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Denise Crosby (born 24 November 1957; age 66) is the actress who played Natasha Yar in the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Although she left before the end of the season, she returned to the role in later episodes and also played Sela, Yar's Romulan daughter.

Brief archive footage of Crosby as Yar appeared in the Star Trek: Picard third season episode "Surrender".


Born in Hollywood, California, Crosby is the granddaughter of famous crooner and actor Bing Crosby, the daughter of actor and singer Dennis Crosby, the niece of Mary Crosby (who herself is two years younger), and the ex-daughter-in-law of director Blake Edwards.

Originally shying away from show business herself, Crosby spent the mid 1970s traveling California and lived on an agricultural commune farm with other members of the 70s New-Age Hippe movement. She then briefly traveled to Mexico, in order to gain what she described as additional life experiences, yet returned home to California after being nearly killed in a serious car accident when the driver of her van, another commune member she had befriended, fell asleep behind the wheel, causing it to overturn, seriously injuring Crosby, her boyfriend, and another passenger. (The Shuttlepod Show, "Who Do You Think Yar?")

After returning to California, Crosby then started a modeling and fashion career, spending some time in Europe, before modeling for Playboy magazine. Finding the modeling and fashion world unappealing, Crosby then pursued acting and began her career with a small role in her then-father-in-law's 10 (1979, with John Hancock, Michael Champion, Jeannetta Arnette, and William Lucking). She also appeared in two of Edwards' Pink Panther films, Trail of the Pink Panther in 1982 and Curse of the Pink Panther in 1983. Also in 1983, she appeared in Edwards' The Man Who Loved Women. She is a distant cousin of Star Trek: Enterprise guest star Seth MacFarlane and her half brother Gregory Crosby is married to Star Trek stuntwoman Spice Williams-Crosby.

Crosby married Edwards' son, Geoffrey (who wrote all of the above films with his father, with the exception of 10), in 1983. The two ultimately divorced in 1990. Her father, Dennis Crosby, passed away in 1991. Crosby married actor Ken Sylk in 1995. The two have a son, August William Sylk.

Early work[]

Crosby co-starred in 48 Hrs. (1982, with fellow Trek alumni Jonathan Banks and Margot Rose). Prior to assuming the role of Tasha Yar, Crosby co-starred with future Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine guest actor Andrew Prine in Eliminators (1986). She also appeared in such made-for-television movies as My Wicked, Wicked Ways (1985, starring Duncan Regehr and Alan Oppenheimer), Malice in Wonderland (1985, with Anne Haney, Mark L. Taylor, and Jason Wingreen), and 1986's The Family Martinez, starring future Star Trek: Voyager star Robert Beltran. In 1986, she appeared in Black Sabbath's music video, "No Stranger to Love".

Before The Next Generation, Crosby's first work in episodic television was a 1986 episode of L.A. Law entitled "Gibbon Take". Besides series regular Corbin Bernsen, the episode also featured Bibi Besch, Josh Clark, Anne Haney, and Tom Hodges. Crosby was next seen on a short-lived series called Ohara which featured Madge Sinclair as a regular and also guest-starred future Star Trek: Deep Space Nine actress Nana Visitor.

Star Trek[]

Nimoy and Crosby

Crosby with Leonard Nimoy on the set of "Unification II" in 1991

Crosby was initially cast to play Counselor Deanna Troi, while her co-star Marina Sirtis was to play security chief "Macha Hernandez", the role that eventually became Tasha Yar. Before the filming of "Encounter at Farpoint" began she read two times as Troi for casting director Junie Lowry. However, Gene Roddenberry decided to switch the roles and Crosby was assigned to play Tasha Yar. Roddenberry also noted that her character like Crosby herself was too much like Grace Kelly. (TNG Season 1 DVD special features "The Beginning" and "Selected Crew Analysis – Casting")

She left the series before the first season ended because she felt her character was not being given enough to do. The last episode she filmed was "Symbiosis", although her character died in the previous episode filmed, "Skin Of Evil" as they were aired in the opposite order. In a production "Easter egg", Crosby can be seen waving goodbye to the camera in her final scene of "Symbiosis". After her departure, due to an editing goof, Crosby's arm and shoulder can be seen behind Picard and Troi in a bridge scene in the episode "We'll Always Have Paris".

