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Michael Dorn; One Smart Klingon

Updated on September 8, 2023

Recognising A Niche

Michael Dorn began playing the character of Worf in Star Trek; The Next Generation in 1987.

Unlike other actors, who taste fame playing a specific character and their ego explodes, he never decided he needed to do Shakespeare or 'expand' his portfolio.

Michael Dorn was Worf, the only Klingon in Star Fleet, through the entire series of STNG, and if that wasn't enough, he continued the role of Worf in the movies, then, back onto television in the series; Deep Space 9.

Unlike other Actors confused about roles and their position in the Universe, Michael Dorn grasped the fact that has escaped every actor who has ever appeared in a popular television series;

Stick with what works, because that will insure you work.

In and Out of Character

To portray Worf, a Klingson, requires quite a bit of make-up, as you can see
from the photo above.

Michael Dorn, without that makeup, could be sitting next to you at a sporting event, and you might not realize it.

He has captured all the fame and recognition in character, yet owns all the
comfort of privacy outside of it.

Michael Dorn was able to train and become a pilot and enjoy his life without wondering where his next paycheck was coming from.

Michael Dorn is unique is many ways.

So many popular television actors grow enormous egos. Deciding they are so important and significant to the rotation of the Earth they determine reality.

As the egos of these actors explode, they demand more money or screen time, or have 'creative differences' with writers, producers, directors, etc. and need to expand their repertoire.

These actors wind up 'has beens' although never having made it. This is because they don't seem to appreciate that outside of a narrow band of fans who watch that particular show they are Nobody.

And more painful, that the fans love the character, not the actor.

Reality bytes

There are very few actors who appear in television serials playing popular characters who get fantastic movie offers. Very few go from the small screen to the large one with great success.

For every George Clooney or Denzil Washington there are thousands who fade into oblivion, hundreds of Harry Hamlins, Jimmy Smits, Keith Cobbs...

A few Actors might be so central to the plot that take the show with them when they leave.

This not only signifies making a sequel becomes impossible, it is that no one will ever employ this actor in any continuing role EVER.

There are cases where the ego driven actors are replaced by others who create as
popular, if not more popular characters.

There is no way back for the fool who leaves the successful show for nebulous big breaks which don't happen.

CSI proved that when in 2008 two 'central' characters left Las Vegas. They were replaced by others. 'Where are they now?' could be asked, if anyone remembers them.

Although Michael Dorn has played other characters besides Worf, they are small shrug away roles. As he has never made being Worf a problem, he continues to work.

No doubt, if called upon to become a Klingon again, in a movie or another Star Trek version, Michael Dorn will do so, because he never made it a problem.

In fact, appearing recently in Picard Worf grabbed the viewer's focus.


It is with a sense of awe I recognise Michael Dorn's uniqueness.

One would think that any actor who has a virtually 'permanent' role would consider
this the greatest acheivement of their chareer and never make it a 'problem'.

One would think that as Actors don't hire themselves but are employees, they
would grab onto this lucky break and never let it go. They would be so alert to
the public's affection for their character they would protect the role with every
atom of their being and be the easiest person to work with on a set.

Yet, the majority of Actors are so stupid that they never appreciate that the
audience is fascinated by the role, not the person behind the role.

Michael Dorn is unique in that he realised being Worf was all he ever had to do
to ensure that paycheque.

And instead of making it a problem, embraced it.


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