Sad to report that today, another star has fallen from the Trek Galaxy. The amazing Joanne Linville peacefully passed away on Sunday, June 20 in California. She was 93.
Although she had many acting roles, she was cherished as the first female Romulan Commander ever seen in the Trek universe, in the classic The Enterprise Incident. From the first time I ever saw that episode, The Romulan Commander became one of my most favorite characters in TOS. Her coolness and manner even rivaled Spock; the object and ultimate betrayer of her affections.
The Enterprise Incident itself was not a perfect episode, but definitely one of the better highlights of the weaker final season. Joanne’s character was a strong, cool, and (naturally) commanding character, and she flew with it. I loved her from the moment she scoffs at Kirk when he says he is honored to meet her. She sealed her character’s personality in that quick moment; the Romulan Commander takes no crap from anyone, regardless of rank!
Linville’s chemistry with Nimoy was on point too. You can see her passion growing in her eyes every time she stares at him, and in the sultry, if firm, tone in her voice. Even though we knew Spock was only ‘flirting’ with the Commander under orders, you couldn’t deny the ‘feelings’ of the characters throughout the episode. Especially in the end where Spock expresses his hope to her that they exchanged something more permanent than fleeting military secrets.
Did you know that in the original script, Spock was supposed to ‘rain kisses’ all over the Commander’s shoulder? Although I’m sure that visual would be enjoyable, DC Fontana and Nimoy both found it quite illogical for Spock’s character to slobber all over her, so it was thankfully changed. She was cool, He was cool, and he initiates intimacy with some stroking hand-play that somehow comes off even sexier than any nibbling might have been. (Not NOW, TAL!!)
Another tidbit about Linville’s character was that although we never hear The Commander’s name in the original episode, The Romulan Commander name was revealed in Trek Fiction as Liviana Charvanek She was also known as Di’on Charvon, Thea, and Nevesa! How rare and beautiful indeed! It suits her!
Linville studied her craft well, and like Nimoy, taught acting. She started an acting conservatory with with her teacher Stella Adler, and she co-wrote the book Seven Steps to an Acting Craft. with John Deck. She performed in over 80 TV and movie appearances, and although never a regular in a series, she was unforgettable. She is survived by her former husband Mark Rydell, Children Amy and Christopher Rydell, who are both also actors. Amy even reprised her mother’s iconic role in the Star Trek Continues series Finale “To Boldly Go, Part II) (an astonishing resemblance!) She will be greatly missed but never forgotten. My deepest sympathy and comfort to her family. ❤
Goodnight Charvanek, may you rest among the stars. I hope Spock has some blue Vulcan ale for you. ❤