01-30 Happy birthday to Daphne Ashbrook, Born: January 30, 1963.
Daphne Lee Ashbrook is the actor who played Melora Pazlar in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Melora”. She is perhaps better known as the Eighth Doctor’s companion Dr. Grace Holloway in the 1996 television film Doctor Who. She prepared for the role of Melora Pazlar by taking a wheelchair to a local shopping mall. Commenting on the experience, she said, “Everything’s an obstacle and also nobody looks at you. I think because people are uncomfortable and they don’t know what to do.”
Ashbrook is one of the few actors to have speaking roles in both the Star Trek and Doctor Who franchises, appearing the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie. Until 2011, she was the only woman to do so.
Prior to Deep Space Nine, Ashbrook had guest roles in the television series Knight Rider, Fame, The A Team (with Dwight Schultz), and Murder, She Wrote. After playing Melora, she appeared in two episodes of Sisters and one episode of Diagnosis Murder. She also portrayed different characters in two further episodes of Murder, She Wrote, with Casey Biggs, John Rhys-Davies and Rosalind Chao. Between 1995 and 1998, Ashbrook had a recurring role as Annie Pendry on the long running series JAG, appearing alongside Norman Large, Steven Culp, Paul Collins and Gregory Itzin. She later starred in Profiler, Cupid and Judging Amy, before gaining the recurring role of Dawn Atwood in The OC (working with Melinda Clarke and again, Rosalind Chao). In 2005, Ashbrook starred in Crossing Jordan and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (with Jessica Collins), before going on to appear in Cold Case, Ghost Whisperer and Without a Trace. Her most recent television appearances are that of Jodi Morris in the 2010 Law & Order: Los Angeles episode “Playa Vista”, and Donna Peyton in the NCIS episode “Out of the Frying Pan…”
Ashbrook has also appeared in numerous television movies including Brothers-in-Law (1985), That Secret Sunday (1986), Carly’s Web (1987) and 14 Going on 30 (1988, with Richard McGonagle and Judith Jones), before going onto appear alongside future Deep Space Nine actors Rene Auberjonois and Andrew Robinson in the movies Longarm (1988) and Rock Hudson (1990) respecively. She later starred in Daughters of Privilege (1991, with Kate Vernon), Intruders (1992, again with Rosalind Chao), Dead Man’s Revenge (1994) and The Love Letter (1998).
Asbrook’s big screen debut came in 1984, when she was cast as Phoebe Willis in the cheerleading comedy film Gimme an ‘F’. Since then, she has starred in the movies Quiet Cool (1986), Sunset Heat (1992, with Tony Todd), Automatic (1995), Dumbarton Bridge (1999) and Delia’s Song (2000). Her latest film role, albeit a minor one, was in the 2009 movie The Lodger.
Aside from her acting career, Ashbrook also enjoys singing, citing “music runs thru the viens [sic] of my family like theatre does.” In November 2010, she released her first album entitled Grace Notes, featuring covers of her favorite songs by Joni Mitchell, Shawn Colvin and Patty Griffin, among others. The album was produced by her long-time partner and musician, David Vito Gregoli.
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