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Celia Lovsky

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(written from a Production point of view)
TpauTOS T'Pau (1967)

Celia Lovsky (21 February 189712 October 1979; age 82) was the actress from Vienna, Austria, who played T'Pau in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Amok Time". Along with Judith Anderson, Morgan Farley, Richard Hale, Anthony Jochim, Felix Locher, Leonard Mudie, Charles Seel, Abraham Sofaer, John Warburton, and Ian Wolfe, she is one of only eleven credited Star Trek guest stars born in the 19th century to appear in any episode or film.

Lovsky filmed her scenes between Wednesday 14 June 1967 and Monday 19 June 1967 at Desilu Stage 10.

Life and careerEdit

Lovsky was born Cäcilie Josephine Lvovsky on Feburary 21, 1897; her father was a minor Czech classical composer. She studied at the Royal Academy and went on to appear in stage plays in Austria and Germany until meeting Hungarian actor Peter Lorre, whom she later married. She was instrumental in getting him cast as the child murderer in Fritz Lang's classic 1931 thriller M. Although the couple divorced in 1945, they remained devoted friends all their lives. Lorre had refused to permit her to work in America, believing that in a marriage, the man must do all the work. After their divorce, she sought out theater and film roles, but was hampered by a heavy Austro-Hungarian accent. She did get a number of character and exotic roles.

She played the mother of Lon Chaney, who herself was a deaf-mute, in Man of a Thousand Faces, where she used American Sign Language.[1] Late-night viewers probably remember her in this role or as Apache Princess Saba in an obscure 1955 film, Foxfire. Both films were directed by Joseph Pevney, who recommended Lovsky for the role of T'Pau in "Amok Time" after reading Theodore Sturgeon's script. He and Leonard Nimoy agreed that Lovsky would be "perfect". [2] Proving unable to perform the Vulcan salute naturally for "Amok Time", she manipulated the fingers of her left hand into the correct position before raising it into range of the camera. (The salute is usually performed with the right hand.)

She had many guest-starring television roles on such favorites as Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Lovsky and Susan Oliver appeared together in the Michael Shayne episode "The Heiress" and in The Gene Krupa Story (1959). She also appeared in the science-fiction film Soylent Green, which featured Whit Bissell, Leigh Taylor-Young, Robert Ito, Roy Jenson, Meg Wyllie, and Brock Peters, and was photographed by Richard H. Kline.

Lovsky died of natural causes in Los Angeles, California, in 1979, aged 82.


  1. All her lines are in sign language. "His deaf mother (played by Celia Lovsky) suspects the nature of the problem and follows him outside, signing, 'You didn't tell her your parents were deaf?' When he responds that he expected Cleva to understand, his mother scolds him: 'You don't understand your responsibility.' Chaney tries to avert his eyes, and in a very typical deaf manner she grabs his chin and forces him to maintain eye contact, then tells him to go to Cleva." Hollywood Speaks: Deafness and the Film Entertainment Industry, John S. Schuchman. Illini Books, 1999.
  2. Edward Gross & Mark A. Altman, Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages (Little, Brown, 1995), p. 53.

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