Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Real world article
(written from a Production point of view)

Gates McFadden (born 2 March 1949; age 75) has portrayed Beverly Crusher in most episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, in the four Next Generation Star Trek films, and the third season of Star Trek: Picard. McFadden also directed the TNG seventh season episode "Genesis" and choreographed the dance routine in fourth season's "Data's Day", the latter of which came naturally to her as McFadden has had a parallel professional career as a choreographer.

McFadden left the series at the end of the first season and was replaced by Diana Muldaur as Doctor Katherine Pulaski in the second season. An official announcement states that McFadden had left the series to pursue other career options. McFadden herself got a call from her agent who told her that the producers decided to go in another direction with the character. Like the other cast members, McFadden was surprised. ("Gates McFadden – Dr. Beverly Crusher", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 12, p. 43)

In Making It So: Continuing Star Trek - The Next Generation, Part 2: "New Life and New Civilizations," McFadden states that she was fired. She was too vocal to the show's staff regarding some of the writing on The Next Generation being sexist, and was unsavvy at the time regarding studio politics. Patrick Stewart described the entire cast as being "horrified and appalled," that they had never expected that her comments would lead to it, and it having been a terrible shock. McFadden herself was stunned, as Gene Roddenberry had told her that her character was the third most popular on the series. Ultimately, she felt that she spoke her mind "in a way that really pissed people off" and it was a good lesson to learn.

But thanks to a letter-writing campaign, support from Stewart, and a personal invitation from Rick Berman, McFadden was brought back to the TNG cast for the third and subsequent seasons. McFadden was absent for all episodes of the second season, was mentioned in "The Child", and only appeared in stock footage in "Shades of Gray" which was used from the first season episodes "Symbiosis" and "Skin Of Evil".

Gates McFadden and Jonathan West

McFadden and Jonathan West on the set of "Genesis"

McFadden became pregnant with her first child during the fourth season of TNG, learning of the pregnancy only days after performing her own stunts for the episode "Remember Me". This explains her absence during the last part of the season. Although the directors were able to hide her pregnancy behind objects and Crusher's trademark lab coat, it was briefly visible in some episodes, including "The Host". Her son was born over hiatus; Brent Spiner is his godfather. McFadden has been quoted as saying her son grew up on the bridge of the USS Enterprise-D, and he was upset when the sets were torn down following Star Trek Generations.

McFadden narrated the 2021 documentary series The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek and was one of its executive producers.

Ensign Gates, the conn officer played by Joycelyn Robinson, was named for her. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 2nd ed., p. 268)


McFadden's birth date is somewhat unclear; official promotional material from Paramount Pictures lists her birthday as August 28, 1953 while the IMDb lists it as March 2, 1949. Public records indicate that a "Cheryl G. McFadden" was born in 1949 and McFadden has admitted that she makes up dates since she is uncomfortable with revealing her true birth date. Given that she graduated from Brandeis University in 1970(X) , it is likely that she was born before 1953.

Upon her graduation from Brandeis, McFadden spent most of the 1970s teaching at the University of Pittsburgh, Harvard University, and George Washington University. During that era she formed The New York Theatre Commotion theater company and toured an all-female clown act, "Commedia Dell Pinky" in 1975. (The Pittsburgh Press, 4 April 1975, p. 15)

Gates McFadden is an accomplished dancer and puppeteer; her first recorded professional industry credit entailed her choreography work on the 1985 film Dreamchild for which she received a "Special thanks to…" credit. Subsequently, she worked on several Jim Henson productions as a choreographer, most notably in the 1986 film Labyrinth (earlier, she also choreographed movement for the 1982 Henson production The Dark Crystal, albeit uncredited, whereas she made her 1984 film acting debut in Henson's The Muppets Take Manhattan). She prefers stage roles to television, and has been seen in countless productions over her career. She is trained in stage swordfighting; ironically, only she and Marina Sirtis were trained in the technique which was featured in TNG: "Qpid" but only the male characters were allowed to use swords. For her behind-the-scenes choreography work McFadden usually goes by her "Cheryl McFadden" credit, as opposed to her "Gates McFadden" acting credits.

During her break from Star Trek, McFadden played Cathy Ryan (coincidentally another doctor with a husband named Jack) in the film The Hunt for Red October (1990, co-starring Daniel Davis, Boris Krutonog, Ned Vaughn, and served by Star Trek alumnus Greg Jein and his staff of visual effects artists, John Eaves among them), although most of her scenes were edited from the film. She returned to Manhattan for the break where she performed in a play and took up her pre-Trek teaching post in acting and improvisation at the New York University's Graduate School of the Arts.

In 1992, McFadden appeared alongside fellow cast members Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, and Colm Meaney in a production of Every Good Boy Deserves Favour directed by Stewart, which was performed in four cities. In 2011, McFadden began a recurring role as judge Mallory Jacobs on the legal comedy television series Franklin and Bash having her working again with Malcolm McDowell. McFadden debuted in the first season finale "Go Tell it on the Mountain" where as Jacobs, presided over the trial of Macdowell's character Stanton Infeld. McFadden returned in the second season, first in "For Those About to Rock" joining Geoffrey Blake, Peter Weller, and Tom Wright and again in the season finale "650 to SLC" reuniting with "Conundrum" guest star Erich Anderson. Anderson himself has a recurring role on the series.

McFadden had starred in the short-lived 1995 drama series Marker, which was one of the pilot series on UPN alongside Star Trek: Voyager. She has also starred in the Microsoft People Ready Business commercials, aired in the Spring of 2006 on television.

The The Center Seat documentary series McFadden narrated, was produced by The Nacelle Company, where McFadden is actually part of its editorial staff as freelancer, producing and hosting its Gates McFadden InvestiGates: Who Do You Think You Are? podcast series. [2]

Star Trek appearances[]

Appearances as Beverly Crusher[]

Star Trek interviews[]

McFadden was interviewed for the following Star Trek media:

External links[]