As the character Faye Richardson in Suits, Denise Crosby says “That’s the problem with this place. You’re a bunch of wild dogs running around, defecating all over legal standards you swore to uphold. You can bet your ass I’m gonna put a leash on every one of you.”
Wow! Now that’s the kind of person we need running Pacific Palisades.
Except, that was only a role Crosby was playing, and that character is nothing like the charming and delightful actress that this editor spoke to by phone on June 9.
Crosby said she was thrilled that she had been asked to be the Grand Marshal for the 4th of July Parade.
“I was totally surprised – it came out of the blue,” she said, and added “I have been enjoying and reveling in this parade for 30 years.
“I feel proud to be part of this beautiful place that we’re privileged to live in,” Crosby said.
It will be the first time she will ride in the Palisades parade. Her son Augie, now a professional baseball player, rode in the parade with the Pacific Palisades Baseball Association after his Red Pony team won the World Series. She watched her son march with Gerry Blank Karate Kids several times prior to that.
Crosby does have parade experience: her first was the Hollywood 1987 Christmas Parade. The cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation rode on a float and “Jimmy Stewart was the grand marshal that year,” she said.
“I grew up in Hollywood and it was the parade I went to as a child, on the corner of Hollywood and Vine,” Crosby said. “It seemed magical.” And now she was part of that magic.
Her second parade experience was the Pride Parade in Boston in 2013, the first parade held after the marathon bombing. There were 400,000 spectators, 20,000 parade marchers, 72 vehicles and 21 floats, and Crosby was Grand Marshal.
“It was supposed to be Patrick Stewart, but at the last minute he couldn’t make it, so I subbed in,” she said, and described the thousands of pairs of sneakers that had been assembled as a memorial by the runners at a location along the route. “There were strong waves of sentiment.”
Her history with Pacific Palisades goes back to when she was a child. “We always went to Will Rogers State Beach, and we always stopped at the Hot Dog Show and Wil Wright’s ice cream shop,” she said. “It was a little slice of heaven, here.”
As a teenager, she came to the Palisades because “I was a cheerleader for Hollywood High School and we loved to play the Palisades because the boys were so cute,” Crosby said. “They had the cutest boys in the league.”
After her first marriage to Geoffrey Edwards ended, she came to the Palisades to go hiking with friends. “I met my future husband [Ken Sylk, a playwright] in 1990 in what is now our living room,” Crosby said.
Eventually a hike turned into a romance and that turned into a marriage. “I was living in West Hollywood and my husband was living here,” Crosby said. “We thought maybe we should start over with our own place, somewhere new. But my husband persevered about staying here. I’m so glad he did.”
They originally rented, but then the landlord decided to sell and gave them the first opportunity to buy. “We love it,” Crosby said. “The house is 100 years old and one of the original Palisades homes.”
Crosby has extensive credits in television and movies but might be best known for her role as Lt. Tasha Yar on Star Trek. She also played Romulan Commander Sela in subsequent episodes.
She has participated in Star Trek conventions held throughout the United States.
“God love the Trekkies,” Crosby said. “They are a loyal group and devoted to the characters and the show.”
She plans to attend a convention in New Jersey and a second in Raleigh this summer. At the beginning of 2024, she will join 14 other actors on Trekkie cruise to Aruba with 3,000 fans. “We do sketches and shows, and the fans love it,” she said. “I don’t know if this craze will ever go away.”
She made her film debut in 48 Hours, which was the start of an extensive career. Crosby has appeared in The Man Who Love Women, Skin Deep, Jackie Brown, Deep Impact, Miracle Mile and the Red Shoe Diaries.
She co-starred in Stephen King’s classic film Pet Sematary in 1989, with Fred Gwynne and Dale Midkiff. “I loved making the film,” she said and added that she appreciated working with King because it was “such a compelling story.” King wrote the screen play and had a cameo as a minister. He had said of all of his novels, this is the one that scared him the most.
For General Hospital fans, she appeared in a guest role as Carolyn Webber last winter. “I hadn’t done a soap since the beginning,” she said. Her first television role was in Days of Our Lives in 1980.
“We were shooting 105 pages a day,” Crosby said. “One day I had 40 pages. I just wanted to see if I could do it.”
One of her favorite television roles was in Key West with Jennifer Tilly and Fisher Stevens.
“I played the mayor,” she said. It was a comedy-drama, produced by Fox, and aired in 1993. Unfortunately, a change of top management at Fox, saw the “death” of the series. “I had such fun making that show.”
Constantly working, Crosby has appeared in numerous television series including Southland, Mad Men, NYPD Blue, The X-files, Lois and Clark, How to Get Away with Murder, The Magicians, NCIS and Creepshow.
She is the producer and host of the feature documentary Trekkies, released by Paramount Pictures.
She has no regrets about career choices, “I don’t reside in that place,” she said.
Interestingly, she auditioned five times for Ghost Busters. The role would eventually go to Sigourney Weaver, who was Bill Murray’s choice. If you wonder how Crosby would have been in the role. . . her screen test was just put on the new blue-ray version of Ghostbusters that was just released.
Now, she is supporting the writer’s strike. “They’ve got to do it. The contracts they are using don’t apply to the streaming.”
Crosby has been on the picket line several times, but said, “I worry about the ripple effect if this goes on.” All of the businesses and local people, which support filming, from cleaners to caterers to rentals, are suffering. “Streaming companies can sit this out for a long time.”
In addition to a more equitable sharing of the enormous profits that streaming companies are making, Crosby also worries about AI (artificial intelligence).
AI could be used to replace creative people. Management could “plug in the name of characters, stipulate there has to be a car chase, and the timing and there would be a script,” Crosby said, noting that actors have also overwhelmingly voted to strike if an agreement is not made with studios, streamers and production companies by June 30.
When Crosby left Star Trek by choice, her character said, “Death is that state in which one exists only in the memory of others. Which is why it is not an end. No goodbyes. Just good memories.”
Just like the characters she plays, Crosby is insightful. When asked if she had any career regrets, she said, “I’m where I should be.”