(written from a Production point of view)
Michael Dorn (born 9 December 1952; age 63) is an actor, director, producer, and writer best known for his portrayal of Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation, on Deep Space Nine, and in four Star Trek films. He also portrayed Worf's namesake, Colonel Worf, in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
Dorn was born in Luling, Texas, but he grew up in Pasadena, California. He studied radio and television production at the Pasadena City College, after which he pursued a career in music.
Dorn is an accomplished pilot and owns and operates an old Air Force T-33 trainer jet, one of the first jet aircraft in the US inventory; it is often referred to as his "starship." He also owns an old F-86 Sabre jet that he acquired from the South African Air Force. He has flown with the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds, the USAF Precision Flight team.
Star Trek and Worf
Michael Dorn was aware of Star Trek: The Original Series during his childhood. "I liked the show when I was growing up," he recalled. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 143) Dorn also said of the original series' regular cast, "I grew up with those guys." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 9, p. 19)
On his audition for Worf, Dorn commented, "I did not wear makeup, but I took on the psychological guise of a Klingon. I walked into Paramount in character. No jokes. No laughing with the other actors. I sat by myself waiting for my interview. When my turn came, I walked in, didn't smile, did the reading, thanked them, and walked right out." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion) Dorn was the last of the main actors who was cast. (TNG Season 1 DVD special feature "Selected Crew Analysis"-"Casting")
From his first appearance in TNG's pilot episode, "Encounter at Farpoint", to his latest in Star Trek Nemesis, Dorn has appeared more times as a regular cast member than any other actor of the Star Trek franchise, spanning five movies and 272 television episodes. Dorn has also directed three episodes of DS9 and the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Two Days and Two Nights".
Between the fourth and fifth seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Dorn played Colonel Worf in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Although the relationship was not stated on screen, the filmmakers' intention was that the Star Trek VI character was the grandfather of the Next Generation character. (Star Trek Encyclopedia, )
In addition, Dorn has portrayed or voiced Worf in no less than six Star Trek video games: A Final Unity, the Generations game, Armada, Invasion, The Fallen, and Away Team. He also had voice-over roles in Star Trek: Klingon and Star Trek: Klingon Academy, though he played different characters in those games.
Dorn has even played Worf a few times outside of Star Trek, for comic effect. In 1989, he appeared as Worf in the final episode of the television series Webster, entitled "Webtrek," in which Webster's Star Trek video game transports him to the USS Enterprise-D. Dorn and his TNG castmates (sans Patrick Stewart and Wil Wheaton) also took part in a skit for the HBO special Comic Relief VI, which was co-hosted by recurring TNG guest star Whoopi Goldberg. Most recently, Dorn voiced Worf in an episode of Seth MacFarlane's animated series Family Guy, entitled "Peter's Got Woods".
During the run of TNG, Dorn was a member of The Sunspots, along with co-stars Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, and LeVar Burton. They appeared as background vocalists for "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" on Brent Spiner's 1991 album "Ol' Yellow Eyes is Back".
Early acting career
Dorn began acting in the late 1970s, playing bit parts in the Academy Award-winning sports drama Rocky (appearing as a body guard of fighter Apollo Creed) and the science fiction horror/thriller Demon Seed (which starred Gerrit Graham and Fritz Weaver). After making appearances on such television series as The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1977 on which he also worked as stand-in and the short-lived W.E.B. in 1978, Dorn landed the recurring role of Officer Jebediah Turner on the series CHiPs. He played the role from 1979 through 1982, working with series regular (and fellow Trek alum) Robert Pine, who played his boss, Sgt. Joe Getraer.
After leaving CHiPs, Dorn made guest appearances on such series as Hotel (with Alan Oppenheimer), Gimme a Break! (on which John Hoyt was a regular), and Falcon Crest (with Brett Cullen and Salome Jens and directed by Reza Badiyi). He also briefly had a role on the soap opera Capitol, on which he became the second actor to play Senator Ed Lawrence, taking over the role from Star Trek: The Original Series guest actor Don Marshall.
