Actor, author and accomplished director, Jonathan Frakes is a man of many hats. Perhaps best known to Star Trek fans as Commander William T. Riker on seven season and three motion pictures in the Star Trek: The Next Generation franchise, Frakes has carved out a distinctive niche for himself as a versatile talent in Hollywood.
Unbeknownst to most, Jonathan Frakes career in entertainment began in costume, dressed as Marvel’s Captain America and making appearances at some of the earliest comic book conventions in the 1970s. From there, Frakes moved onto New York to be a part of the Impossible Ragtime Theater company, making his first Broadway appearance in the play Shenandoah.
Moving onto television shortly thereafter, Frakes landed a role in the NBC soap opera The Doctors. Following his appearance on the daytime television series, Frakes guest starred on some of the most popular series of the 1970s and 1980s, such as The Waltons, Eight is Enough, The Dukes of Hazzard, Matlock and Hill Street Blues.
Following these guest appearances, Frakes landed the role of Commander Riker on the long running television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation. As second in command to Patrick Stewart’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Frakes’ portrayal of William Riker lead the Starship Enterprise through seven seasons and three films. His characterization endeared Riker to fans young and old, making him one of the most beloved characters in the Trek pantheon.
In addition to live action, Jonathan Frakes has also lent his voice to animated projects, including the cult favorite Disney animated series Gargoyles as the character David Xanatos and Adventure Time. Frakes’ also landed appearances in Matt Groening’s Futurama and Seth McFarlane’s Family Guy, playing versions of himself on each series.
Jonathan Frakes holds a unique distinction among Star Trek actors being one of only two regulars to appear on four different television series, from Star Trek: The Next Generation to Star Trek Enterprise. Beyond acting, Frakes is also a veteran director, having helmed several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the feature films Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection. Jonathan Frakes is currently filming a role in the upcoming project Devil’s Gate, due for release later this year.