There are cult classic sci-fi shows—and then there is Star Trek, which defined a generation and a genre, broke barriers and has left a lasting impression on popular culture. Created by Gene Roddenberry, this iconic series introduced audiences to a stellar cast of young actors and actresses, including William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, Deforest Kelley and Nichelle Nichols. The premise of the show was exhilarating, especially during a time when space travel was just becoming a reality due to the first successful trip to the moon: the crew of the futuristic Starship Enterprise, headed by Captain James Kirk, is sent on a mission to explore unknown worlds in the 23rd century, encountering strange alien races, both friendly and hostile, along the way. Some other memorable characters besides Captain Kirk include the half-human/half-Vulcan science officer Spock (Nimoy), ship Dr. “Bones” McCoy, Ensign Pavel Chekov, Communications Officer Lt. Nyota Uhura, helmsman Lt. Hikaru Zulu and chief engineer Lt. Cmdr. “Scotty” Scott.
The original show itself ran for only four seasons—1966-1969—but its legacy endured thanks to a series of spin-offs, movies, plug-in novels ,and games. Ultimately, it became one of the most beloved shows to ever grace the sci-fi genre. So, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this iconic juggernaut, let’s take a look at what the cast has been up to since the series ended.
William Shatner (Captain James Kirk)
With a career that spans five decades, it’s no wonder that William Shatner has been involved in a plethora of projects in the years since Star Trek ended. In addition to reprising the role of Kirk for five Star Trek films, Shatner also scored parts in the films Impulse, The Devil’s Rain, Land of No Return, The Kidnapping of the President, Visiting Hours, Miss Congeniality, Falcon Down, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Fanboys, A Sunday Horse and Range 15. He also landed a leading role in the show T.J. Hooker and made guest appearances on several others, including Columbo, TekWar, 3rd Rock from the Sun, The Practice, Boston Legal and Haven. Fans can expect to see him in the upcoming films Malevolent and Creators: The Past as well as the show Better Late than Never.
Leonard Nimoy (Spock)
Like his costar William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy’s acting credits are both expansive and impressive. In the years after playing Spock, he scored a leading role on the show Mission: Impossible and guest-starred on The Outer Limits, The Simpsons, Futurama, The Big Bang Theory and Fringe. He also reprised his role as Spock for six Star Trek films, including the two recent reboots, Star Trek and Star Trek: Into Darkness, and landed parts in the movies Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, The Pagemaster and Brave New World. Sadly, Nimoy passed away in February of 2015. He was 83 years old.
George Takei (Hikaru Sulu)
After playing Sulu in Star Trek, George Takei guest-starred on several different television shows, including Hawaii Five-O, The Six Million Dollar Man, MacGyver, Murder She Wrote, Miami Vice, Lightning Force, Star Trek: Voyager, Space Cases, Early Edition, The Chronicle, Futurama, The Young and the Restless, Scrubs, Will & Grace, According to Jim, Heroes, True Justice, The New Normal, Archer, The Neighbors and Hot in Cleveland. He also scored roles in five Star Trek films as well as in Return from the River Kwai, Oblivion, The Eavesdropper, The Pool Boys, Larry Crowne, Eat with Me and Entourage. Fans can expect to see him in the upcoming film Yamasong: March of the Hollows and will be doing voice-acting for Blazing Samurai.
Nichelle Nichols (Uhura)
Uhura was one of my favorite characters on Star Trek, and I can’t imagine anybody but Nichelle Nichols playing her. In the years afterwards, Nichols has scored roles in a number of projects, including the shows Insight, The D.A., Head of the Class, Gargoyles, Heroes and Renegades. She also reprised her role as Uhura for five Star Trek films and played parts in The Supernaturals, Snow Dogs, Surge of Power, Are We There Yet?, The Torturer and This Bitter Earth. Fans can expect to see her in the films Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel, Drones, Clones and Pheromones, Unbelievable and White Orchid.
DeForest Kelly (Leonard McCoy)
After playing McCoy in Star Trek, DeForest Kelly went on to guest star on the shows The Silent Force, Room 222, The Cowboys and The Littlest Hobo. He also reprised his role as Leonard McCoy for five Star Trek films. Sadly, Kelly passed away in 1999; he was 79 years old.
James Doohan (Scotty)
After playing Scotty in Star Trek and in several of the Star Trek films, James Doohan guest-starred on the shows Then Came Bronson, Daniel Boone, Marcus Welby MD, Jason of Star Command, Magnum PI, MacGyver, Homeboys in Outer Space and The Bold and the Beautiful. He also scored roles in the films Pretty Maids All in a Row, Man in the Wilderness, Double Trouble, River of Stone, New York Skyride, Storybrook, Bug Buster and Through Dead Eyes. Sadly, Doohan died in 2005. He was 85 years old.
Walter Koenig (Chekov)
In the years since playing Chekov, Walter Koenig has landed roles in a number of diverse projects, including the shows The Virginian, Ironside, The Starlost, Columbo, The Real Ghostbusters, Babylon 5, Futurama, Star Trek: Renegade and Renegades. He also landed parts in the films Moontrap, Sworn to Justice, Drawing Down the Moon, Mad Cowgirl and Blue Dream. Fans can expect to see him in the upcoming films Unbelievable, Nobility, Neil Stryker and the Tyrant of Time, The Dragons of Melgor and Diminuendo.
Majel Barrett (Nurse Christine Chapel/Enterprise Computer/Number One)
Last but not least, we have Majel Barrett, who played Nurse Christine Chapel/Computer Voice in the original series and who was married to series creator Gene Roddenberry from 1969-1991. Afterwards, she returned to the Star Trek verse for Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise. She also scored major roles in the shows Spiderman and Earth: Final Conflict as well as the films Westworld, The Domino Killings, Teresa’s Tattoo and Mommy. Sadly, Barrett died in 2008. She was 76 years old.