Brent Spiner on the Worst Performer on ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’


Brent Spiner is an actor who famously played Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation. In a video interview, Spiner revealed something from his time on set that surprised many TNG fans. On camera, Spiner has revealed that one of his TNG co-stars was “the single worst actor I’ve ever worked with.” And yes, it was a performer that worked closely on the set with Spiner himself. Read on to get all the details.

Spiner Had a ‘Feud’ With a Co-Star

Spiner has been rumored to have an issue with cats, which was seemingly confirmed by the interview above.

When asked about whether he dislikes cats, Spiner explained his personal views to the camera.

“It’s absurd. I don’t hate an entire species of animal…I hate that cat,” Spiner joked in the interview, referring to his feline co-star from The Next Generation. Spiner’s character, Data, was famous for having a pet cat named Spot. Since Data was an Android, it was interesting for many viewers to see him have a “human” habit like owning a pet.

Spiner immediately clarified his stance on cats, adding, “I didn’t hate that cat at all, I really didn’t. It was just that the cat was being required to do things it could not do.”

In the video, Spiner adds that he thinks “Jonathan” was likely the TNG cast member who started spreading the rumor that Spiner hates cats. The “Jonathan” in this case is assumed to be fellow TNG actor Jonathan Frakes, who played Will Riker.

Which Cat Played Spot on ‘Star Trek: TNG’?

Watch all of Spot’s appearances in the supercut above, and observe how the cat’s appearance (and even gender) are changed over the course of the series.

Spiner notes that there were actually two cats who played Spot onscreen in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Despite the efforts of “the wranglers” on set, the cats weren’t easy to work with, in Spiner’s estimation.

In fact, another source says there were even more cats who acted as “Spot” for the show. According to Memory Alpha, there were six cats who played Spot over the years…as well as one iguana named Willie (in the episode “Genesis“).

“Spot was played by unknown long-haired Somali cats in her first two appearances,” Memory Alpha clarifies, adding: “Monster and Brandy were a pair of twin tabby cats and it was they who replaced the first cat to have played the role of Spot.”

It’s likely that Spiner was referring to the twin tabby cats in his assessment of there being just two “Spots” on set, during his interview segment.

Never Work With Children or Animals

The anecdote about the on-set antics of Spot the cat seems to prove an old showbiz adage: “Never work with children or animals.”

That famoous line, often attributed to comedian W.C. Fields, suggests that working with children or animals tends to be unpredictable, and therefore, much more stressful than working with adult actors. However, it’s worth noting that despite the statement attributed to him, it’s generally accepted that Field’s ire towards children was all part of his act.

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