Six Degrees Between “The Golden Girls” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation”

Raye Birk Golden Girls

Forget Kevin Bacon, I think everything in Hollywood leads back to “The Golden Girls” (TGG). We are currently watching both “TGG” and “Star Trek: TNG” in order from the beginning and we’re finding some surprising connections.

As I wrote previously, Quentin Tarantino attributes his appearance as an Elvis impersonator on “TGG” with providing him funds through residuals keeping him afloat as he developed “Reservoir Dogs”. Because of this, you can trace Bea Arthur and Leonardo DiCaprio in two degrees, and also Tarantino to the cast of Star Trek (which he is rumored to be taking on) as we’ll see below.

With “TNG”, we notice with nearly every episode, there’s an actor who has also appeared in “TGG”. There was overlap time-wise between the two shows (TGG premiered in 1985 and TNG in 1987) and so they were pulling from the pool of actors available at the time. I wondered if perhaps they shared a casting director, but imdb doesn’t support this.

My favorite double-casting involves Raye Birk. In the “TGG” episode “Sophia’s Wedding , he’s the gayest wedding planner ever “ready to fly right outa” there, in two episodes including this one where he’s trying to hold Sophia’s wedding together:

And here’s an image of him in the 1987 “Star Trek: TNG” episode “Haven”, the 10th episode of the first season, filmed a year before his appearance with the girl-gang in Miami. He seems to have gotten typecast because his appearances in both series involved weddings.

There’s also a Tarantino-Birk-Star Trek connection happening because Birk’s appearance in “TGG” was in the very same episode (well, two-partner) as Tarantino’s with “Sophia’s Wedding”.

If you hadn’t heard the news of Tarantino’s flirting with doing a Star Trek movie, apparently he has an idea that he’s pitched but no firm details on whether he’ll actually write it and/or direct. Maybe he’ll have Betty White in it and we’ll come full circle. Stay tuned.

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