Although she intended to leave Star Trek behind and focus on her feature film career, she ultimately reprised the role of Yar in the third season episode "Yesterday's Enterprise". She then went on to play Romulan Commander Sela in "Redemption", "Redemption II", and "Unification II" and lent her voice to the episode "The Mind's Eye". She returned as Yar for the series finale, "All Good Things...".

Denise Crosby waves goodbye

Denise Crosby waves goodbye to the camera in the TNG: " Symbiosis" episode

In addition, Crosby provided the voice of the promoted Admiral Sela in the computer game Star Trek: Armada. Crosby was also seen by using archive footage from previous episodes in the second season episodes "The Schizoid Man", "The Measure Of A Man", and "Shades of Gray" and in the third season episode "The Most Toys".

Despite leaving Trek in 1988, Crosby's future association with the franchise and the fanbase led her to produce and host the documentary Trekkies in 1997. She also returned to executive produce and host that film's 2004 sequel, Trekkies 2.

In 2013, Crosby provided the voice of Tasha Yar in Star Trek Online, her character making a special appearance in a mission added to celebrate the game's third anniversary, "Temporal Ambassador". [1] She has also reprised the role of Sela, now Empress of the Romulan Star Empire, in "Legacy of Romulus", the first expansion pack for STO, which was released in May 2013. [2]


All appearances of Crosby are as Tasha Yar except in three episodes ("Redemption", "Redemption II", and "Unification II") in which Crosby plays the character of Sela, a Romulan commander who is Tasha Yar's daughter from an alternate timeline.

Later work[]


After leaving Next Generation, Crosby focused on feature films. She starred in five movies between 1988 and 1989, including Miracle Mile (with Robert DoQui, Jenette Goldstein, Raphael Sbarge, William Schallert, and Brian Thompson) and Blake Edwards' Skin Deep. Perhaps her most famous film is Pet Sematary (1989), in which she was the lead actress and co-starred with frequent Trek guest actor Brad Greenquist and her Next Generation co-star Kavi Raz.

Crosby continued to work steadily in film during the 1990s. She had a supporting role in the 1991 comedy High Strung, featuring an early appearance by future Next Generation guest star Kirsten Dunst. The following year, Crosby starred in the horror movie Dolly Dearest and the year after that, she starred in the Italian drama Mafia Docks (aka Desperate Crimes).

Her other film credits during this decade include a supporting role in the 1995 sci-fi thriller Mutant Species, a cameo appearance in Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown (1997, featuring Tommy "Tiny" Lister, Jr. and Sid Haig), and a featured role in Deep Impact (1998, co-starring James Cromwell, Christopher Darga, Mark Moses, Kurtwood Smith, and Concetta Tomei). Also in 1998, Crosby appeared with her "Yesterday's Enterprise" co-star Christopher McDonald in the drama Divorce: A Contemporary Western. Crosby starred in the direct-to-video releases Dream Man (1995), which co-starred Deep Space Nine actor Armin Shimerman and Star Trek's Bruce Greenwood, and Executive Power (1997), co-starring Enterprise guest actress Joanna Cassidy.

Crosby continued to appear in low-budget films such as the 2002 horror Western Legend of the Phantom Rider (with George Murdock) and the 2005 horror thriller Mortuary (with Courtney Peldon and Michael Shamus Wiles). She was also featured in the drama Ripple Effect along with her husband, Ken, as well as Enterprise star John Billingsley and Voyager guest actress Virginia Madsen. She also starred in a horror movie called Born, about a 21-year-old girl impregnated with and possessed by a demonic fetus (along with Kane Hodder and Azalea Davila) and, in late August 2012, in the short film Birth Mother, directed by Roger Hensley and co-starring Valarie Pettiford, Rahvaunia, and Philip Jordan.

