Best known for her role as Major Kira Nerys on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Nana Visitor has accomplished quite a bit over the years.
You’d think she’d show signs of slowing down after nearly five decades in film and television, but she remains going strong.
Between Star Trek, film, television, print, and other media, it seems there’s nothing Nana Visitor can’t do. Let’s look back at some of her biggest career moments and catch up on what she’s up to today!
Nana Visitor began her career in film and television under her real name, Nana Tucker, starting in 1976 with a recurring role on TV series Ivan the Terrible. She would appear briefly in the feature film The Sentinel one year later as well.
In 1978, she would land a regular role in the soap opera Ryan’s Hope, appearing in 79 episodes total.
This would become Visitor’s most substantial role for over a decade, as the ‘80s only offered guest appearances and minor recurring roles on a handful of shows including The Doctors, The Colbys, MacGyver, and more. It was during this period she officially changed her billing name from Nana Tucker to Nana Visitor.
Visitor would finally land a main cast role in 1990 as Bryn Newhouse on situation comedy Working Girl, starring Sandra Bullock as the lead, but the show was canceled after one season.
In 1993, more than fifteen years after her first film cred, she finally was cast in the defining role of her career on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine aired in 1993, coming hot off the heels of The Next Generation which set precedents for the franchise.
Over seven seasons, DS9 aired 176 episodes, 173 of which included Nana Visitor as Kira Nerys, a former freedom fighter turned Starfleet First Officer and Commander Benjamin Sisko’s second-in-command.
Up to this point, Star Trek fans were accustomed to soft-spoken female characters like Dr. Beverly Crusher and Counselor Deanna Troi.
Because of her character’s former affiliation with the Bajoran resistance against Cardassian occupation, Visitor chose to play the character with more intensity and toughness, traits viewers associated with male characters in the early ‘90s, which led to negative criticism from fans and critics alike.
The producers took note of the negative feedback and told Visitor that she was playing the role too gruff and “walking like John Wayne.”
Visitor did not want to change the character’s demeanor, but offered the suggestion of having Major Nerys wear heels to feminize her gait.
The producers accepted the suggestion, and Visitor would go on to portray the same character with the same “male” personality traits but, now wearing high heels, viewers, critics, and production were all more accepting of it.
Despite the initial criticism, Visitor’s portrayal of Kira Nerys earned her four OFTA (Online Film & Television Association) nominations, three OFTA Television Awards for Best Actress in a Syndicated Series, and one Universe Reader’s Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Genre TV Series between 1995 and 1999.
As it would turn out, Deep Space Nine wasn’t Visitor’s only interest in portraying characters in a Star Trek series.
While DS9 was still on the air, Paramount Pictures commissioned a new series entitled Voyager to serve as the flagship series for its new network UPN.
Production went well until the lead actress, Geneviève Bujold, quit the job after a few long days on set.
This left the lead role of Captain Kathryn Janeway wide open, and Visitor was eager for the chance to portray another strong female character on a Star Trek series.
Visitor pitched her idea to producer Rick Berman to simultaneously portray Kira Nerys and Captain Janeway, but Berman gave her a firm no.
What did Nana Visitor do after Deep Space Nine?
After DS9 wrapped, Visitor went back to her usual occasional guest appearance, popping up in single episodes of shows like Frasier, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and Battlestar Galactica. She also appeared in six episodes of James Cameron’s sci-fi drama Dark Angel.
In 2005, Visitor landed her next big role as Jean Ritter on ABC Family series Wildfire.
The show revolved around lead character Kris, played by Genevieve Cortese, who leaves a teen detention center to work on a family-run ranch, owned by the Ritters, due to her special bond with the titular horse Wildfire.
Wildfire aired for four seasons and 52 total episodes, all of which Visitor appeared in.
After Wildfire, Visitor appeared as a guest on various TV shows, including Torchwood, Grimm, and Castle, lent her voice to twelve episodes of the popular cartoon Family Guy, and landed minor roles in films like Friday the 13th and Ted 2.
