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Joanne Linville

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Romulan Commander, 2268

...as the Romulan Commander in 1968

Joanne Linville (born 15 January 1928; age 86) is an actress from Bakersfield, California who guest-starred on Star Trek: The Original Series in 1968, playing the Romulan commander in the episode "The Enterprise Incident". As such, she was the first actress to play a female Romulan in the Star Trek franchise, and it may be this role for which she is most well-known. According to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, Linville was asked to reprise her role as the Romulan commander for the Next Generation episode "Face of the Enemy", but the actress was unavailable.

Linville began acting on television in the 1950s, appearing on several popular anthology series such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Kraft Television Theatre, and One Step Beyond. Perhaps her earliest was a 1954 episode of Studio One co-starring fellow TOS guest performer David Opatoshu. She went on to make three more appearances on Studio One (including one with Fritz Weaver), and even had a recurring role on the show. Another early appearance for Linville was a 1956 episode of The Kaiser Aluminum Hour entitled "Gwyneth", in which Linville played the title character. This episode also marked the first of several times Linville would work with her future Star Trek co-star William Shatner. She and Shatner next appeared together in a 1958 episode of The United States Steel Hour and then in a 1961 episode of The Defenders – both times playing husband and wife – before working together on Star Trek. She also worked with Leonard Nimoy prior to Star Trek, co-starring together (with Paul Carr) in a 1962 episode of the drama Sam Benedict.

In 1959, Linville co-starred with the man who played the first Romulan commander seen on Star Trek, Mark Lenard, on a DuPont Show of the Month production of Don Quixote. In 1961, she starred as a Civil War widow unaware of the fact that she's dead in the episode of The Twilight Zone entitled "The Passerby", co-starring with fellow TOS guest stars James Gregory and Rex Holman. She also guest-starred with Celia Lovsky in an episode of Gunsmoke that same year.

She went on to appear on such shows as Ben Casey, I Spy, The Fugitive (in an episode playing the wife of James Daly with Arch Whiting), Bonanza (playing the daughter of Jeff Corey's character), two episodes of Hawaii Five-O (including the two-part episode "Once Upon a Time" with Vince Howard, William Schallert, and Bill Zuckert), Kojak (with Malachi Throne), The Streets of San Francisco, CHiPs (with Robert Pine), Charlie's Angels (with Bill Zuckert), and Mrs. Columbo (starring Kate Mulgrew in the title role). She also co-starred with both Fritz Weaver and Jason Wingreen in one episode of two different shows: The F.B.I. in 1969 (having previously appeared in an episode with William Smithers) and Barnaby Jones in 1970 (on which she had previously appeared with Richard Derr). Lee Meriwether was a regular on the latter series. The FBI episode with Linville and Fritz Weaver also featured Barry Atwater.

Linville's career also included small roles in a few feature film, most notably as Burt Lancaster's wife in the 1973 action thriller Scorpio, which also featured fellow Trek veterans John Colicos, James B. Sikking, William Smithers, and Celeste Yarnall. Other films in which she appeared include 1976's A Star Is Born and Gable and Lombard and 1982's The Seduction (starring Michael Sarrazin and Kevin Brophy). Her earliest film, however, was the Academy Award-nominated 1958 drama The Goddess.

Additionally, Linville had roles in a number of made-for-TV movies, including 1970's House on Greenapple Road, in which she played the wife of the character played by William Windom. Tim O'Connor, Paul Fix, Ned Romero, Peter Mark Richman (billed as Mark Richman), and Ena Hartman were also in this film. She also appeared in Lou Antonio's TV movie The Critical List in 1978. During the 1980s, Linville made two appearances on the soap opera Dynasty (starring Joan Collins and Lee Bergere), an episode of L.A. Law (starring Corbin Bernsen and Larry Drake), and the 1989 TV movie From the Dead of Night (with Merritt Butrick) before retiring from acting.

Linville was married from 1962 until 1973 to director Mark Rydell, and it was only for a supporting role in his 2001 TV biopic on James Dean that she briefly came out of retirement. She and Rydell had two children together – actors Amy and Chris Rydell, the latter of whom has appeared on Star Trek: Enterprise.

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