In addition, Dorn co-starred with Clarence Williams III in the 1984 ABC Afterschool Special "The Hero Who Couldn't Read." He also had a supporting role in the 1985 film Jagged Edge, along with Bruce French and Leigh Taylor-Young. He then played the role of Jimmy on the soap opera Days of Our Lives from 1986 through 1987, after which he won the role of Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Post-TNG acting career
After TNG and Generations but before joining the cast of DS9, Dorn played the "Chairman" in the 1995 science fiction adventure Timemaster, in which he worked alongside his "Sub Rosa" co-star Duncan Regehr. He then appeared in the Showtime Networks science fiction thriller Menno's Mind, playing the best friend and co-worker of the title character, played by TNG guest actor Bill Campbell. TNG guest star Corbin Bernsen and Star Trek: Voyager regular Robert Picardo also starred in this movie.
Following the end of DS9, Dorn had supporting roles in a number of independent feature films, including Shadow Hours (2000, co-starring Brad Dourif and Peter Weller), Lessons for an Assassin (2001, with John Billingsley), and The Gristle (2001, with Richard Riehle). He also guest-starred on such television series as The Pretender (with James Black), Martial Law (with Andrew Robinson), and 7th Heaven (starring Stephen Collins and Catherine Hicks, in an episode with Graham Jarvis and Michelle Phillips).
Dorn was featured as a pilot in Ali, Michael Mann's 2001 biographical film on boxing legend Muhammad Ali. Incidentally, Dorn's TNG castmate LeVar Burton also appeared in this film, portraying Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Brad Greenquist, Albert Hall, Bruce McGill, William Utay, and Wade Williams had roles in this film, as well.
Dorn and his TNG co-star Marina Sirtis have acted together several times outside of Star Trek. They both worked on an unsuccessful, independently-produced TV pilot called Through the Fire. They later reunited as co-stars in the 2005 film Lesser of Three Evils, working alongside Brian Thompson. Most recently, they co-starred together in the 2007 film The Deep Below.
Dorn played the Sandman in Disney's 2002 family comedy/fantasy film The Santa Clause 2 and reprised the role for the 2006 sequel, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. After completing his work on Star Trek Nemesis, Dorn and fellow Trek alum Charles Rocket appeared as poker players in the 2003 crime/thriller film Shade.
In the 2006 science fiction/action movie A.I. Assault, Dorn worked alongside several other Star Trek alumni, including Lisa LoCicero, Bill Mumy, the aforementioned Robert Picardo, and George Takei. Dorn's other recent feature film credits have included Heart of the Beholder (2005, with Tony Todd), Fallen Angels (2006, with Michael Berryman, Joel Polis, and Daniel Zacapa), and Night Skies (2007).
Dorn's recent television appearances include a 2002 episode of The Guardian (which starred Raphael Sbarge) and a 2007 episode of Without a Trace (starring Enrique Murciano), both series belonging to CBS. He was also seen on the NBC series Heroes, making a cameo appearance as the President of the United States in the third season episode "Chapter Thirteen: 'Dual'". This episode also featured Zachary Quinto, Cristine Rose, and George Takei.
Dorn has supplied his distinct, baritone voice to many animated cartoons and video games since the early 1990s. Perhaps his most famous voice-over role is that of I.M. Weasel on the Cartoon Network shows Cow and Chicken and I Am Weasel.
Dorn is one of the many Star Trek performers to lend his voice to the popular Disney series Gargoyles. In fact, the majority of TNG's regular cast did voice work on this show, with Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis voicing two of the show's central characters. Dorn himself voiced two characters: Coldstone and Taurus. Other Trek veterans who have been heard on Gargoyles include Brent Spiner, Avery Brooks, Clancy Brown, Matt Frewer, Colm Meaney, Kate Mulgrew, Nichelle Nichols, John Rhys-Davies, Salli Elise Richardson, W. Morgan Sheppard, David Warner, Frank Welker, and Paul Winfield.