What is Nana Visitor doing now?
Most recently, Visitor reprised her role as Colonel Kira Nerys on the animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks on an episode entitled “Hear All, Trust Nothing.”
In the episode, the crew of the USS Cerritos are called to the space station Deep Space Nine to assist in trade negotiations.
In addition to Visitor, Armin Shimerman reprises his role as the shady bartender Quark, who is abducted during an unexpected power outage during the episode.
Visitor will appear in two upcoming films as well. The first, entitled Six Feet Apart, tells the story of two single people living in Los Angeles who are matched on a dating site one year prior to COVID.
Visitor will play a character named Sharon, and the film is in post production as of December 2022.
The second upcoming film featuring Nana Visitor is a 14-minute short called The Dinner Party. No details regarding when and where to watch the short have been released so far.
A Woman’s Trek: From Uhura to Burnham
In 2021, Visitor announced that she was working on a book entitled A Woman’s Trek: From Uhura to Burnham.
The book will feature interviews with actresses from every Star Trek series, from the 1960s to the present day, to uncover intimate details of the experience, including all the good, the bad, and the very ugly truths that have not been brought to light previously.
Visitor is also filming the interviews, considering creating a documentary of the content as well. The book is currently expected to release in September 2023.
Star Trek After Star Trek
Just because Deep Space Nine wrapped decades ago, the show, cast, and character still remain near and dear to Visitor’s heart.
She also appears at Star Trek conventions regularly and plans to be present on the Star Trek Cruise in February 2023.
For $100 on Cameo, Visitor will send a personal message from Kira Nerys herself.
Social Media and Podcast
Outside of her career as a Hollywood actress and Star Trek alumnus, Visitor maintains a social media presence on Instagram and hosts a podcast with her son, Django, in which the two share “candid conversation” and pre-dinner drinks covering everything and anything going on in the world.
On her Instagram, @visitornana, Visitor goes by Mama Nana and provides motherly advice to her nearly 20,000 followers.
Her podcast, called Sunday Dinner with Nana Visitor and Django El Siddig, is available on Spotify.
Between 1989 and 1994, Visitor was married to fellow actor Nick Miscusi. The two had a son together, Buster Miscusi, prior to divorcing.
After the divorce, Visitor began dating her co-star, Alexander Siddig, and the two were married in June 1997. Prior to this, Visitor became pregnant and the Deep Space Nine writers and producers looked for a way to incorporate the pregnancy into the show’s plot.
They found their way to include the pregnancy in the penultimate episode of Season 4, “Body Parts,” which found Dr. Julian Bashir, played by Siddig, transferring another character’s child into Kira Nerys’ womb to save the baby’s life.
The pregnancy was incorporated into Deep Space Nine’s plot until Season 5 episode “The Begotten” which featured the child’s birth. In real life, Visitor’s second son, Django El Tahir El Siddig, was born in September 1996.
Visitor and Siddig would divorce in April 2001, and Visitor began dating film writer Matthew Rimmer in 2002. Visitor and Rimmer were wed in 2003 and have been together ever since.
Visitor struggled with PTSD from an assault that took place in 1994 where she was the victim of a brutal kidnapping and sexual assault.
She described in detailed her ordeal on the Gates McFadden podcast.
The actress was driving home from the set of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine one night, when she was followed by home and abducted by two men at gunpoint. She revealed that the two men stuffed her in the passenger seat leg area and took her to a secluded place
They had me tied and on my knees in a bush, facing a bush while they talked about what they were going to do with my body. They were going to dump it out near Las Vegas. And I was shaking so hard. I went, okay, this is it. I’m going to die. This is it.
The kidnappers took her back to her house, where her child was sleeping, hog-tied her and ransacked the house. She remembers that one attacker rummaged through her belongings while the other one held her at gunpoint, and even going so far as to eat a cookie that she had baked and played with her dog.
After some time, her attackers put a pillow of her head and left.
Her two attackers were eventually caught and given multiple life sentences with the kidnapping being an aggravating factor in their sentencing.