The Many Faces of Stephen Culp

By Michelle
February 25, 2004 - 5:47 PM

Wednesday nights have been good recently to actor Stephen Culp, who has played recurring characters on both Star Trek: Enterprise and The West Wing. But those are only two of the many guest roles that have filled his schedule.

"Culp has one of those faces, handsome but just a little bland, that lets him blend into any crowd and disappear into any role without great difficulty," wrote Alan Sepinwall of the actor in The Star-Ledger. "He could be a politician, or a schoolteacher, or a secret agent, or even a soldier from the fact, he's been all four of those things this season."

In addition to playing the senior MACO officer, Major Hayes, on Enterprise, Culp has appeared as Republican Speaker of the House Jeff Haffley on The West Wing, CIA agent Clayton Webb on JAG and teacher Dave Spencer on ER, a role he reprises tomorrow night. He had snagged a recurring role on The Brotherhood of Poland, N.H. as well, but CBS cancelled the show.

The actor recalled that on one occasion this season, he was shooting an episode of NBC's Lyon's Den "that went until 3 or 4 in the morning," only to have to return to the lot at 9 a.m. to continue shooting an episode of Enterprise that was already underway. He had a similar situation trying to film ER and Enterprise during the same week.

To complicate his life further, the actor has a role at home as father to two-year-old twins. "I find in a way that's made me more focused and organized," he said.

Culp added that he is sometimes able to draw on one role for another, such as playing Haffley, a politician whom he modeled in part on Robert F. Kennedy - the role Culp played in the film 13 Days.

At one point, Culp said, his agent asked whether he wanted to push for a permanent role on JAG, where he has made appearances for seven years, but Culp declined.

"It's a nice job to have in my back pocket, and it enables me to go out and do things like 13 Days that I couldn't do if I were tied to JAG every week," he said.

The original interview is here.

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