The Star Trek franchise has a habit of using the same actors as guest stars over and over. Since the actors often wore elaborate makeup and prosthetics for the roles, viewers usually didn’t notice that they were repeats. However, a few actors did appear in multiple Star Trek shows without major changes to their appearances.
Some of these frequent guest stars were such favorites of the Star Trek family, that they ended up with big recurring roles or even starring roles.
Here are a few of the most familiar repeat actors in the Star Trek universe:
Though several actors landed recurring roles after guesting frequently, only a few landed a role on the main cast of a Star Trek series. Russ is one of those few.
His first appearance in the Star Trek universe was in the sixth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG). In the episode entitled “Starship Mine,” Russ appeared as a non-human who tried to highjack the Enterprise during a decontamination procedure. Russ’s next appearance was in the movie Star Trek: Generations when he played an unnamed Lieutenant.
Russ played two different characters in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9). His first role on the show was as a Klingon named T’Kar. The character appeared in the second season episode, “Invasive Procedures.” He was hired by a Trill to steal Jadzia Dax’s symbiont.
The second time Russ showed up in DS9 was as his Star Trek: Voyager character, Tuvok. However, he played the version of Tuvok that existed in the Mirror Universe, not the Tuvok on Voyager in the Prime universe.
Russ’s biggest role in the Star Trek universe was as Tuvok, the Vulcan second officer on Voyager. He played the role in 170 episodes of the series.
Todd is a prolific actor, with over 230 acting credits on his IMDB page. He’s best known for playing The Candyman in the 90s horror flick of the same name.
He’s also a frequent Klingon in the Star Trek universe. For his first appearance on TNG, he played a Klingon named Kurn. That role turned into a small recurring role, which he reprised on both TNG and DS9. In Voyager, Todd played an Alpha Hirogen in one episode.
Todd made just one appearance as a human in the Star Trek universe, and fans finally got to see him without makeup and prosthetics. In the episode “The Visitor,” which was in the fourth season of DS9, Todd played the adult version of Jake Sisko.
Combs was a favorite of the Star Trek family. His roles span three Star Trek shows. In one of those shows, DS9, he played five different characters.
The next time Combs appeared on DS9, he played the Ferengi auditor Brunt. This turned into a recurring role. He played the character eight times throughout the series.
Combs’s biggest role in the Star Trek universe also happened to be in DS9. He was cast as the Vorta Weyoun, a liaison between Deep Space Nine and the Changelings who ran the Dominion. The character was in more than 25 episodes. In one of those episodes, the incomparable Combs played both Weyoun and Brunt.
In the last two roles Combs had in DS9, fans finally got to see his real face, which had been hiding under makeup and prosthetics every other time he was onscreen. In the episode “Far Beyond the Stars,” Combs played Officer Mulkahey in an alternate universe dreamed up by Captain Sisko.
Combs’s other out of makeup appearance was so small it wasn’t even credited. According to StarTrek.com, Combs appeared in a holodeck scene in the very last episode of DS9.
Combs also showed up in a single episode of Star Trek: Voyager. In “Tsunkatse,” better known as the episode where Seven of Nine fights the Rock, Combs played Penk, the fight promoter and organizer.
In Star Trek: Enterprise, Combs had yet another recurring role, this time as Shran, an Andorian sometimes friend, sometimes enemy of the Enterprise crew. He also appeared once as a Ferengi named Krem.
Alaimo is another actor who, like Combs, started as a frequent guest and ended up with a major recurring role. Alaimo had guest roles on two Star Trek series, TNG and DS9. On TNG he played four different roles in four different episodes. On DS9 he played one role for 35 episodes.
Alaimo’s Star Trek debut was in the very first season of TNG in the episode “The Lonely Among Us.” Though he was uncredited at the time, he played the character Badar N’D’D. He next appeared in the 25th episode of the second season, entitled “The Neutral Zone,” as Commander Tebok, a Romulan officer commanding a Bird of Prey. A few years later, Alaimo appeared as a Cardassian named Gul Macet in the episode “The Wounded.” For his only out of makeup appearance in TNG, Alaimo played Frederick LaRouque in the time travel-centric two-parter, “Time’s Arrow.”
On DS9, Alaimo played the Gul Dukat in 35 episodes of the show, becoming one of the major players in the storyline. In one of those episodes, he also appeared as Officer Ryan, a racist cop dreamed up by Captain Sisko.
Most Star Trek fans recognize Cromwell as Zefram Cochrane who appeared in the TNG movie Star Trek: First Contact and one episode of Enterprise. However, he actually played three other Star Trek characters before he played the “founder of warp drive.”
Cromwell first showed up in the Star Trek universe in the episode “The Hunted,” which was in the third season of TNG. He played Prime Minister Nayrok, the leader of a non-human species applying for membership to the Federation. In the TNG two-parter “Birthright 1 & 2,” Cromwell portrayed Jaglom Shrek, a Yridian who claimed Worf’s father was alive. He transported Worf to a Romulan prison camp to verify the information.
In one episode of DS9, Cromwell appeared as Hanok, a Karemma weapons dealer who befriends Quark.
Several other actors have been frequent guest stars portraying multiple characters in the Star Trek universe. Some played two or three characters in one or two series. Others played upwards of seven or eight characters in three or four series.
Vaughn Armstrong has the distinction of being the actor who portrayed the most individual characters in the highest number of Star Trek series. He played more than ten characters over four shows, appearing in TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise.