Gates McFadden will always be known to Star Trek fans as Doctor Beverly Crusher. She portrayed the chief medical officer on the Enterprise D for 154 of the 176 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG). She appeared in each season of the show, though she did take a noticeable break in season two. McFadden also reprised the role in four Star Trek movies.
After her Star Trek career ended, McFadden did some television acting every once in a while. She did some guest spots and had one recurring role on the show, Franklin & Bash. However, her main focus has been on other projects.
Here’s what she’s been up to since her time in the Star Trek universe came to an end.
Passing on Her Skills to The Next Generation
As McFadden told The Third Coast Review, she’s had “a very eclectic career.” She started her career on the stage as a dancer, choreographer and stage actor. She’s classically trained in multiple disciplines and studied under the master Jacques Lecoq. At one point, she was a teaching assistant for Lecoq, which gave her the opportunity to teach theatrical arts at institutions like Harvard.
When her Star Trek career ended, she decided to pass her considerable expertise on to the next generation of performers. In 2004, McFadden started teaching at the University of Southern California. She was brought on to teach the specific performance style she’d learned from her mentor Lecoq. McFadden continued to teach at USC for several years.
Returning to her Roots in Theater
In an interview with LA Weekly in 2011, McFadden said that though she moved to Los Angeles to work in television, she was always drawn to local theater. After working in television for several years, McFadden felt the pull of the theater again.
She brought her myriad skills to the Ensemble Studio Theater in Los Angeles in 2009, according to American Theater. As the artistic director of that organization, McFadden got the opportunity to organize stage productions, support fledging playwrights and actors, and fundraise to keep local theater alive in LA. During her tenure there, she worked with the community to open two new theaters, which focused specifically on developing the work of emerging talents.
McFadden stepped down from her role with the Ensemble Studio Theater in 2014.
Until recently, McFadden hadn’t attended sci-fi, comic book, or Star Trek conventions in quite some time. Though she’d done the convention circuit in the 90s, she stopped attending. In 2017, she spoke to the Ottawa Citizen and revealed that at the beginning of her career in the public eye, she had a stalker. The situation turned dangerous in ways she didn’t elaborate on, and the experience made her fearful of interacting with fans.
However, she’d spent years hearing about the experiences her former co-stars had at conventions. They told her how supportive the fanbase was and how wonderful it was to interact with them. Eventually, McFadden realized that she was missing out on an incredible experience. So, she decided to face her fears.
She went to her first convention in 2014.
“There were so many people who lined up who wanted to be scientists, or who liked the strong female character. I’ve been blown away by how resilient some people are. I’ve had people who watched the show while they were in hospital. I’ve had someone in their 30s start crying when they met me.”
McFadden continued, saying that fans often shared how her character or Star Trek, in general, had changed their lives.
After her initial experiences with conventions, McFadden decided that she loved them. Before the pandemic, she was attending conventions regularly. Since the pandemic, she’s been attending virtual panels hosted by convention organizers like GalaxyCon.
Hosting a Podcast
In September, McFadden revealed that she was working on a new Star Trek-themed podcast. It will feature McFadden interviewing and casually chatting with her former TNG castmates, members of the production crew and other Star Trek notables.
In December, McFadden shared that she’d already conducted interviews with Jonathan Frakes, Wil Wheaton, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton and Marina Sirtis. She promised fans that she’d be interviewing several other folks in the near future.
The podcast was slated to begin in January, but it’s been caught up in post-production for a bit. McFadden promised to update fans about the launch periodically on her Twitter account.
Appearing on ‘Picard’ Season 2?
In an interview with TrekMovie.com last summer, McFadden spoke about the possibility of an appearance in season two of Picard. She told the publication that there was “a good chance” that she could be part of the second season storyline. However, she made it clear that she hadn’t seen anything on paper yet.
In that interview, McFadden elaborated on what she thought Crusher might have done since fans saw her last. She theorized that Crusher was still hard at work improving the world. She stated that she could easily see Crusher’s future intersecting with Picard’s, perhaps even in the romantic sense.
Which TNG actors might make an appearance in Picard has been a topic of speculation since season one wrapped, but no confirmations have been made as of yet.
Correction: An earlier version of the article stated that McFadden “never” attended conventions. It has been updated to reflect the fact that she attended conventions in the 1990s.