(written from a Production point of view)
Actor and director Jonathan Scott Frakes (born 19 August 1952; age 69) portrayed Commander William T. Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and in four Star Trek films. He also appeared as Riker in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (as an Okudagram only), Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek: Picard, and Star Trek: Lower Decks, and portrayed Thomas Riker in an episode of The Next Generation, and an episode of Deep Space Nine.
He also directed a number of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Star Trek: Discovery, and Picard episodes, along with two Star Trek films, Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection. He and David Carson are the only people to have directed Star Trek television and film productions.
Along with Marina Sirtis, he is one of only two actors to play the same character in four different live action Star Trek series. He and Tim Russ are the only actors to appear on screen with four Star Trek captains. (Frakes also appeared with William Shatner in Star Trek Generations, but did not share any scenes with him).
Frakes, whose father was a college professor who taught English and literature, was born in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. 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.
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.
Prior to Star Trek: The Next Generation, Frakes appeared in numerous TV roles. In 1977, he co-starred on the medical soap opera The Doctors and between 1978 and 1985 held numerous guest roles on various shows such as Fantasy Island, The Dukes of Hazzard, Quincy, M.E., Highway to Heaven, The Waltons, and The Fall Guy.
Frakes also held a guest role in a 1982 episode of Hill Street Blues. The series featured many Star Trek personalities including James B. Sikking in the recurring role of Lieutenant Howard Hunter and Barbara Bosson as Fay Furillo. The series also featured guest roles by Jonathan Banks, Merritt Butrick, Miguel Ferrer, Larry A. Hankin, Tim Culbertson, and Chris Doyle. Brent Spiner also appeared in the 1985 episode "The Life and Time of Dominic Florio Jr".
In 1985, Frakes was cast as Damon Ross on the prime-time soap opera Falcon Crest, a role for which he became very well known. Later that year he starred as a villainous steel industrialist in the 1985 mini-series North and South. The series co-starred Kirstie Alley as well as a cameo role by the famous country music singer Johnny Cash. In 1994, while working on Star Trek, Frakes returned to his previous role in North and South: Book II. From 1998 to 2002, he was the host of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction.
Frakes auditioned seven times over six weeks for the part of Riker. (TNG Season 1 DVD special feature "Selected Crew Analysis – Casting") He was cast in the role, first appearing in the pilot episode in 1987. Frakes portrayed the role of Riker for the next seventeen years in various Star Trek series and films, before returning to the franchise again in 2020 portraying Captain William Riker in the series Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Lower Decks.
For the Deep Space Nine episode "Defiant", Frakes filmed his scenes between Wednesday 5 October 1994 and Tuesday 11 October 1994 on Paramount Stage 4, 17, and 18. According to the call sheet, he received a hair and beard cut prior to filming on 5 October 1994. The call sheets also distinguish the parts of "Will Riker" and "Tom Riker" in the cast section by using the numbers 9A and 9B.
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". 
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,  while "The Offspring" is his favorite Next Generation episode that he directed. 
Frakes pitched his own spin-off Star Trek show, but CBS rejected it due to the perceived over saturation of the franchise. 
Frakes returned to direct episodes of Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard. For the former series, he directed the first season episode "Despite Yourself", and the second season episodes "New Eden" and "Project Daedalus". For the latter, he helmed "Absolute Candor" and "Stardust City Rag". He also directed two episodes of the third season of Discovery, and will return to direct episodes of the second season of Picard. 
The Riker Maneuver
During his role as William T. Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Jonathan Frakes developed an unusual habit of sitting in chairs by swinging his leg over the chair top, essentially "mounting" the chair in order to sit down. 
According to Jonathan Frakes, the manner in which he sat in chairs began in the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, specifically due to the chairs in Ten Forward being very low and difficult to sit in, due to Frakes' large stature of being over six feet tall. Eventually, this method of sitting simply became habit and stuck with him for the remainder of the series. 
