Audiences might not recognize the name Roxann Dawson, but there’s a good chance they’ve seen and enjoyed her work at some point. A former actress that took the leap into directing and never looked back, the former Star Trek: Voyager Lieutenant hasn’t slowed down for any of her more than thirty years in the business.
Born on September 11, 1958, and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Roxann was a theater lover from a young age. After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley in 1980, she dove headfirst into the world of Broadway, performing in various productions before making a major jump into television in 1989 with a role in the NBC medical drama Nightingales.
Unfortunately, Nightingales wasn’t meant to be and ended up being canceled after thirteen episodes. She bounced around the Hollywood scene for a few years, picking up guest roles and appearances in shows like Baywatch and Matlock while also making numerous TV movies. Things seemed to be looking up again when she was cast as a lead in the crime drama The Round Table, though it didn’t even last as long as Nightingales before cancellation.
Star Trek Voyager
The actual big break finally came in 1994, when Roxann Dawson would take the role of Lt. B’Elanna Torres, a half-human, half-Klingon lieutenant of the Star Trek: Voyager crew. She would go on to star in every episode of the series while also trying her hand at directing two later episodes of the series. This would end up as the gateway for her career transition in the 2000s.
What did she do after Voyager?
Discovering a new passion for directing, while working on the season 6 episode of Voyager, Riddles, she went on to direct another episode of Voyager before taking on ten episodes of the next series Star Trek: Enterprise. All the while she was also doing a circuit of directing episodes for multiple hits like Lost, The OC, and Heroes. Dawson cemented herself around this time as a dependable director with a natural ability to bring the best out of actors and even served as a producer on Crossing Jordan.
All the while her personal life was going great as well. Despite her first marriage to fellow Trek actor Casey Biggs ending in a divorce, Roxann went on to meet her future husband Eric Dawson while working on Nightingales. The couple officially tied the knot in 1994 and welcomed their first daughter, Emma, in 1998. The couple would also adopt their second daughter, Mia, in 2000, completing their little family.
While she took a few smaller guest roles as an actress throughout the 2000s, she made the permanent jump to directing with her last role in a 2011 episode of The Closer, which was her first in seven years. During the later 2000s/early 2010s she continued jumping around to different shows, turning in episodes of The Good Wife, The Mentalist, and even an episode of The Cape (Six seasons and a movie?).
Dawson even got some Marvel money, directing possibly the best episode of Agents of SHIELD’s first season, completely shaking up the future of the show. She would continue the decade with credits on early streaming breakouts like The Path and House of Cards, The Deuce, and This Is Us before making her directorial debut in feature films in 2019.
What is Roxann Dawson doing now?
Making the break from television to film with a movie titled Breakthrough might be a little on the nose, but it worked for Roxann Dawson as her faith-based drama drew a pretty decent turnaround at the box office. Fun Fact: This movie played in my rural Bible-belt town’s only theater for three months. The movie was out on Blu-Ray by the time they stopped playing it, and this was released a week before Avengers: Endgame which left the theater before Breakthrough. The American South is a wild place.
Back on topic, the film performed well for Dawson, but so far she hasn’t made a return to features as of yet. What she has done though, are numerous high-profile episodes for AppleTV+ such as The Morning Show and Foundation, continuing her television streak. There are a few projects currently in the work per her IMDB, but not a whole lot is known about them as of now.
Roxann is still going full force though, with regular appearances at Star Trek conventions and a total of fifty-seven directing credits to her name as she nears the age of 65 this year.
She’s also made a point of supporting charities, notably Camp Heartland which helps kids affected by HIV/AIDs as well as charity Half The Sky, which helps orphaned children in China connect to early education and nutrition as well as connecting for potential adoptions.