with Star Trek: Voyager's Garrett Wang in 1995's Angry Cafe. She was most recently seen in the 2007 drama The American Standards, opposite Joanna Cassidy and Ed Lauter.

In addition to acting, Nuyen is also a certified psychologist. She received a master's degree in Clinical Psychology in 1986 and became a psychological counselor for abused women and children, women in prison, and drug abusers. She was named "Woman of the Year" in 1989 for her psychological work, in addition to numerous commendations and awards. [5] [6]

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