Ethan Phillips stars as the Talaxian, Neelix, a member of an alien race never before encountered in the Star Trek universe on UPN's popular drama series "Star Trek: Voyager." Neelix is a charming yet scraggly scavenger who acts as the ship's mess officer and budding ambassador. When asked about his character, Phillips replied, "Neelix is a loner and a lover. He's manipulative and brave, emotional and silly." He added, "You might say he's an alien of many colors . . . an eccentric oddball who never ceases to amaze me."
Born and raised on Long Island, Phillips grew up as the only boy of six children. He received a Jesuit education in New York, and attended Boston University, where he graduated with a degree in English literature. He went on to study at Cornell University, eventually getting a Master of Fine Arts degree.
Phillips began his acting career in the theater, appearing in such Broadway and off-Broadway productions as "My Favorite Year" at Lincoln Center; "Measure for Measure" at the Delacorte; "Lips Together, Teeth Apart" at the Lucille Lortel; and "Modigliani" at The Astor Place, along with new productions for Playwrights Horizons, Ensemble Studio Theater, Hudson Guild Theater, and others. He has also played leading roles for many of the major regional theaters in the country.
While he may have "cut his acting teeth" on stage, Phillips is perhaps best known for his extensive television work. Audiences will most likely remember him from his five seasons as Pete Downey, the governor's press aide on the hit television sitcom "Benson." In addition, he had a recurring role in the nighttime drama "Werewolf" and guest starred on a score of shows, including "From the Earth to the Moon"; "NYPD Blue"; "L.A. Law"; "Murphy Brown"; "Chicago Hope"; "Star Trek: The Next Generation"; and "Law & Order."
Phillips is no stranger to feature films, either. He starred in the Tim Allen film "For Richer or Poorer" and made a cameo appearance in "Star Trek: First Contact." Additionally, he appeared in the movie "Jeffrey," in which he played a sexaholic attending a 12-step group meeting. Phillips can also be seen in the upcoming movie "Civil Action" and in the movies "The Shadow"; "Wagons East"; "Man Without A Face"; "Green Card"; "Bloodhounds of Broadway"; "Glory"; "Lean On Me"; and others. Besides acting in stage, television and movie projects, Phillips is also a playwright. His original work, "Penguin Blues," was published by the Sam French company, and has been performed more than 150 times throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Phillips currently lives with his wife, Patricia Cresswell, and their West Highland terrier, Frank, in Los Angeles. In his spare time he is a devoted back-packer and rock climber, and fancies himself an amateur ornithologist and botanist. He dreams of someday hiking the Appalachian trail from end to end.
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