The many other shows which have featured the voice of Michael Dorn include Dinosaurs, Animaniacs, Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron, Biker Mice from Mars, Aaaah!!! Real Monsters, Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys, Danny Phantom, Disney's Hercules, and Ben 10. He also voiced the DC Comics supervillain Kalibak on the animated series Superman and Justice League, and also the superhero Steel on the former, appearing in episodes opposite Clancy Brown and Malcolm McDowell. More recently, he was voicing Martian Centurion Robots on the Cartoon Network series Duck Dodgers. He also voiced King Tor in the 2005 CG-animated film Thru the Moebius Strip; TNG guest actors Daniel Davis and Jean Simmons lent their voices to this movie, as well. He recently provided the voice of Kru'll and Bane on Batman: The Brave and the Bold (on which Diedrich Bader provides the voice of Batman). In addition, he and Armin Shimerman provided voices in the direct-to-DVD release of Bionicle: The Legend Reborn, a movie based on the popular Bionicle line of Lego figures, as the characters Mata Nui and Raanu respectively. In 2009, Dorn guest starred as himself on Family Guy in the episode "Not All Dogs Go To Heaven", where Stewie Griffin uses a transporter to spend a day with Dorn and fellow TNG cast members Patrick Stewart, Marina Sirtis, Gates McFadden, LeVar Burton, Wil Wheaton, Denise Crosby, Jonathan Frakes, and Brent Spiner. Fittingly, he plays Guardship Commander Dorn in strange frame: Love & Sax
Dorn's voice can be heard in many video games, as well. These include Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, Fallout 2 (narrated by Ron Perlman and also featuring the voice of Dwight Schultz), Forgotten Realms: Baldur's Gate II - Shadows of Amn (with Alan Oppenheimer, James Horan, and David Warner), Emperor: Battle for Dune (with Michael Bell, Hamilton Camp, Kay E. Kuter, Vincent Schiavelli, Michael Bailey Smith, Musetta Vander, and Nicholas Worth), Stellar-Fire, Stellar 7: Draxon's Revenge and the ever-popular World of Warcraft. More recently, he was heard as the voice of Maero in Saints Row 2, which also features the voice of Daniel Dae Kim, and as Gatatog Uvenk in Mass Effect 2 (with S.A. Templeman). He voiced Tassadar in "StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty" which also featured Armin Shimerman. In October 2010, he reprized the role of Marcus the Super Mutant in Fallout: New Vegas, appearing this time with Rene Auberjonois, who voiced the major character Mr. House.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994)
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1995-1999)
- (seasons 4-7 except "Rocks and Shoals", "The Magnificent Ferengi", "Chrysalis", and "Prodigal Daughter")
Playing Colonel Worf
Star Trek interviews
- TNG Season 1 DVD special feature "The Beginning"
- TNG Season 1 DVD special feature "Selected Crew Analysis" ("Casting", "Character Notes", "Camaraderie")
- TNG Season 1 DVD special feature "The Making of a Legend" ("Make-Up")
- TNG Season 2 DVD special feature "Departmental Briefing Year Two: Memorable Missions" ("The Icarus Factor"), interviewed in February 1989
- TNG Season 5 DVD special feature "Alien Speak" ("The Klingon Linguist"), interviewed on 23 March 1994
- TNG Season 5 DVD special feature "A Tribute to Gene Roddenberry" ("Gene's Final Voyage")
- TNG Season 7 DVD special feature "Starfleet Moments & Memories Year Seven", interviewed on 23 August 1991 and 23 March 1994
- TNG Season 7 DVD special feature "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine DVD Preview"
- TNG Season 1 Blu-ray special feature "Stardate Revisited"
- To Boldly Go
- "Michael Dorn - Lt. Worf", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 1, p. 20, interviewed by Marc Shapiro
- "Michael Dorn - Lieutenant Worf", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 4, pp. 18-22, interviewed by Dennis Fischer
- "Michael Dorn - Lt. Worf", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 7, pp. 15-20, interviewed by Edward Gross
- "Aspects of Worf", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 12, p. 24, interviewed by David McDonnell
- "Michael Dorn", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 15, pp. 46-48, interviewed by Wanda Hall
- Time Blender
|Star Trek: The Next Generation regular cast|
|LeVar Burton • Denise Crosby • Michael Dorn • Jonathan Frakes • Gates McFadden • Marina Sirtis • Brent Spiner • Patrick Stewart • Wil Wheaton|
|Star Trek: Deep Space Nine regular cast|
|Rene Auberjonois • Avery Brooks • Nicole de Boer • Michael Dorn • Terry Farrell • Cirroc Lofton • Colm Meaney • Armin Shimerman • Alexander Siddig • Nana Visitor|