Thursday, September 19, 2013

Casting Ideas for Star Trek's First Pilot

Gene Roddenberry and Peter Duryea on the set of 'The Menagerie' (1964)
The casting process on Star Trek's first pilot -- 'The Menagerie' -- took several weeks, with at least a dozen inter-office memos circulating hundreds of potential names for the regular and guest cast of the episode. In this post, I have reproduced just one of those memos and hyperlinked all but one of the names to their respective IMDB pages (the identity of an actress named Jennifer Stuart, considered for the role of Yeoman Colt, eludes me). The names in bold indicate people who eventually did work on Star Trek in some capacity over the course of the show's three seasons. Many more names than that on the list eventually appeared on Mission: Impossible or Mannix, the two other dramas made by Desilu during this period. Astute readers will notice that many of the names in the memo are misspelled. Those mistakes are straight from Roddenberry's original.

To: Kerwin Coughlin
From: Gene Roddenberry
CC: Herb Solow
Date: October 14, 1964

Here are some of the names which have been considered or suggested by anyone for the various STAR TREK roles:

ROBERT APRIL: Paul Mantee, Tom Tryon, Robert Webber, Robert Wright, Rod Taylore, Jack Lord, Richard Egan, James Coburn, Leslie Nielson, Robert Horton, Earl Holliman, Robert Loggia, James Donald, Sterling Hayden, Larry Blyden, Steve Forrest, Jason Evers, John Russell, Patrick O’Neal, Liam Sullivan, Jeff Hunter, Howard Duff, Mike Forrest, Warren Stevens, Skip Hemier, Rhodes Reason.

MISTER SPOCK: Leonard Nimoy, Rex Holman, DeForest Kelly, Michael Dunn.

JOSE TYLER: Joby Baker, Marc Cavell, Victor Arnold, Robert Brown, Joe Bova, Ross Martin, Richard Jaeckel, Bruce Dern.

DOCTOR BOYCE: Martin Gabel, Paul Stewart, Edward Binns, Jim Gergory.

NUMBER ONE: Magel Barrett, Lee Meriweather, Jeanne Bal, Sarah Shane.

COLT: Jennifer Stuart, Shary Marshall, Joyce Meadows, Jill Ireland, Audrey Dalton, Fay Spain, Joan Huntington.

Image courtesy of Trek Core.


The Gene Roddenberry Star Trek Television Series Collection (1964-1969)


  1. What, no Martin Landau for Spock? I hope someone tells him. :-)

    1. Yes.... Martin Landau was considered for the role of Spock.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. You call your webpage "Star Trek Fact Check", yet you don't know that the above picture is from the set of the pilot episode "The Cage"?

    "The Menagerie" was a two part episode that merely used clips from the pilot episode.

    1. Always good to fact check the fact checkers, but I've already replied to this elsewhere. In case you missed it...

      "The Cage" was an early title. By the time principal photography began, however, the title had been changed to "The Menagerie," and that title stuck. It wasn't reverted to "The Cage" until the eighties for broadcast and home video as a way of differentiating the first pilot from the two-parter of the same name (though certain earlier sources, like David Gerrold's The World of Star Trek from 1973, use "The Cage" as its title). For this blog, I have (perhaps stubbornly) elected to use the title of the first pilot used internally during the production of the first Star Trek television series. Thanks for reading.

  4. James Donald? Even then he was considering an English captain!