R.I.P. Joanne Linville, who had memorable roles in Star Trek and The Twilight Zone
She was the first woman to play a Romulan in the Trek universe. She was 93.
"You are a superior being. Why do you not command?" the Romulan Commander asks Spock in "The Enterprise Incident. The Vulvan replies, "I do not desire a ship of my own." The leading role may not be for everyone, but that does not mean one cannot make a significant impact.
While Joanne Linville never headlined a series of her own, the longtime television actress made her mark on history. Playing that Romulan Commander in that 1968 episode, she became the first woman to portray a Romulan in the Star Trek universe. A quarter-century later, when the Romulans turned up in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Face of the Enemy," writer Naren Shankar suggested that Linville reprise her Romulan role. Alas, the actress was unavailable. (According to the book Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages.)
After studying under legendary acting teacher Stella Adler, Linville began her television career largely in the dramatic anthology series of the 1950s. She appeared multiple times in Studio One, and also turned up in installments of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Kraft Theatre, The United States Steel Hour, The Alcoa Hour, and The Kaiser Aluminum Hour.
Soap opera aficionados might know Linville for playing a scandalous role in The Guiding Light (as Guiding Light was known back then), as a runaway drug addict named Amy Sinclair who gets wrapped up in an illegal adoption ring.
MeTV viewers are most likely to remember Linville (who, by the way, was of no relation to M*A*S*H actor Larry Linville) from her starring turn in a provocative tale from The Twilight Zone, "The Passerby," a Civil War story that cast her as a mansion owner on a road trafficked by soldiers. She encounters Abraham Lincoln (Austin Green) as seen here.
Later in her career, Linville appeared in episodes of Columbo ("Candidate for Crime"), Barnaby Jones, CHiPs, Charlie's Angels, and L.A. Law.
But her calling in the acting profession ended up being in education, as she returned to the Stella Adler Academy of Acting & Theatre in Los Angeles to instruct, in a course called The Power of Language.
On June 20, Linville died in Los Angeles, her agent reported to Variety. She was 93.
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Think how novel it was in 1968 to put such an elegant, strong and especially, feminine actress into a role equivalent to the one of Captain James T. Kirk (outside of the Roddenberry universe)? Twilight Zone (an anthology series) was good about doing that, but occasionally. I could very well see, she, in that role spinning off a series (perhaps with a Romulan point of view). But, hey, it was enough that they got Star Trek past the networks.
I'm sure her family knows how much enjoyment her talent and skill brought to the audience. With much appreciation!
The problem of that time is that (some) actors were wary of getting typecast or associated with aliens and monsters from space. We can hardly imagine that POV now. But (without having read anything, which may certainly prove me wrong) Ms. Linville probably accepted the ST role based on such a good script and the plot of that episode. IMO, that's why it's a strong fan favorite! Anytime they throw Spock, Kirk and Bones together!! And then run an emotional storyline around all of them!