Jonathan Frakes has been in the entertainment industry for longer than some of his fans have been alive. He made is on screen debut in 1978. After a series of small TV roles, he got his big break in 1987 when he was cast as Commander William T. Riker in the series Star Trek: The Next Generation. He would go on to reprise the role in the Star Trek film franchise as well as the subsequent TV shows Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Picard. Jonathan has become so well-known for his appearances in Star Trek that there are probably lots of people who think his name really is Commander Riker. Continue reading for 10 things you didn’t know about Jonathan Frakes.
1. He Almost Forgot How To Be An Actor
Most people would consider Jonathan to be a seasoned vet when it comes to acting. While that is technically true, Jonathan has gotten much more comfortable being behind the camera in recent years. When filming started for Star Trek: Picard, Jonathan admitted he was a nervous wreck because it had been nearly 20 years since he last played the character. He told Cinema Blend, “I had a major anxiety attack because, for whatever reason, I’d forgotten to act. I forgot how to act.” He added, “I was not a pretty picture for a few hours. I got my shit together and ended up doing fine.”
2. He’s A Harvard Alum
Frakes wasn’t always on the path of becoming a professional actor. When he initially enrolled in college at Penn State, he was a psychology major. However, while in school he discovered his love for acting and changed his major to theater. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he went on to earn a master’s degree from Harvard.
3. He Sells Video Shoutouts On Cameo
Over the course of his career, Jonathan has built a massive fan base that includes people all over the world. If you or someone you know would love to get a personal message from Jonathan, you now have the opportunity. He sells personalized video shoutouts through Cameo for $200.
4. He’s Not Afraid To Get Political
With the presidential election just a few months away, more and more people are being vocal about their political views. Still, many celebrities have chosen not so speak up out of fear it could ostracize some of their fans. Jonathan Frakes isn’t worried about that though. He has no problem sharing his political opinions and he has made it very clear that he isn’t in support of president Trump.
5. He Plays The Trombone
Jonathan grew up in a household where he was allowed to express his creative side. His father introduced him to music and Jonathan eventually learned how to play the trombone. He went on to be a member of the marching band in high school and at Penn State.
6. He Released An Audiobook
Star Trek isn’t the only thing Jonathan has been involved in and playing Commander Riker isn’t the only time he’s dabbled in science fiction. In the summer of 2018, he released an audiobook book titled Alien Autopsy: Fact Or Fiction? Not only is the book an opportunity to learn something new about aliens, but it’s also a change to hear Jonathan’s legendary voice.
7. Genie Francis Is His Favorite Actor
Every actor has a favorite actor, and for Jonathan Frakes, his favorite happens to be his wife, Genie Francis. Genie is best-known for her playing the role of Laura Spencer in General Hospital. She has also appeared in other TV shows including Murder, She Wrote and 3rd Rock from the Sun.
8. His Character Wasn’t Originally Included In Star Trek: Picard
It’s hard to imagine anything Star Trek related without Jonathan Frakes, but that was almost the case with Star Trek: Picard. Apparently, Commander Rikes wasn’t originally written into the series. He told IGN, “My understanding is that when the series was broken – meaning the first 10 episodes were broken in terms of story – there was no Riker…somewhere in the writing of the second half of the season, they found a way to include him.”
9. He’s Built Great Relationships With His Fans
Maintaining a positive imagine among fans is one of the most important parts of being a celebrity, but it’s also one of the things that many celebrities take for granted. Jonathan, on the other hand, has become well-known for positive interactions with fans and he is very grateful to all the people who have supported him over the years.
10. He’s A Dad
To the world, Jonathan Frakes is best-known as Commander Riker, but to his children he’s best-known as dad. Jonathan and his wife have two children together: Elizabeth and Jameson. Both of his children are in their 20s at this point and it doesn’t seem like either of them have an interest in following in their parents acting footsteps.
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