Veteran actress Joanne Linville has passed away. Famous for her role as a Romulan commander in a classic episode of Star Trek among many other screen credits, Linville reportedly died on Sunday. Her death was announced by the talent agency CAA, but a cause of death was not revealed. She was 93 years old.
Linville’s life story begins on Jan. 15, 1928, when she was born as Beverly Joanne Linville in Bakersfield, California. Growing up in Venice, she first worked as an oral surgeon’s assistant before switching her focus to acting. Linville would turn to dancing to help pay her tuition, and by the 1950s, she was picking up TV guest roles by the mid 1950s, appearing on shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Kraft Theatre, and Playhouse 90. Heading into the 60s, she’d go on to appear in other programs like Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and Hawaii Five-0.
Perhaps the most memorable role for Linville was for the 1968 episode “The Enterprise Incident” of the original Star Trek TV series. She portrayed a Romulan commander who is romanced by Spock (Leonard Nimoy) so Captain Kirk (William Shatner) can steal her ship’s Romulan cloaking device. Linville’s character’s name, along with her fate, is not revealed in the episode. The fan-made webseries Star Trek Continues featured Linville’s daughter Amy playing the same role.
In 1961, Linville also appeared in a particularly memorable episode of The Twilight Zone. In the episode, titled “The Passersby,” Linville plays Lavinia Gordon, the owner of a Southern mansion in the Civil War. She continued to appear frequently in other big name shows for years to come, with the 70s and 80s bringing her roles for titles including Columbo, Kojack, Charlie’s Angels, CHiPs, Dynasty, and L.A. Law. Linville would also star with George Grizzard in the final episode of the TV series Bus Stop.
Her work wasn’t limited to the small screen as Linville appeared in a variety of motion pictures as well. She was featured in the movies The Goddess, Scorpio, Gable and Lombard, A Star Is Born, and The Seduction. Linville would also join James Franco in the TV movie James Dean in 2001 for her final movie role. She also appeared in other TV movies like House on Greenapple Road, The Critical List, The Users, Secrets, and The Right of the People. The last credit for Linville would be a voice role for the Star Trek fan audio drama Starship Excelsior.
Along with actress Irene Gilbert, Linville co-founded the Stella Adler Academy in Los Angeles in 1985. In 2011, she published the instructional book Joanne Linville’s Seven Steps to an Acting Craft. The actress also taught the course The Power of Language at the Stella Adler Academy.
Linville’s survivors include granddaughter-in-law Billie Lourd and her son, Kingston; ex-husband, director Mark Rydell; their children, Christopher and Amy; and grandchildren, Austen, Ruby, and Ginger. Our condolences go out to them at this painful time. May Linville rest in peace as she is forever remembered by those who loved her and enjoyed her work. This news comes to us from Deadline.
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