Related to his manner of sitting, fans also noticed the frequency of Riker placing his leg up on consoles, often when standing to overlook a crewman, most often Data when sitting at the operations station. This way of standing, often referred to comically as the "cock-a-leg" or "Riker lean" was attributed for many years to Frakes having a back injury, supposedly due to working as a furniture mover in his early life and severely straining his back muscles. This story went unconfirmed for many years, until Wil Wheaton confirmed Frakes had admitted the same to him during their time together on the series. 
His non-Star Trek feature-film directing credits include Clockstoppers, Thunderbirds, and all three of The Librarian movies. He directed the Star Trek spoof Star Patrol! in 1999 which was planned as a potential pilot for a series but not picked up by 20th Century Fox.
He has also directed various television episodes, including shows such as Roswell, Dollhouse, Castle (including an episode, "The Final Frontier", that featured a large number of Trek references), The Good Guys, and NCIS: Los Angeles. He has also directed several episodes of The Librarians, a spinoff of the film series, which films in the Portland, Oregon area.  In these works, he frequently makes cameo appearances. He has also directed episodes of The Orville, a science fiction series which is largely inspired by The Next Generation.
He has also co-written a book, The Abductors: Conspiracy.
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.
Star Trek appearances
Appearances as William T. Riker
Jonathan Frakes is the only Star Trek regular cast member to appear in six Star Trek television series.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (every episode)
- DS9: "Defiant" (okudagram)
- VOY: "Death Wish"
- Star Trek films
- ENT: "These Are the Voyages..."
Star Trek directorial credits
Jonathan Frakes has directed several Star Trek episodes, and two movies.
- Star Trek films
- SNW: 
Other Trek connections
- Alfre Woodard, who starred in First Contact, is his self-proclaimed godmother (despite being three months younger).
- He shares his birthday with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and TNG co-star Diana Muldaur.
- Aside from Voyager and Nemesis, Frakes has worked with Kate Mulgrew on two other projects: Gargoyles (which also featured the voice of numerous actors from Star Trek, including Avery Brooks, Nichelle Nichols, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, and Colm Meaney) and Camp Nowhere (which also starred Christopher Lloyd).
- He directed Brent Spiner and Armin Shimerman in the episode "The Juror #6 Job" and also Spencer Garrett in the episode "The Morning After Job", of the series Leverage.
- In 2002, Frakes directed the movie Clockstoppers, where he included line "Make it so, Number One", an in-joke in reference to his Star Trek days.
- In 2012, Frakes directed Armin Shimerman in the Castle episode "The Final Frontier", and had a small cameo as an autograph-seeking fan.
- In 2013 Frakes voiced an adult version of Finn the Human in an episode of Adventure Time with a plot very similar to that of "The Inner Light". The same episode also included a cameo by Wallace Shawn.
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 issue 1, p. 14, interviewed by Marc Shapiro
- "Jonathan Frakes – Commander William Riker", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 3, pp. 4-9, interviewed by Edward Gross
- "Riker's Role", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 4, p. 26, interviewed by Dennis Fischer
- "Jonathan Frakes – Commander William Riker", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 5, pp. 6-11
- "A Career as a Captain", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 7, p. 6, interviewed by David McDonnell
- "Jonathan Frakes – Commander William Riker", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 11, pp. 55-57, interviewed by Christina Mavroudis & Michael McAvennie
- All Good Things Blu-ray special feature The Unknown Possibilities of Existence: Making "All Good Things" (2014)
|Star Trek: The Next Generation regular cast|
|Starring: Patrick Stewart • Jonathan Frakes • Brent Spiner|
|Also starring: LeVar Burton • Denise Crosby • Michael Dorn • Gates McFadden • Diana Muldaur • Marina Sirtis • Wil Wheaton|
- Jonathan Frakes at Wikipedia
- Jonathan Frakes at TriviaTribute.com – pictures, sound clips and trivia
- Jonathan Frakes at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
|Star Trek films director
Star Trek: First Contact
Star Trek: Insurrection