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Jonathan Frakes
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Jonathan Frakes

Birth name: Jonathan Scott Frakes
Date of birth: 19 August 1952
Place of birth: Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
Roles: Actor, Director
Character(s): William T. Riker, Thomas Riker
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Actor Jonathan Scott Frakes (born 19 August 1952; age 62) portrayed Commander William T. Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation, episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise, and in four Star Trek films.

Frakes, whose father was a college professor who taught English and literature, was born in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, and raised in nearby Bethlehem. He began acting at a young age in junior high and high school plays.

Following high school, Frakes enrolled at Pennsylvania State University as a psychology major, and during his time at Penn State became involved with an off-campus professional theater group; this experience eventually led to Frakes changing his major to theater arts. Upon completion of his studies, a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Theater Arts, Frakes spent two summers studying drama at Harvard University, where he performed at the Loeb Drama Center.

Besides Star Trek: The Next Generation, he has appeared in numerous TV roles, including the prime-time soap opera Falcon Crest and the comedy series Dukes of Hazard. Frakes auditioned seven times over six weeks for the part of Riker. (TNG Season 1 DVD special feature "Selected Crew Analysis"-"Casting")

On 28 May 1988, he married the actress Genie Francis (Laura Spencer on General Hospital, on which a pre-Spock Leonard Nimoy starred in 1963 and on which Corbin Bernsen starred long after playing Q2) after working together in the television mini-series North and South. Francis is the daughter of the late character actor Ivor Francis, and the colony mentioned in Star Trek: First Contact, Ivor Prime, may have been named after Frakes's father-in-law. Frakes portrayed the brother of fellow Star Trek actors Kirstie Alley and James Read in North and South and North and South: Book II. The sequel also starred DS9 guest star Jim Metzler. Frakes previously met Francis filming the drama series Bare Essence in 1983.

His non-Star Trek feature-film directing credits include Clockstoppers, Thunderbirds and all three of The Librarian movies. He has also directed various television episodes, including shows such as Roswell, Dollhouse, Castle, The Good Guys, and NCIS: Los Angeles.

He has also co-written a book The Abductors: Conspiracy.

He recorded an audio commentary for the Star Trek: First Contact DVD, a film in which he both starred and directed. His efficient filming style on the set earned him the nickname of "Two-Takes Frakes".

Several of his costumes from his appearances in Star Trek were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, including the episodes "Yesterday's Enterprise", "The Host", "Violations", and "True Q". [1]

Frakes was later a member of The Sunspots, along with Patrick Stewart, Michael Dorn, and LeVar Burton. They appeared as the background vocals for "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" on Brent Spiner's 1991 album "Ol' Yellow Eyes is Back".

Frakes is also credited with playing trombone for "Riker's Mailbox" on the 1994 Phish album, "Hoist".

He personally feels that the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Code of Honor" is the worst segment of Star Trek that he worked on. [2]

Frakes pitched his own spin-off Star Trek show, but CBS rejected it due to the oversaturation of the franchise. [3]

Appearances as William T. Riker

Jonathan Frakes is the only Star Trek regular cast member besides Majel Barrett to appear in all four modern Star Trek series: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise.

Additional appearances

Star Trek directorial credits

Jonathan Frakes has directed several Star Trek episodes, and, more recently, two movies.

Other Star Trek Connections

Star Trek interviews

  • TNG Season 1 DVD special feature "The Beginning"
  • TNG Season 1 DVD special feature "Selected Crew Analysis" ("Casting", "Character Notes", "Camaraderie")
  • TNG Season 1 DVD special feature "The Making of a Legend" ("Artistic Design")
  • TNG Season 1 DVD special feature "Memorable Missions"
  • TNG Season 2 DVD special feature "Mission Overview: Year Two" ("Ten Forward"), interviewed on 20 September 1988
  • TNG Season 2 DVD special feature "Selected Crew Analysis Year Two", interviewed on 23 March 1994
  • TNG Season 3 DVD special feature "Mission Overview Year Three" ("The Offspring", "Guinan Returns", "Special Guests on the Bridge"), interviewed on 2 November 2001
  • TNG Season 3 DVD special feature "Selected Crew Analysis Year Three" ("Crew Profile: Riker and Troi"), interviewed on 2 November 2001
  • TNG Season 4 DVD special feature "Mission Overview Year Four", interviewed on 2 November 2001
  • TNG Season 4 DVD special feature "Mission Overview Year Four" ("Celebrating 100 Episodes"), interviewed by Entertainment Tonight in 1991
  • TNG Season 4 DVD special feature "Selected Crew Analysis" ("Profile: Vash"), interviewed on 2 November 2001
  • TNG Season 4 DVD special feature "Departmental Briefing Year Four" ("Production"), interviewed on 2 November 2001
  • TNG Season 4 DVD special feature "Inside the Star Trek Archives" ("First Contact"), interviewed on 2 November 2001
  • TNG Season 5 DVD special feature "Mission Overview Year Five" ("A Visit from Spock"), interviewed on 2 November 2001
  • TNG Season 5 DVD special feature "Departmental Briefing Year Five" ("Cause and Effect"), interviewed on 2 November 2001
  • TNG Season 5 DVD special feature "Intergalactic Guest Stars" (Main segment, "Profile: Captain Morgan Bateson"), interviewed on 2 November 2001
  • TNG Season 5 DVD special feature "A Tribute to Gene Roddenberry" ("Gene Roddenberry Building Dedicated to Star Trek's Creator", "Gene's Final Voyage"), interviewed on 6 June 1991, 31 March 1994, and an unknown date
  • TNG Season 6 DVD special feature "Bold New Directions Year Six" ("A First Chance at "Second Chances""), interviewed on 2 November 2001
  • TNG Season 6 DVD special feature "Departmental Briefing Year Six" ("Writing", "Acting with Spiner"), interviewed on 2 November 2001
  • TNG Season 7 DVD special feature "Mission Overview Year Seven" ("An Ending And A Beginning"), interviewed on 2 November 2001
  • TNG Season 7 DVD special feature "Departmental Briefing Year Seven: Production" ("New Director, New Challenges"), interviewed on 2 November 2001
  • TNG Season 7 DVD special feature "Starfleet Moments & Memories Year Seven" ("A Unique Legacy"), interviewed on 2 November 2001
  • "Jonathan Frakes - Commander William Riker", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 1, p. 14, interviewed by Marc Shapiro
  • "Jonathan Frakes - Commander William Riker", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 3, pp. 4-9, interviewed by Edward Gross
  • "Riker's Role", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 4, p. 26, interviewed by Dennis Fischer
  • "Jonathan Frakes - Commander William Riker", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 5, pp. 6-11
  • "A Career as a Captain", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 7, p. 6, interviewed by David McDonnell
  • "Jonathan Frakes - Commander William Riker", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 11, pp. 55-57, interviewed by Christina Mavroudis & Michael McAvennie

External links


Previous Director:
David Carson
Star Trek films director
Star Trek: First Contact
Star Trek: Insurrection
Next Director:
Stuart Baird

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