More recently, Crosby appeared in the television science fiction/action film Invasion Roswell, aired in August 2013 on Syfy. Besides Crosby, fellow Trek alumni John H. Francis and Daniel Hugh Kelly worked on this film. She also appeared in Unbelievable!!!!! (2014, with fellow Trek alumni Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Nichelle Nichols, Tim Russ, Nana Visitor, Olivia d'Abo, Dina Meyer, Christopher Michael, Jeffrey Combs, John Billingsley, Chase Masterson, Julie Warner, Robert Picardo, Linda Park, Walter Koenig, Armin Shimerman, Barbara Luna, Connor Trinneer, Manu Intiraymi, Garrett Wang, Gary Lockwood, Crystal Allen, Anthony Montgomery, Michael Forest, Gary Graham, Celeste Yarnall, Beverly Washburn, Jack Donner, Jasmine Jessica Anthony, Vaughn Armstrong, Menina Fortunato, and Sean Kenney. Barbara Luna, Nichelle Nichols and Celeste Yarnall will also co-produce.

Shortly before her birthday on 24 November 2014, Crosby wrapped filming the indie thriller Don't Wake Mommy, previously known as Maternal Bonds, for director Chris Sivertson. Besides the lead actors Sara Rue, Ashley Bell, and Dean Geyer, the film also features stuntwoman Spice Williams-Crosby as stunt double for Crosby and stuntwoman Daphne Avalon, the daughter of actor Brian Thompson who visited the set during filming. [3]

Crosby also filmed the thriller The Watcher, working with John Billingsley and Ruth Williamson, which was released on 1 October 2016. [4]

She was interviewed for the documentary Celluloid Wizards in the Video Wasteland: The Saga of Empire Pictures (2016). The documentary also features Jeffrey Combs, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Gary Graham, Gerrit Graham, Jeffrey Byron, and J. Larry Carroll.

More recently, she wrapped production on the short film The Doctor's Case (2017) and on the horror thriller Itsy Bitsy (2018, with Bruce Davison) in which she appears as Sheriff Jane.


Denise Crosby and Guy Vardaman

Denise Crosby and Guy Vardaman on the TNG set in 1991

Crosby has expanded her television credits exponentially since leaving TNG. She appeared in a 1991 episode of WIOU, a series which starred fellow Trek performers Robin Gammell, Mariette Hartley, Wallace Langham, Phil Morris, Eric Pierpoint, and Harris Yulin. Also in 1991, she guest-starred in an episode of The Flash along with Dick Miller and future VOY star Jeri Ryan. This was followed with an appearance on Johnny Bago with John Fleck, Civil Wars with Camille Saviola, and The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. with Jeremy Roberts and Tracey Walter. In 1993, she starred with Jennifer Barlow, T.C. Carson, Leland Crooke , Geno Silva, and Brian Thompson on the short-lived drama Key West. She also starred in at least two segments of the sexually-charged Showtime series Red Shoe Diaries (one opposite Robert Knepper) and had a recurring role as Dr. Gretchen Kelly on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Among those she worked with on the latter are Teri Hatcher, K Callan, Tony Jay, Tracy Scoggins, and Leslie Jordan.

Her TV credits during the latter part of the 1990s include episodes of Sisters (with Erich Anderson, Stephen Collins, and Frank Kopyc), Diagnosis Murder (with Jeff Allin, Diedrich Bader, and Brad Blaisdell), and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (starring Chad Allen and Barbara Babcock), as well the 1998 TV movies Pumpkin Man and Chance of a Lifetime (with the latter also featuring Michelle Horn).

