Ethan Phillips stars as the Talaxian Neelix, a member of an alien race indigenous to the Delta Quadrant in UPN's Star Trek: Voyager. Neelix is a charming yet scraggly scavenger who acts as the ship's mess officer and budding ambassador. Phillips said about his character, "Neelix is a loner and a lover. He's manipulative and brave, emotional and silly. 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, New York, 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 earn a Master of Fine Arts degree at Cornell University.
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. Phillips was in new productions for Playwrights Horizons, the Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Hudson Guild Theater and others, and has played leading roles for many of the major regional theaters around 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 for his five seasons as Pete Downey, the governor's press aide on the hit television sitcom Benson (co-starring with Deep Space Nine's Rene Auberjonois). In addition, he had a recurring role in the nighttime drama Werewolf, and has guest-starred on numerous shows including NYPD Blue, L.A. Law, Murphy Brown, Chicago Hope, Law & Order, and HBO's historical drama about the Apollo program, From the Earth to the Moon. Phillips also appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation as the Ferengi Dr. Farek in the episode "Menage A Troi."
But Phillips is no stranger to feature films either. Star Trek fans recognized him in human form as a holographic nightclub maitre d' in "Star Trek: First Contact." He starred in the Tim Allen film "For Richer or Poorer," and appeared in the movie "Jeffrey" as a sexaholic attending a 12-step group meeting. In addition, Ethan can be seen in the movies "The Shadow," "Wagons East," "Man Without a Face," "Green Card," "Bloodhounds of Broadway," "Glory" and "Lean On Me," among others.
Besides acting in stage, television and movie projects, Ethan is also a playwright and an author. His original play, "Penguin Blues," was published by the Samuel French company and has been produced more than 150 times throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 1999, his "Star Trek Cookbook"—featuring Neelix on the cover—was published by Pocket Books. Ethan co-authored this book with William J. Birnes.
Ethan lives with his wife, Patricia Cresswell, and their West Highland terrier, Frank, in Los Angeles. In his spare time he is a devoted backpacker and rock climber, and fancies himself an amateur ornithologist and botanist. He dreams of someday hiking the Appalachian Trail from end to end.