Mark Allen Shepherd was born in Rockville Centre, New York on January 7, 1961 and grew up in Connecticut. He is best known for his character of Morn, a Lurian freighter captain who was a regular patron at Quark’s Place on Star Trek: Deep Space 9, although his name was never in the credits or spoke a single word on screen.
Shepherd received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. After graduation, he moved to Southern California and studied at the California Institute of the Arts, focusing on music, film, theater, performance, and interdisciplinary arts.
Mark’s family was full of artists, and he had an intense and passionate desire to express himself. Shepherd is an accomplished artist, creating abstract impressionist paintings by mixing media types into photo mosaics. He likes exploring abstract concepts such as energy, consciousness, perception, and multi-dimensionality. Twenty-three of his paintings have been used as set dressing on Deep Space 9, many in the crew quarters, and more have been used on over 150 television shows, feature films, commercials, and CD-ROM.
There is another art form that Mark is skilled at – music. He is a member and co-founder along with J.C. Wegman of an absurd music theater group based in Los Angeles called Plural Dolt. It has been described as Frank Zappa meets Spike Jones on Forbidden Planet; cartoony, wild and zaney. It was founded in 1987 and the band split in 1998. Shepherd has also written compositions such as an animated film. At a convention in 1998 he wrote on the back of a program the lyrics to “Morn to be Wild” and sang at a competition that same evening and won second place. He has continued to sing the song at conventions and someone suggested that he record it. It was released in 2006 on CD with additional vocal tracks by his wife Tanja. That same year he also recorded another CD, “Space Walk”, a stereo mixdown of a series of multi track ambient synthesizer pieces composed and performed live.
Shepherd worked professionally on the sets of over 180 different productions including television, feature and student films, commercials, music videos, and industrials as an actor, featured bit actor, stand-in, precision driver and background actor. His part as Morn on Star Trek:DS9 was originally a one-time deal, but the producers liked what Mark did so much they asked him to come back. At mid-season the part became more serious as the producers started to give the character more of a background, and the audiences expected to see their favorite barfly on his regular stool. The character’s name was an anagram from Norm Peterson, another constant bar patron from the series Cheers.