After the turn of the century, Crosby again worked alongside her TNG co-star Christopher McDonald in an episode of Family Law, which also starred Salli Elise Richardson and Julie Warner and guest-starred Nicholas Cascone. In 2001, Crosby was seen in episodes of NYPD Blue (along with Jeff Allin, Gordon Clapp, and Juliana Donald) and The X-Files (with Ron Canada) and guest-starred along with René Auberjonois in an episode of Judging Amy. She more recently appeared on such shows as JAG (with Gary Graham and Scott Lawrence), The Agency (with Ed Begley, Jr., Daniel Benzali, and David Clennon), and Crossing Jordan (with Miguel Ferrer, Zach Grenier, Eric Pierpoint, and Patti Yasutake). She made an appearance as the widow Margie Curtis in "The Secret in the Soil", an episode of the FOX series Bones, which also featured Christopher Darga, and she portrayed the title character's very first victim in the Dexter episode Popping Cherry, in which she appeared alongside Trek performers Brad William Henke and Tom Schanley. Monica Staggs served as her stunt double in this episode.

Winrich Kolbe and Denise Crosby

Crosby with director Winrich Kolbe on the set of "All Good Things..."

In 2008 Crosby portrayed the recurring role of Gertie, the horse trainer, in two episodes of the AMC series Mad Men. The episodes "For Those Who Think Young" and "The Benefactor" featured Star Trek performers Mark Moses, David Bowe, John Thaddeus, Deborah Lacey, Frank Novak, and Patrick Fischler. She also portrayed a company doctor who oversaw the operation of Wentworth Miller's character in the Prison Break episode "Going Under". Leon Russom shared a scene with her; Robert Knepper and Titus Welliver also had roles in this episode. In addition, she lent her voice to an episode of Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy which also featured the voices of the entire TNG main cast, including Wil Wheaton. The episode, "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven", aired on March 29th. As a reference to her short stint on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Crosby was allowed one line before being murdered by Stewie. [5]

In 2009 Crosby finished shooting on the double episode "Blood and Fire" of the fan-based internet series Star Trek: New Voyages in which she played the character Dr. Jenna Yar, grandmother to her TNG character. This episode featured fellow Trek performers John Carrigan, Bill Blair, and James Cawley, and was written and directed by David Gerrold.

Besides her work on the stage plays "Epitaph for George Dillon" (June 2-15 at the 45th Street Theater in New York), "Beggars in the House of Plenty", and "Orpheus Descending" in 2010, Crosby portrayed Susan Salinger, wife of Detective Daniel Salinger (played by Michael McGrady) in the season finale of the NBC crime series Southland titled "Derailed". Star Trek actors who appeared in this episode are Emily Bergl, Patrick Fischler, Sufe M. Bradshaw, and stunt coordinator Greg Barnett. On her official site, Crosby announced that she would be returning to the series in two more episodes of its second season, "Butch and Sundance" and "Maximum Deployment", in 2010. Both episodes featured regulars McGrady, Fischler, and Bergl, while the first episode also featured Kevin Derr and Ian Patrick Williams.

Crosby joined the cast for the audio drama series "Hothouse Bruiser" where she voiced Ginny Mills. Among the cast members are fellow Star Trek performers Michael Welch, Sonita Henry, Armin Shimerman, John Billingsley, and David Ghilardi, as well as Claudia Christian and Traci Lords, Crosby's co-stars from other projects. [6] Crosby was also photographed by Adam Bouska for the NOH8 Campaign, together with fellow Trek actors Tim Russ, Chase Masterson, Dominic Keating, Jeri Ryan, and Robert Picardo. [7]

The same year she played the guest role of Diana Burt in the Law & Order: LA episode "Big Rock Mesa" (2011). This episode also features Trek actors Clyde Kusatsu and Scott Klace. Between October and December 2011 Crosby was directed by fellow Next Generation cast member Gates McFadden in the West Coast premiere of George Moss' stage play "House of Gold" at the Atwater Village Theater in Los Angeles. [8]

