Shore Leave 41 Guest: Gates McFadden

Gates  McFadden

Born in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Gates McFadden has had a life-long passion for the performing arts. She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in theatre arts from Brandeis University and upon attaining her degree moved to Paris where she continued to study theatre with actor Jacques Lecoq.

During her early career she often worked for Jim Henson productions as Cheryl McFadden. Originally Gates was her middle name. While there she served as choreographer on the film The Dark Crystal, Directory of Choreography and Puppet Movement on Labyrinth, and again as choreographer in The Muppets Take Manhattan, where she had a brief on screen appearance.

Her early acting work includes the Troma film When Nature Calls (1985), an appearance in the third season of The Cosby Show, and as the wife of Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) in The Hunt for Red October.

1987 marked the beginning of the role for which Gates McFadden is best known for, Dr. Beverly Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The character of Beverly Crusher was originally designed as a love interest of sorts for Captain Picard. The fact that Dr. Crusher would have to balance her personal feelings, her duty to Starfleet, and the responsibility of being a widowed single parent are among the many factors that attracted McFadden to the role.

Gates was replaced by actress Diana Muldar in the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, however Patrick Stewart was able to convince her to return and reprise her role. For the remaining five seasons Gates would play Dr. Crusher. In addition to her acting she also directed the episode "Genesis" and choreographed the dance routine in the episode "Data's Day".

She reprised her role in all subsequent Star Trek: The Next Generation films which include Star Trek: Generations, Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection, and Star Trek: Nemesis. She also lent her voice to the PC games Star Trek: A Final Unity and Star Trek: Generations.

Other notable roles include Taking Care of Business in 1990 where she starred with James Belushi and fellow TNG star John de Lancie, a 1992 stage production of Every Good Boy Deserves a Favour alongside her fellow shipmates Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, and Colm Meany that performed in four cities. Additional television roles include Marker (1995) alongside Richard Grieco, the television movie Crowned and Dangerous with Yasmine Bleeth (1997), and the role of Allison Rourke in the hit sitcom Mad About You where she portrayed the boss of Paul Buchman (Paul Reiser).

In addition to acting, Gates has also contributed to higher education. She has taught courses at several universities including Brandeis, Harvard, Purdue, and the University of Pittsburgh. She has served as the Artistic Director of Ensemble Studio Theatre of Los Angeles and as an adjunct faculty member at the School of Theater at the University of Southern California.