02-08 Happy birthday to Ethan Phillips, Born: February 8, 1955.
He began his on-screen acting career playing Pete John Downey on the hit television series Benson. Although the series began airing in 1979, Phillips did not join the series until the following year.
Phillips made his feature film debut with a small role in the acclaimed 1981 drama Ragtime.
After leaving Benson, Phillips began to make a major transition towards films. He had a supporting role in the popular 1986 horror movie Critters and the following year, he appeared in the comedy Burglar. He appeared in three films in 1989: the highly-acclaimed Lean on Me, the romantic comedy Bloodhounds of Broadway, and the Oscar-winning historical war drama Glory.
Phillips continued to appear on television, however. In 1987, he co-starred in the pilot episode of the short-lived series Werewolf. He also appeared on a number of other TV shows throughout the late 1980s, including an episode of The Twilight Zone.
He played an agent with the department of immigration in the 1990 romantic comedy film Green Card. In 1993, he co-starred in Mel Gibson’s The Man Without a Face, which was followed by an appearance in the 1994 film The Shadow.
Phillips had a supporting role in the 1994 Western comedy Wagons East.
Among the television projects Phillips worked on before joining the cast of Voyager were the TV movie Condition: Critical, and guest appearances on such shows as L.A. Law, Law & Order, NYPD Blue and The Good Guys.
Ethan Phillips is the actor best known to Star Trek fans for playing the part of Neelix through all seven seasons of Star Trek: Voyager. He also played two different Ferengi characters, one on Star Trek: The Next Generation and another on Star Trek: Enterprise, and made an uncredited cameo as a holographic mâitre d’ in the 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact.
Following Star Trek: Voyager’s end in 2001, Phillips again began making frequent television guest appearances. Among the shows he appeared on were Providence, Touched by an Angel, JAG, and Las Vegas. He also appeared in an unsold pilot entitled The Danny Comden Project, directed by Robert Duncan McNeill. In October 2006, Phillips made three guest appearances on Boston Legal.
More recently, Phillips has guest-starred on such series as Eli Stone, Bones, Bryan Fuller’s acclaimed Pushing Daisies and Chuck (which Robert Duncan McNeill produced).
Phillips played the title character of the 2003 short film Living in Walter’s World. Phillips played the role of “Mr. Gorn” in the short Roddenberry on Patrol. This short film, directed by and co-starring Phillips’ fellow Voyager actor Tim Russ (Tuvok), offers a comedic look at how Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek and also featured Robert Beltran, Richard Herd, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Robert O’Reilly, Robert Picardo, and George Takei. In 2008, Phillips was again directed by Tim Russ for the independent comedy A Night at the Silent Movie Theater, which also stars Tony Todd. He also appeared in Star Trek: Of Gods and Men, again directed by and co-starring Tim Russ, which also featured Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Alan Ruck, J. G. Hertzler, Chase Masterson, and Gary Graham.
In addition, Phillips’ voice can be heard on the Nickelodeon films The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002) and Rugrats Go Wild! (2003). He has lent his voice to a number of Star Wars video games, as well. Phillips also continues to make occasional appearances in films, such as the 2003 black comedy Bad Santa and the 2005 science fiction epic The Island. He recently completed filming an independent drama with Michael Pataki called Trim.
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