Joanne Linville (1929 – 2021) & Leonard Nimoy (1931 – 2015) in 1968 {image via Paramount}

American actress Joanne Linville has died at the age of 93. She was best known for playing the Romulan commander who was tempted by Spock in the classic 1968 episode, “The Enterprise Incident” of Star Trek: The Original Series.

Joanne Linville and Leonard Nimoy in ‘Star Trek’ (1968) {image via Paramount}, and undated family photo

Beverly Joanne Linville was born January 15, 1928 in Bakersfield, California. She was an actress and dancer. She was a frequent guest star on various TV shows, but her most famous role was as the Romulan commander in the original Star Trek series episode “The Enterprise Incident,” the woman from whom Kirk and Spock stole the Romulan cloaking device.

“The Enterprise Incident” was loosely inspired by the Pueblo incident during the Vietnam war. Unlike the Pueblo, which crossed accidentally into enemy waters, the Enterprise quite deliberately crossed the Romulan Neutral Zone to steal Romulan military technology.

Linville did also appear in a handful of movies, but was primarily a television actress.

An Actor’s Actor

Linville was no stranger to the stage. In 1961 she portrayed Valeria in the Broadway production of Daughter of Silence. In addition to acting herself, she taught and wrote about acting. She wrote Joanne Linville’s Seven Steps to an Acting Craft, which was published in 2011. She co-founded the Stella Adler Academy in Los Angeles, CA in 1985 with German-American actress Irene Gilbert. The acting school was named for Linville’s own friend and mentor, Stella Adler, a noted Broadway actress from the 1920s until the 1950s.

For eleven years, Linville was married to director Mark Rydell (On Golden Pond) from 1962 to 1973. They had two children, Amy and Christopher Rydell.

Linville appeared in the Twilight Zone episode “The Passersby,” as Lavinia Godwin, a Civil War widow. She appeared in two episodes of The Invaders and two episodes of One Step Beyond.

Linville’s career stretched from 1950 to 2016. Her movies included The Goddess (1958), Scorpio (1973), Gable and Lombard (1976), A Star Is Born (1976), The Seduction (1982), and James Dean (2001).

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Amy Rydell is an actor herself, and looks so much like her mother at the same age that she was cast in Star Trek Continues episode 10, “To Boldly Go”. The resemblance is uncanny.

Joanne Linville is survived by her children Amy and Mark and her grandchildren Austen, Ruby, and Ginger and her great-grandson Kingston. Her great-grandson is the grandson of Carrie Fisher. Linville died Sunday, June 20, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. A cause of death has not been announced yet, but at 93, we may safely assume it was old age. Condolences to her family. We grieve with thee.

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Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.