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James G. Becker

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File:Youngblood, Code of Honor.jpg
McCormack, Deacon, Leonhardt, Becker

Becker with Tim McCormack, Jeffrey Deacon, and Nora Leonhardt

James G. Becker (born circa 1966) is a former background actor who appeared as the Starfleet officer known behind the scenes as Ensign Youngblood throughout the first three seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. He also worked as a stand-in on the series.

Hailing from a small farming community in Oswego, Illinois, Becker was on the road to becoming a farmer like his father, majoring in Agricultural Economics at the University of Illinois. After two years, however, he decided that, while he enjoyed farming, it was not something he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He returned home to Oswego and, with his parents' blessing, took a construction job while saving money and contemplating what to do with his life. Fascinated with television (which did include the original Star Trek series), he ultimately decided to move to Los Angeles and try his luck in Hollywood.

Once in Los Angeles, Becker began taking acting classes. About six months later, a friend introduced him to Les Landau, the First Assistant Director for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Soon, Becker found himself on the set of TNG's pilot episode, "Encounter at Farpoint", as one of many background performers in the mall scene of Farpoint Station. The following week of filming the pilot, he was on the set of the USS Enterprise-D bridge in a science blue Starfleet uniform. Although his character never received an official name, his cast and crew mates referred to him as "Ensign Youngblood" – "an affectionate tribute to the way Becker's personality shines clean and fresh."

Becker's determination had also shown through. Even when he wasn't working, Becker was still on the set observing and learning about the many intricacies of television production, including direction, lighting and photography. After filming on the pilot was finished, Becker asked Landau to allow him to become an occasional stand-in, which he permitted. A few weeks later, Becker's devotion and willingness to learn led to his becoming a stand-in for Jonathan Frakes and filming scenes with the regular actors. (The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 3, pp. 64-66)

After "Encounter at Farpoint", Becker went on to appear as Youngblood in 40 episodes of Next Generation. During the third season, however, Becker decided to return to Illinois and resume college. Among his last episodes was "The Offspring", directed by Jonathan Frakes. As a parting gift, Frakes gave Becker his first and only word of dialogue – "Gentlemen" – as well his first and only on-screen credit.


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