Jonathan Frakes Talks Fatherhood, Star Trek, Directing, Voice Acting & The Value Of A Will Riker Action Figure

Jonathan Frakes sits down with me to talk about fatherhood and the values he and his wife, Genie instilled into their two kids. We talk about what effects moving a family a few times has on kids and how it can make them learn important life skills. 

Then we dive into the world of Star Trek and what pressure Jonathan and his colleague felt in starting a new Star Trek series with Star Trek: The Next Generation. Frakes talks about the value of a Will Riker action figure and how he got into directing episodes for Star Trek. We talk about some of his voice acting roles such as Gargoyles. We finish the interview with the Fatherhood Quick Five. 

About Jonathan Frakes

Like many of his fellow Star Trek actors, Jonathan Frakes developed his acting chops on stage in New York City, where he appeared in Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape and Shenandoah. Soap opera parts (The Doctors) and supporting parts in assorted television series (The Waltons, Fantasy Island, Quincy, M.E., North and South) followed, as did a lead role on the short-lived primetime soap, Bare Essence.

In 1987, the actor — who was born and raised in Pennsylvania — was cast as Commander Will Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation, the wildly successful successor to Star Trek: The Original Series. Both the series and his character were extremely well received by the viewing public, but Frakes opted not to rest on his acting laurels. By taking advantage of an informal “director in training” program that came into existence during executive producer Rick Berman’s tenure with the Star Trek franchise, Frakes received invaluable insight into the nuts and bolts of crafting a television episode. He went on to direct a total of 14 episodes of TNGStar Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, including his memorable debut, “The Offspring.” 

Further, he directed two of the TNG films: the blockbuster hit Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection, and also the video game Star Trek: Klingon. Post-Star Trek, Frakes has become a much-in-demand television director and producer, helming episodes of such series as Roswell (also producer)LeverageDollhouseCastleNCIS: Los Angeles, V, The Librarians (also producer), Burn Notice, Falling Skies and Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. Frakes considers himself a director these days, but still occasionally acts, be it a guest spot on Angie Tribeca or a voiceover role for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Future-Worm! or Miles from Tomorrow

Frakes has been married since 1988 to actress Genie Francis, best known for her role as Laura on General Hospital. They live in Los Angeles and are the parents of Jameson Ivor and Elizabeth Francis.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter and Instagram at @jonathansfrakes

About The Art of Fatherhood Podcast 

The Art of Fatherhood Podcast follows the journey of fatherhood. Your host, Art Eddy talks with dads from all around the world where they share their thoughts on fatherhood. Please leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts.

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