A Half Century of Star Trek
“To boldly go where no man has gone before,” could easily describe Hirschfeld’s work as well as the classic television series, Star Trek. The science fiction TV show is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month, and you may be surprised to know that like many Broadway shows, it’s premiere was heralded by a Hirschfeld drawing, this one in TV Guide to illustrate a review of the new show. As always, Hirschfeld gave us the action but not the plot of the show, and singled out the two main characters, played by Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner. Hirschfeld had drawn Shatner in the original Broadway production of The World of Suzie Wong in 1958.
He did not return to the series until 1991, when TV Guide again commissioned the artist for a drawing of the cast the then hit sequel series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was in the middle of its seven year run. The only member of the cast he drawn previously was Whoopi Goldberg who played an alien bartender in the ship's lounge, Ten Forward.
For a special issue devoted to the franchise, TV Guide asked for cast drawings of not only the original cast of the 1966 series, but cast drawings of the other two series that Star Trek had spawned: Voyager and Deep Space Nine. In the Deep Space Nine drawing, Hirschfeld featured Rene Auberjonois, an actor he had been drawing since 1973, and who would be part of one of his last theater drawings for the New York Times.
Other Star Trek actors who Hirschfeld would draw after their time in space included Leonard Nimoy who appeared on Broadway in the long-running Equus in 1977. Patrick Stewart, who played Captain Picard in Next Generation was drawn in his one man performance of A Christmas Carol in 1994 (which was later published as a limited edition print), as well as in The Tempest the following year. In 1999, Robert Picardo, who played the Doctor in Voyager was the subject of a portrait of his character.
All of Hirschfeld’s Star Trek drawings were published as hand signed, limited edition lithographs. If you are interested in adding any of the pieces to your collection, please visit the Al Hirschfeld Foundation Shop.