BarBara Luna, Star Trek: Mirror, Mirror’s Marlena Moreau, found that only 1960s science fiction shows offered her something that’s taken for granted today.
And the actress, like so many other Trek guest stars, did not realize at the time that her Star Trek role would be remembered decades later.
Her role on Trek was initially “just a job” to Luna. “Who knew what it was going to turn into?” said Luna. “It was just a job. I know you’ve heard that from many other actors involved in Star Trek, but that’s what it was, a job. It was offered to me. It was a guy with funny ears. And I was already a fan of William Shatner‘s when I did the show. I’d always thought he was just a wonderful actor.”
Being offered the role of Moreau gave something important to Luna, a non-stereotyped role. “Well, I found out something so interesting about the sci-fi world,” said Luna. “When it was offered to me, I was kind of shocked. I thought, ‘My gosh,’ because almost all of the roles I portrayed were Hispanic or Japanese or Chinese or Vietnamese or Indian. Because of my ethnicity [Italian, Hungarian, Spanish, Portuguese and Filipino], which I always thank my parents for, you couldn’t really pin down my look. And I think if you see all the characters I played you know exactly what I’m talking about.
“Marlena was surprising because there was no accent involved. I thought, ‘Gee, I love this role because she’s just a woman. No accent. Just a woman.’ When I was offered Koori on Buck Rogers, it was the same thing. She was a bird…but still. That’ one of the things that’s so intriguing about the sci-fi world. You can be hired just as an actor or an actress and not for any particular ethnicity. Things (in general) are much better today. It’s quite wonderful because things are not as stereotypical anymore.”
Years after the show, Luna is still remembered for her Trek role. “It was a cab driver I met in New York City who told me about the conventions,” she said. “He recognized me and called me Marlena. I thought, ‘How sweet, he thinks I’m Marlene Dietrich,’ but he was talking about me from Star Trek. And he told me all about the conventions and what goes on. But I don’t think you get it until you do it. As actors, sitting at a table, seeing a line of people waiting for your autograph…honestly, I don’t think we really get it. We’re just so thankful. It’s mind-boggling. But little by little I’ve come to understand what it’s about and also why Star Trek is so impressive.’
Now retired, Luna does charity work, helping to “round up celebrities” for charity events. Her next convention/appearance will be at The Hollywood Show (April 11-13). “That’s an autograph show I’ll be at with a lot of other people from TV and movies, and there will be reunions of actors and actresses from Star Trek and The Outer Limits, so it should be very exciting,” she said. “It’s so much fun for me to do this. I’m running around and seeing old friends.”