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Noley Thornton (born 30 December 1983; age 40) is a former actress who played Clara Sutter in the Star Trek: The Next Generation fifth season episode "Imaginary Friend" and Taya in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine second season episode "Shadowplay".

She filmed her scenes for "Imaginary Friend" between Wednesday 26 February 1992 and Thursday 5 March 1992 on Paramount Stage 8, 9, and 16.

Thornton, who started to work as an actress in 1989, appeared in the music video for "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel. (1989), Fine Things (1990, with George Coe, Dakin Matthews, and Randy Oglesby), The Giant of Thunder Mountain (1991), and Defending Your Life (1991, with Michael Durrell, Julie Cobb, Time Winters, Marilyn Rockafellow, George D. Wallace, Leonard O. Turner, Hal Landon, Jr., and Arell Blanton).

She guest starred in episodes of Quantum Leap (1991, starring Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell, with Joycelyn O'Brien and Alan Scarfe) and Tequila and Bonetti (1992, with Charles Rocket) and was featured in A Private Matter (1992, with Leon Russom, Michael Bofshever, Ken Jenkins, Ben Lemon, David Sage, and William Utay) before she was cast in the role of Heidi in the 1993 television movie Heidi, with Andrew Bicknell, for which she received a Young Artist Award nomination in the category Best Youth Actress in a TV Mini-Series, M.O.W. or Special in 1994.

Between 1993 and 1995, Thornton had a recurring role as Erica McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210 on which she worked with Michael Durrell, Ann Gillespie, Kerrie Keane, and Dina Meyer. Keane played the mother of Thornton's character. Their final appearances had them appearing in episodes featuring Next Generation alum Stanley Kamel. During this time she also had a guest role in an episode of L.A. Law (1993, with Corbin Bernsen, Larry Drake, and Concetta Tomei) and a recurring role in The Martin Short Show (1994, with Andrea Martin and Zack Duhame) for which she received her second Young Artist Award nomination in the category Best Performance: Young Actress in a TV Comedy Series in 1995.

Further credits include voice work in It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown (1996, with Justin Shenkarow and John Christian Graas), a supporting role in the television drama The Little Riders (1996, with Malcolm McDowell), and guest roles in The Client (1996, with Sherman Howard and Derek McGrath) and Promised Land (1998).

Following her college graduation in 2005, [1] Thornton directed the short drama While in Mexico (2005). She also received special thanks in the end credits of the short drama Barely Legal (2006), worked as second assistant director on the television comedy Polly and Marie (2007), as production coordinator on the drama Blind Ambition (2008), and as location manager on Dark Reel (2008, with Dragon Dronet, Tony Todd, Tracey Walter, and Danny Downey).

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