Monday, August 19, 2013

Happy Birthday to Diana Muldaur!

All fans of television will join us in offering a big Happy Birthday today to the lovely and talented Diana Muldaur, one of the most accomplished actresses ever in the medium, with a long career on the small screen beginning in the mid-1960s.  After a successful stage career on the East Coast, Diana began getting roles on TV and eventually moved out to Hollywood where she became one of the most sought-after actresses for series work in everything from soap operas to medical dramas to westerns to science fiction and everything in-between.

Just a short listing of her credits is astounding and encompasses many of the classic skeins that define TV history: Dr. Kildare, Gunsmoke, Run for Your Life, The Invaders, Bonanza, The Virginian, Mod Squad, Ironside, Hawaii Five-O, Medical Center, Mannix and so many more.  Her regular role on McCloud as the girlfriend of Dennis Weaver's title character is one of the highlights of her early TV career.

Star Trek aficionados particularly value her two guests appearances on Star Trek: The Original Series.  In Season 2 Muldaur played in "Return to Tomorrow" as Dr. Ann Mulhall, a scientist whose body is appropriated, along with those of Kirk and Spock, to house the minds of a trio of aliens who are trying to create new forms for themselves after being incorporeal for eons.  Despite the best intentions the plans go awry, but not before some terrific moments between Mulhall and both Spock and Kirk. In ST:TOS's year year, its last, in the episode "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" she played the mysterious Dr. Miranda Jones, an empath assigned to accompany the Medusan ambassador, an energy creature kept inside a box because to gaze upon him causes instant madness.  A mind meld gone astray leaves Spock exposed to the Medusan and facing permanent insanity, and Muldaur's serene intelligence and grace carry her portrayal to something very special.

Diana Muldaur returned to Star Trek with her role in the 2nd season of Star Trek: The Next Generation where he played the ship's medical officer Dr. Pulaski, but only for that one year of the long-running series.  In addition to more appearances on various comedies and dramas of the late 1980s, Muldaur starred as notoriously harsh lawyer Rosalind Shays on the acclaimed L.A. Law which earned her an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 1990.  Muldaur also served as President of The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences during the 1980s.  (Diana also had several big screen roles such as in The Other and McQ with John Wayne, but she is most known for her TV work.)

If you're wondering why you haven't seen her onscreen lately, she and her late husband producer Robert Dozier retired to Martha's Vineyard in the mid-1990s.  She has been sorely missed.

Please visit the excellent tribute website Diana Muldaur World which has a treasure trove of articles, photos, complete biographical material and many other terrific features honoring this amazing actress.  You will also enjoy visiting The Starting Over Airedale Rescue Site which features longtime Airedale fancier Diana in a key fundraising outreach.  Diana has a two-part interview on the Archive of American Television site, and you can check out her Star Trek credentials on the Memory Alpha website.  You'll also enjoy this page of animated photos of Diana in her various Star Trek appearances at this Tumblr website.

A very Happy Birthday today to Diana Muldaur, one of the brightest lights who ever lit up our TV screens!


Theda said...


Eva Alfhild Jonsson said...

Diana is the best! Thanks for mentioning my site !

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