(written from a Production point of view)
Michelle Krusiec (Chinese: 楊雅慧, Pinyin: Yáng Yǎhuì [Yang Ya-Huei]) (born 2 October 1974; age 41) is the Taiwanese-American actress who played Molly O'Brien as an eighteen-year-old in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Time's Orphan". In actuality, Krusiec was 24 years old when she filmed this part.
Krusiec was a Star Trek fan from an early age - her parents, "especially [her] father, are Star Trek buffs" - and was particularly excited to work on the series. One of the questions asked at her audition was whether Krusiec could perform cartwheels, as the casting directors were looking for an actress who could play a very physical role. (Michelle's Moment, Star Trek Monthly, issue 47)
Early life and career
Krusiec was born in Fallon, Nevada, the daughter of Taiwanese parents, and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia, by her Taiwanese aunt and American uncle. Her acting career began at the age of twelve when she was approached by a talent scout at her uncle's restaurant, who told her she should pursue it. She was subsequently awarded a place at the Virginia Governors' Magnet School of the Arts. She later graduated from Virginia Tech University with a degree in Theatre and English and completed additional studies at Oxford University in England.
She made her television acting debut at the age of eighteen when she cast in the CBS Schoolbreak Special, Sexual Considerations, alongside fellow DS9 guest star Bernie Casey. In 1995, director Oliver Stone (whom she reportedly "accosted" on stage at Virginia Tech) cast Krusiec in her first film, the 1995 biographical drama Nixon. Star Trek: Voyager regular Robert Beltran also appeared in this film, as did Bill Bolender, Richard Fancy, Tony Plana, Saul Rubinek, and Paul Sorvino.
Upon graduation, Krusiec visited over 50 destinations around the world as a host on The Discovery Channel series, Travelers. Shortly after her role on DS9, she landed the starring role of Sui Blake on the comedy series One World, which ran on NBC from 1998 through 2001. During this time, she made a guest appearance on NBC's drama series Providence (with Richard Riehle, Tony Papenfuss, and series regular Concetta Tomei) and recurred on the WB series Popular.
Between 2000 and 2002, Krusiec had a recurring role on the FOX Network comedy series Titus, which included one episode with Voyager guest star Kim Rhodes, another with Jacqueline Schultz and Tucker Smallwood, and a third with John Schuck. In between, Krusiec appeared on the UPN series Special Unit 2 and recurred on the HBO series, The Mind of the Married Man. She then guest-starred on the popular television series ER (with Michelle Bonilla, Kay E. Kuter, Robert Mandan, and Tzi Ma), Without a Trace (starring Enrique Murciano), and Monk (with Adam Clark, Stanley Kamel and Matt Winston).
In a 2004 episode of the Lifetime drama Strong Medicine, which was developed by Whoopi Goldberg, Krusiec played the daughter of a couple portrayed by Star Trek alumni Irene Tsu and Keone Young. Trek veteran Larry Cedar also appeared in this episode. She then made a return visit to the CBS series Without a Trace, in a 2005 episode with Rosemary Forsyth. That same year, she made guest appearances on Showtime's Weeds (working with Andy Milder and Jeffrey Dean Morgan), ABC's Grey's Anatomy, and CBS' NCIS (with Matthew Kaminsky, Eric Steinberg, and Sonny Surowiec).
In 2006, Enterprise director David Straiton cast Krusiec in an episode of the FOX series Standoff, along with Gregory Barnett, Tim Kelleher, and Tom Wright. Most recently, Krusiec played the recurring role of Mei Ling Hwa Darling on the ABC series Dirty Sexy Money, working with Zoe McLellan and, for one episode, director Michael Grossman.
She recently guest-starred on CSI: NY.
TNG guest star and Star Trek Generations actor John Putch cast and directed Krusiec in his romantic comedy film Pursuit of Happiness. Star Trek alumni David Cowgill, Kieran Mulroney, Liz Vassey, Cress Williams, Tom Wright, and Jeff Yagher performed in this film, as well. In 2000, Krusiec filmed a supporting role in the romantic comedy Pumpkin, which starred Star Trek: Enterprise guest actor Hank Harris in the title role. This film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2002.
Krusiec has a supporting role in the hit 2002 comedy Sweet Home Alabama, which features an uncredited performance by Andrew Prine. In 2003, she appeared in three major comedies: Daddy Day Care (starring Eddie Murphy and co-starring Jimmy Bennett and Wallace Langham), Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (starring Rachel Nichols), and Duplex (with Jenette Goldstein, Wallace Shawn, and Tracey Walter).
Krusiec landed her first starring role in the 2004 romantic comedy, Saving Face. Krusiec's performance in this film gave her recognition and acclaim and garnered her a nomination as Best Actress from the Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards, the Chinese equivalent of the Academy Awards.
Her subsequent film credits have included Cursed (2005, with Derek Mears), Live! (2007, with Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Tom Wright), and Henry Poole Is Here (2008, with Molly Hagan). She most recently had a supporting role in the hit 2008 comedy, What Happens in Vegas..., featuring cinematography by Matthew F. Leonetti.
In 2002, Krusiec premiered her one-woman stage show, Made in Taiwan, at the Aspen Comedy Festival. In 2007, the show made its off-Broadway debut at the first annual Asian American Theater festival.
Nearly a decade after they worked together on DS9, Krusiec reunited with her on-screen mother, Rosalind Chao, when they performed in the acclaimed, award-winning documentary, Nanking. This film screened at various film festivals around the world before opening in limited release in the United States in December 2007.