Also a happy birthday to William Riker actor Jonathan Frakes, who is 61 today.
Jonathan Scott Frakes (born 19 August 1952; age 61) portrayed Commander William T. Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation, episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise, and in four Star Trek films.
Frakes, whose father was a college professor who taught English and literature, was born in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, and raised in nearby Bethlehem. 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.
Besides Star Trek: The Next Generation, he has appeared in numerous TV roles, including the prime-time soap operaFalcon Crest and the comedy series Dukes of Hazard. Frakes auditioned seven times over six weeks for the part of Riker.
On 28 May 1988, he married the actress Genie Francis(Laura Spencer on General Hospital, on which a pre-SpockLeonard Nimoy starred in 1963 and on which Corbin Bernsenstarred 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 younger brother of fellow Star Trek actorsKirstie Alley and James Read in North and South and North and South: Book II. The sequel also starred DS9 guest starJim Metzler. Frakes previously met Francis filming the drama series Bare Essence in 1983.
His non-Star Trek feature-film directing credits includeClockstoppers, Thunderbirds and all three of The Librarianmovies. He has also directed various television episodes, including shows such as Roswell, Dollhouse, Castle, The Good Guys, and NCIS: Los Angeles.
He has also co-written a book The Abductors: Conspiracy.
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”.
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”.
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.
Frakes pitched his own spin-off Star Trek show, but CBS rejected it due to the oversaturation of the franchise.
In 2011, Frakes stated that he would “play Riker for as long as I’m alive”