R.I.P. Joanne Linville, who had memorable roles in Star Trek and The Twilight Zone

By: H&I Staff     Posted: June 22, 2021, 11:08AM Tags: Obituaries

"You are a superior being. Why do you not command?" the Romulan Commander asks Spock in "The Enterprise Incident. The Vulvan replies, "I do not desire a ship of my own." The leading role may not be for everyone, but that does not mean one cannot make a significant impact.

While Joanne Linville never headlined a series of her own, the longtime television actress made her mark on history. Playing that Romulan Commander in that 1968 episode, she became the first woman to portray a Romulan in the Star Trek universe. A quarter-century later, when the Romulans turned up in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Face of the Enemy," writer Naren Shankar suggested that Linville reprise her Romulan role. Alas, the actress was unavailable. (According to the book Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages.)

After studying under legendary acting teacher Stella Adler, Linville began her television career largely in the dramatic anthology series of the 1950s. She appeared multiple times in Studio One, and also turned up in installments of Alfred Hitchcock PresentsKraft TheatreThe United States Steel HourThe Alcoa Hour, and The Kaiser Aluminum Hour

Soap opera aficionados might know Linville for playing a scandalous role in The Guiding Light (as Guiding Light was known back then), as a runaway drug addict named Amy Sinclair who gets wrapped up in an illegal adoption ring.

Long time TV viewers are most likely to remember Linville (who, by the way, was of no relation to M*A*S*H actor Larry Linville) from her starring turn in a provocative tale from The Twilight Zone, "The Passerby," a Civil War story that cast her as a mansion owner on a road trafficked by soldiers. She encounters Abraham Lincoln (Austin Green) as seen here.

Linville in The Twilight Zone

Later in her career, Linville appeared in episodes of Columbo ("Candidate for Crime"), Barnaby Jones, CHiPs, Charlie's Angels, and L.A. Law.

But her calling in the acting profession ended up being in education, as she returned to the Stella Adler Academy of Acting & Theatre in Los Angeles to instruct, in a course called The Power of Language.

On June 20, Linville died in Los Angeles, her agent reported to Variety. She was 93.

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