(written from a Production point of view)
Karen Hensel (born 1 November 1948; age 71) is the actress who portrayed Fleet Admiral Brackett in the Star Trek: The Next Generation fifth season episode "Unification I". She later appeared in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine second season episode "Cardassians" as the Bajoran Deela. For "Unification I", Hensel filmed her scenes on Thursday 19 September 1991 on Paramount Stage 8.
She is perhaps best known for her recurring role as Doris Collins, the mother of Sharon Newman, on the daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless. She played Doris from 1994 through 2000, and resumed the role in 2009.
Hensel performed in the original Broadway production of Zoot Suit in 1979, along with Edward James Olmos and Tony Plana. She made her film debut playing Sister Catherine in the 1986 horror sequel Psycho III. Mickey S. Michaels was the set decorator on this film, while Michael Westmore handled the special makeup effects. Hensel's only other film role is that of Scary Mary in 1992's Caged Heat, which also featured Deborah May.
In addition to her Star Trek appearances, Hansel has also guest-starred on several other television series. In 1988, she was in an episode of L.A. Law, the successful drama series which starred Corbin Bernsen and Larry Drake. The episode in which she appeared, "The Son Also Rises", featured many other Star Trek alumni, including Rene Auberjonois, James Avery, Laura Drake, Gregg Henry, Miriam Flynn, Peter Neptune, and Dana Sparks.
Subsequent television shows on which Hensel has appeared include: Freddy's Nightmares, with Ellen Albertini Dow and Jeff Austin; Murphy Brown, with James Lashly; Knots Landing, with France Nuyen and Michelle Phillips; Wings, starring Steven Weber; and ER, with Wallace Langham. On Beverly Hills, 90210, Hensel played the doctor of Caroline Lagerfelt's character, Sheila Silver, in an episode also featuring Stanley Kamel.
Between 1987 and 1996, Hensel was seen on three episodes of Murder, She Wrote, each time playing a different character. Among the performers she worked with on this series were Erick Avari, Lee Bergere, Mary Crosby, the aforementioned Gregg Henry, Gary Lockwood, Tony Todd, Fritz Weaver, and Time Winters. One of her episodes was directed by Vincent McEveety.
Hensel had a supporting role on the short-lived western series The Magnificent Seven, on which Andrew Kavovit, Ron Perlman, and Rick Worthy were regulars. She appeared in episodes with Anne Haney, Jerry Hardin, and Jeremy Roberts.
After leaving The Young and the Restless in 2000, Hensel appeared on such shows as Frasier (starring Kelsey Grammer), The Guardian (with Raphael Sbarge), and The Practice. She also starred in the short film The Physics of Fathers with Jerry Sroka.