In the third week of March 2012 Crosby filmed scenes for Showtime's television pilot Ray Donovan, "The Bag or the Bat", starring Liev Schreiber. ENT guest actress Paula Malcomson co-starred in this episode and Josh Pais, Mark Casimir Dyniewicz, Paul Lacovara, and Jeremy Fry also have roles. Greg Barnett worked as stunt coordinator. [9] Following the pilot episode, Crosby returned as Deb in six more first season episodes. Again, she worked with Paula Malcomson and Josh Pais and also with Mary Mara, Michael McGrady, Todd Bryant, Shauna Duggins, and Tim Connolly. On 15 February 2014, Crosby announced on her facebook page that she had a table read for the second season of Ray Donovan. [10] She returned in the second episode of the second season, "Uber Ray", reprising her role as Deb, followed by the third episode "Gem and Loan" and the fourth episode "S U C K". She worked again with series regulars Paula Malcomson and Michael McGrady as well as with Josh Pais, fellow Next Generation alumn Brent Spiner, Chris Doyle, and Thom Williams. For the fifth episode, "Irish Spring", Crosby lent her voice. This episode also features Richard Fancy.

In February 2014, Crosby appeared in an episode of "Fireball Tim", a web interview series. [11] She then played Mary in the two 2014 AMC The Walking Dead fourth season episodes "Us" and "A" where she worked with Jeff Kober. [12] Crosby is also part of the 2014 documentary Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary, along with Brad Greenquist.

After Crosby revealed in May 2014 that she'll return as Mary in season 5 of The Walking Dead, it was announced in September 2014 that she'll reprise her role for the opening episode of the fifth season, titled "No Sanctuary". [13]

She reprised her role as Deb in the first episode of the third season of Ray Donovan, titled "The Kalamazoo". Besides series regular Paula Malcomson, this episode also features guest actor Leland Orser. She returned for the fourth season episode "Federal Boobie Inspector" in 2016 and for the fifth season episodes "Abby" and "Sold" in 2017.

Crosby had a guest role in the drama series Scandal. Her episode, "Even the Devil Deserves a Second Chance", premiered on 5 November 2015 on ABC.

In September 2015 Crosby headed to Vancouver, BC to film scenes for an episode of SyFy's television series The Magicians. Crosby is guest starring in the episode "Mendings, Major and Minor", aired in February 2016. Besides Crosby, the episode also features Rick Worthy and Wayne Péré. [14]

She also filmed the Castle episode "Death Wish" in the first week of February 2016, portraying the villain, Dr. Marion Baker. [15]

In 2019, Crosby appeared as Judge Chanha Singh in the How to Get Away with Murder fifth season episode "Make Me the Enemy" on which she worked with Billy Brown, Melinda Page Hamilton, and Paul Terrell Clayton.

In March 2019, Crosby wrapped filming on "The One That Got Away", a tenth season episode of NCIS: Los Angeles, where she worked with Vyto Ruginis and Kimberly Shannon Murphy. [16] The episode aired on 29 April and Crosby portrayed Deputy U.S. Marshal Long.

On 14 April 2019 during a panel at the German ComicCon in Dortmund, Crosby told the audience that she's filming scenes for several episodes of the ninth season of the drama series Suits. She then appeared in nine episodes of the ninth and final season season as Faye Richardson and worked with Trek alumni Stephen Macht, Rachael Harris, Jeffrey Nordling, Ray Proscia, and Derek McGrath.

Recent projects[]

In 2021, Crosby portrayed Professor Trollenberg in the episode "Within the Walls of Madness", a second season episode of the horror anthology series Creepshow. Most recently, she appeared as SecNav (Secretary of the Navy) Hattie Taylor in the tenth episode of the nineteenth season of NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service entited "Pledge of Allegiance", along series new regular Gary Cole and with stunts by Katie Rowe. [17]

Currently in pre-production with a release scheduled for 2022 is the horror anthology film Campfire in which Crosby will be playing Jacky and working with Daniel Roebuck, Jim Cummings, and Lisa Wilcox. [18]

More recently, Crosby portrayed Carolyn Webber, on screen wife of William R. Moses' character, in five episodes of the daily soap General Hospital (2022, with Lisa LoCicero and Brian Oerly). [19] [20]

Star Trek interviews[]

Crosby was interviewed for the following specials:

External links[]