Cast and Crew - Data

TREKCORE > TNG > CAST AND CREW > Data / Brent Spiner

Data was the fifth and next-to-last model created by Soong and his then-wife Juliana on the Omicron Theta science colony, activated on Feb. 2, 2338 when found by members of a U.S.S. Tripoli away team after the Crystalline Entity had drained the life force from the 411-member colony. Not until 2370 did he realize he had a childhood-like developmental memory from an existence before that date, wiped by Soong and replaced by the colonists' memories and logs as they faced their doom by the Entity.

Data has always wished to be more human, experimenting in everything from art, acting, and poetry to keeping a pet cat Spot and imitating humanisms ranging from laughter, sneezing and whistling to dance, facial hair grooming and bedtime routines.

Even with that goal, Data turned down a chance to be human offered by Q in 2364, quoting Shakespeare's "To thine own self be true," but inched closer to his goal with the discovery of an "emotion chip" created by his builder, Dr. Noonien Soong. Although he delayed using it for over a year, the chip when finally installed in 2371 caused a near-overload. The chip proved an Achilles heel during Data's capture by the Borg Queen, when she literally tempted him with sensations of flesh and blood he had never experienced despite his growing worldliness. Even so, the emotional data overload was not enough to overrule his ethics program.

Data has said his post-activation months were rough, but the crew who found him inspired him to join Starfleet and, after being deemed sentient, he was accepted to Starfleet Academy in 2341 - with Cmdr. Bruce Maddox of the Daystrom Institute casting the only nay vote in the decision of his examination board. Data found the entrance exams elementary but in his freshman year discovered his biggest problems to be those of social interaction, such as practical jokes and the Sadie Hawkins Dance. After a curriculum which included advanced training in auxiliary vessels, he graduated four years later with honors in probability mechanics and exobiology. Following graduation he spent three more as an ensign and 10-12 more in the lieutenant grades. One of his postings was to the U.S.S. Trieste.

Combining his interest in procreation with advanced positronic studies in 2366, Data himself created a short-lived daughter christened Lal whose ownership had again been contested by Starfleet and Admiral Haftel. The emotional overload she was exposed to in the struggle presaged Data's five years later, but her unintended emotional ability could not be processed adequately and she "died" despite the best efforts of Data and Haftel.

Aside from a romantic encounter with the late Tasha Yar under effects of the Tsiolkovsky virus in 2364, and a crush directed at him by Tau Cygna colonist Ard'rian MacKenzie, he later tried dating Lt. (j.g.) Jenna D'Sora. A small hologram of Yar is among his closest possessions, which also include a book of Shakespeare sonnets from Picard, the proximity detector of Turkana IV from Yar's sister Ishara, and props from his Holodeck adventures.

After all Data's years in Starfleet following activation, Geordi LaForge was the first to become a friend and accept him with respect as an equal. Having introduced Miles O'Brien and Keiko Ishikawa, Data served as her bridal escort during their wedding and danced a step he'd learned from Dr. Crusher.

A fascination with detective fiction led Data to a common hobby shared with La Forge of role-playing Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson on the Holodeck. That interest evolved into legitimate theatre as well as music, where he has studied the violin, guitar, oboe and flute and plays in shipboard performances. Data also tried his hand at various styles of painting, but realized that his knowledge of previous styles overrode any personality he could put into the art. He also plays poker, knows blackjack and learned Stratagema.


Brent Spiner played the android Lieutenant Commander Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Spiner moved to New York after college, where he performed in numerous off-Broadway plays. "The play that finally pushed me over into the serious-actor category was a public theater production of "The Seagull" for Joseph Papp," he says. Spiner eventually won roles in the Broadway musical productions of "Sunday in the Park with George," "The Three Musketeers" and "Big River," which was based on the story of Huckleberry Finn.

After moving to Los Angeles in 1984, Spiner appeared in the Westwood Playhouse production of "Little Shop of Horrors." His other credits include the Woody Allen film "Stardust Memories," a cameo in the movie "The Miss Firecracker Contest" and guest-starring roles in such television series as Cheers, Twilight Zone, Night Court and Hill Street Blues. Spiner has also featured in the films "Phenomenon," "Independence Day" and "Out to Sea."

During the fourth season hiatus of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Spiner co-produced and released his first album. Entitled "Ol' Yellow Eyes is Back," the album features some of the most popular classic standards ever recorded. Included on the album is the single "It's A Sin To Tell A Lie," which has background vocals provided by the "The Sunspots," more familiar to Star Trek: The Next Generation fans as Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton and Michael Dorn.

Following on from his Star Trek duties, Spiner has performed in a variety of capacities. His vocal talents can be heard impersonating late night talk show host Conan O'Brien in the feature length animated movie "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut." He has also appeared in "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge," the movie based on the tragic life of the first African-American woman to be nominated for an Oscar ("Carmen Jones" 1954). Spiner plays her faithful manager Earl Mills. In 2000, Brent portrayed Stromboli in Disney's musical live action version of "Geppetto." Spiner also appeared in the 2000 mini-series "A Girl Thing."

Biographies derived and edited from the Official Site.