Denise Michelle Crosby (born November 24, 1957, in Hollywood, California) is an American actress who is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Security Chief Tasha Yar on the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Denise Crosby's choice of career solidified at an early age, and was influenced by the involvement of other family members in "show biz". Her father was actor Dennis Crosby. Her grandfather was actor/singer/comedian Bing Crosby and her ex-father-in-law the noted director Blake Edwards (Crosby was married to Geoffrey Edwards from 1983-1990) and appeared in a few of Edwards' films, including Skin Deep, Trail of the Pink Panther and Curse of the Pink Panther.
She appeared in Chris Isaak's first music video "Dancin'".
Her first high profile role was as Lisa Davis on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. One of her very first film appearances was in the 1982 Eddie Murphy film 48 Hours. In 1986 she appeared in a music video for Black Sabbath's "No Stranger to Love".
It is rumored that she once dated George Clooney.
Crosby is married to Ken Sylk and has one son, August William Sylk.
In 1987, Denise Crosby was cast in the role of Tasha Yar for the much publicized return of Star Trek to the small screen in the syndicated series Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) (She had been tapped to play Deanna Troi before Gene Roddenberry switched her and Marina Sirtis). Initially one of the top-billed characters, featured prominently in episodes such as "The Naked Now" and "Code of Honor", the role of Tasha gradually moved into the background as other members of the ensemble cast became a greater focus of the series.
It has been reported that Crosby grew disillusioned with TNG because of the "Uhura-like" status of her role: Tasha was always present, yet her character was never expanded on. Ultimately, Crosby decided to leave the show. Her character was unceremoniously killed by the alien creature Armus during the episode "Skin of Evil". She had starred in 22 episodes of the program at the point of departure.
In later years, Crosby had second thoughts about leaving the show, and approached the TNG production team with the idea of reprising her role of Tasha Yar. This came to be in season three's "Yesterday's Enterprise", in which an alternate universe is created after the USS Enterprise-C, the predecessor to TNG's USS Enterprise-D, comes forward 22 years in time. Yar joined the Enterprise-C before it returned to its own time.
During the documentary Trekkies, Crosby commented that her Tasha Yar character had to die in order to get "the best episodes."
Crosby would also guest star in several other TNG episodes as Romulan Commander Sela, the half-human, half-Romulan daughter of the Tasha Yar from the alternate universe's Enterprise-D. Sela is a role Crosby would later reprise on the Star Trek: Armada video game.
Following her Star Trek days, Crosby worked non-stop in television, notably as Dr. Gretchen Kelly on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, as well as in high-budget features like Deep Impact. In the early 1990s she played the role of the mayor in the short lived series Key West. Crosby has also appeared in Stephen King's Pet Sematary and Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown. She starred in the 2002 western horror film Legend of the Phantom Rider. She also appeared in two episodes of the cable television series Red Shoe Diaries, playing different characters in each episode, frequently appearing nude. She was a guest star on the eighth season of The X-Files for two episodes, in which she plays a doctor who took examinations of Agent Scully's baby. She also was a guest star in The Flash Season 1 Episode 15 as Dr. Rebecca Frost. In 2006, she starred in the Tobe Hooper horror film, Mortuary and had a notable role as the first victim of Dexter Morgan in the Showtime series, Dexter.
Following her appearance on Star Trek, new nude photos from a previously printed pictorial from March 1979 of Crosby appeared in the May 1988 issue of Playboy magazine (see List of people in Playboy 1980-1989). In the original pictorial, Crosby was featured as a new-wave model.
Crosby produced and narrated the 1997 documentary Trekkies, followed by the 2003 sequel titled Trekkies 2. Both films star Crosby, who conducts interviews with devotees of Star Trek, more commonly known as "Trekkies."