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If you were a fan of the hit TV series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, then you will most definitely remember Denise Crosby. The American actress endeared herself to the audience with her portrayal of the indefatigable Lieutenant Tasha Yar on the show. She, however, made a shock exit at the end of the first season. This development saddened many of the show’s faithful and also led to several conspiracy theories as to why the actress left. Some posited that it was due to her inordinate ambition, while some others stated that she was axed due to a nude photoshoot. So, what is the true reason behind Crosby’s departure and what has she been up to since then? All these and more you’d find in the following paragraphs.
How Denise Crosby’s Acting Career Began
Denise Crosby was born on the 24th of November 1957 in Los Angeles, California. Her father is a popular actor, Dennis Crosby, while her paternal grandfather was the legendary entertainer, Bing Crosby. Coming from a lineage of entertainers, it comes as no surprise that Denise aspired to go into acting at a very early age. To realize these ambitions, Crosby enrolled to study theatre in college. She, however, dropped out after some ill-advised comments made by one of her teachers. On leaving school, she decided to pursue her professional acting career, hence making her debut in the 1979 rom-com, 10.
From thereon, she scored minor roles in several movies and TV series, including Days of Our Lives, Malice in Wonderland, L.A. Law, Trail of the Pink Panther, The Man Who Loved Women, Desert Hearts, and Eliminators. Eliminators is a 1986 sci-fi/action film that follows Dr. Reeves, a mad scientist who utilizes the body of a dead pilot to construct a cyborg named Mandroid. Reeves initially uses Mandroid as a guinea pig but the cyborg later exacts his revenge with the assistance of another scientist named Nora. Eliminators featured the likes of Patrick Reynolds and Andrew Pine, while Crosby portrayed the role of Nora.
The Real Reason Why She Left Star Trek
After nearly a decade of playing minor roles, Denise Crosby got her well-deserved breakthrough when she was cast on Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987. The series is the third installment in the Star Trek franchise and is set in the 24th century. It follows the adventures of the starship, USS Enterprise-D, as it explores the Milky Way Galaxy. In TNG, Denise Crosby portrays the role of Lieutenant Tasha Yar, the chief of security aboard the starship.
Her character is renowned for her insane hand-to-hand combat skills, but she also stunned fans with her hidden sensuality. Crosby appeared in about 26 episodes of TNG before deciding to walk away. Her decision stemmed from the fact that her character was being underutilized. Even though Yar featured in many episodes, her appearance was limited to standing on a bridge and greeting the ship’s Captain. To further worsen matters, it was just her legs that were mainly visible.
This situation made Crosby miserable and she sought out the show’s creator to see if there would be improvements in the future. The creator, however, told her in unequivocal terms that the show would continue to primarily revolve around the Captain, Data and First Officer, and that there would be no further development of her character. Crosby thus realized that her continued stay on TNG would not benefit her career. She, therefore, quit the show, and her character was subsequently written off.
It should be noted that Crosby departed from TNG on good terms. She reprised the role of Tasha on season 3, episode 15 titled Yesterday’s Enterprise. The California native also returned to portray Yar’s daughter, Sela, in four episodes. They are the season 4 finale, season 5 episodes 1, 2, and 7.
Her Post-Star Trek Career
Denise Crosby’s acting career didn’t end with Star Trek: The Next Generation. Since her departure from the series, she has gone on to appear in several movies and TV series, including Legend of the Phantom Rider, Relative Four, Skin Deep, Miracle Mile, Itsy-Bitsy, Key West, Ray Donovan, The Walking Dead, The X-Files, and Baywatch, etc. One of Crosby’s latest projects includes the long-running legal drama, Suits, where she appeared in the final season in 2019. She played the role of Faye Richardson, a special master who is appointed by the New York Bar Association to oversee the activities of the law firm.
Denise Crosby also remains faithful to the Star Trek universe. Despite walking away from the show, the actress is deeply grateful for her time on the series and never takes it for granted. To this end, she often appears at various sci-fi conventions to discuss the series. She has also featured in a video game series, Star Trek: Armada, and an indie-produced online series, Star Trek: New Voyages.
Crosby is also one of the executive producers of Trekkies, a documentary that offers a humorous insight into the lives of Star Trek devotees. While Trekkies 1 was released in 1997, Trekkies 2 followed in 2003, and Trekkies 3 is also in the works. In a July 2019 interview with MediaVillage, Crosby revealed that she is contemplating a 3rd and final installment of the series.