Ethan Phillips is an actor and author famous for such roles as Neelix on “Star Trek” and Pete Downey on “Benson.” He is also known for his love of rock climbing and gardening.

Born on February 8, 1955, Ethan Phillips spent his time living in near his parents’ house in Garden City on Long Island in New York. As a child, the Roman Catholic way of life was paramount to his lifestyle. With devout parents, his family grew significantly during his life until he was the only boy in a completely female-dominated house.

During his formative years, Phillips had an obsession with the arts. Many people told him that a career in the arts would leave him penniless. Despite this, Phillips chose to pursue his dreams and attained a bachelor’s degree in English literature at Boston University. No to be outdone by competition, he then received his MFA from Cornell University.

Following college, Ethan Phillips began to perform in a variety of plays, both on and off Broadway such as “Measure for Measure,” Modigliani,” “My Favorite Year” and “Lips Together, Teeth Apart.”. He found himself highly successful at a variety of show business performances, even utilizing his advanced techniques to write a play called “Penguin Blues.” Phillips brought this play all across the United States and Canada.

In 1980, Phillips broke into the field of television. His first foray into the genre involved him joining a fellow member of Star Trek alumni, Rene Auberjonois on “Benson.” He portrayed the character of Pete Downey for a number of years before leaving in 1985 to pursue a career in film. Phillips appeared in films such as “Burglar,” “Critters” and “Lean on Me” before landing a role in “Glory,” the Oscar-winning picture from 1989. This was followed by performances in “The Shadow” and “Wagons East.”

During this time, he took the opportunity to continue performing cameo appearances in the medium that established his fame. Shows like “Murphy Brown,” “Chicago Hope,” “LA Law,” “Law and Order” and “NYPD Blue” all supported at least one guest appearance by the actor.

In 1990, Phillips career took a new step with two different opportunities. The Sundance Playwrights Conference invited him to take part in a meeting assembled by Robert Redford. He would continue as an acting member over the next decade.

He also made his first appearance on “Star Trek.” He portrayed the character of Dr. Farek, a Ferengi kidnapper, in an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” This is the role that landed Ethan Phillips the acting job that would change his life – the role of Neelix on “Star Trek: Voyager.”

The series lasted for seven years, with Phillips reprising his role each season. Throughout the series, his character was the focus of a long-term love affair, a best friend to a Vulcan and a comical chef. The character so impacted the actor that he reprised his role in book format with “The Star Trek Cookbook.” He put together a number of recipes, not only from his show, but from the entire mythos of the series.

Phillips continued his career, working in minor roles and voice-over work for video games. He also appeared in an Internet-based fan film called “Of Gods and Men.” A show that showcased a number of the original “Star Trek” characters involved in a plot to conquer the universe.

As of 2009, Ethan Phillips lives with his wife, Patricia, in their Los Angeles home.

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