Happy 61st birthday to Kate Mulgrew, best known to Star Trek fans for her role as “Captain Kathryn Janeway” on Star Trek: Voyager.
From 1995 to 2001, the Iowa-native portrayed the tough, confident captain of the U.S.S. Voyager as the crew made their decades-long trip home to Earth. Janeway was the first women captain (in a leading capacity) in Star Trek history, a role that garnered Mulgrew much praise from fans and critics alike. She earned numerous accolades, including multiple Saturn Award nominations and a Satellite Award for Best Actress in a drama.
Voyager is only a small part of her career, though, as Mulgrew has been in countless films, television shows, and theatre performances. She first gained fame for her role as “Mary Fenelli” in the daytime soap opera Ryan’s Hope, appearing on the show from 1975-1978. She first acted on stage in 1975 in Our Town at the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, Connecticut, and her acting acumen brought her to Seattle, Syracuse, New York, Los Angeles, and New York City stages.
Most recently, fans have adored her performance as the Russian cook “Galina ‘Red’ Reznikov” on Netflix’s original show Orange is the New Black. Similarly tough-as-nails, but otherwise a far cry from Janeway, Mulgrew nonetheless cemented herself in the role, as she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy in 2014 and won the Critics’ Choice Television Award the same year, as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award in 2016. Season 4 of Orange is the New Black is set to premiere on June 17.
Her extensive filmography also includes voice work. Video gamers might recognize her voice as “Flemeth” from the Dragon Age series, or from four Star Trek games from the late 1990s to mid-2000s, where each time she reprised her role as Janeway. Her Star Trek involvement stretches beyond this, though, as she appeared in William Shatner’s documentary The Captains, where Shatner interviewed every Star Trek captain about their role and what led them there. Mulgrew also appears regularly at Star Trek conventions worldwide, and she is scheduled to appear at this year’s Las Vegas convention in August.
Venturing outside acting, in 2015 Mulgrew wrote a memoir, Born with Teeth. The book artfully offers a soulful look into the deepest and darkest parts of her life, including her “unconventional” upbringing by Irish Catholics, and when an 18-year-old Mulgrew gave her daughter up for adoption. She pulls no punches when talking about the traumatic parts of her life, but the memoir still manages to pull the reader in with laughs and an engaging narrative voice. You can order the book here.
Kate Mulgrew is an excellent example of someone who just can’t slow down, and we look forward to seeing her on and off-screen for many years to come!