(written from a Production point of view)
Mark Rolston (born 7 December 1956; age 58) is an actor who made his first appearance in the Star Trek universe in 1994, playing Lieutenant junior grade Walter Pierce in the Star Trek: The Next Generation seventh season episode "Eye of the Beholder". He later appeared in two episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise: in "Canamar" as Kuroda and in "The Augments" as Captain Magh.
Rolston was born in Baltimore, Maryland and studied acting at the London Drama Center, making his stage debut in 1976. In 1981, he toured many US cities in the title role of Richard II for the National Shakespeare Company. He is known primarily for his multiple film roles, which are often villains. He is also known for his recurring roles in such television series as Profiler, The Shield, and Cold Case.
Both Rolston and Star Trek Generations actress Jenette Goldstein made their film debuts playing privates in the widely-acclaimed 1986 science fiction film Aliens. They later co-starred together in Lethal Weapon 2, which also featured Sherman Howard.
Rolston had a role in 1990's RoboCop 2, in which Peter Weller played the title role. This film also featured Bill Bolender, Roger Aaron Brown, Gabriel Damon, Robert DoQui, John Glover, Galyn Görg, Tzi Ma, Jeff McCarthy, and Phil Rubenstein, and was written by Frank Miller. Rolston then played a detective, along with Richard Riehle, in the 1993 thriller Body of Evidence. Michael Forest and Frank Langella were featured in this film, as well.
Perhaps Rolston's best-known film role is that of "bull queer" inmate Bogs Diamond in the acclaimed, Academy Award-nominated prison drama The Shawshank Redemption. Many other Star Trek alumni had supporting roles in this film: Brian Brophy, Clancy Brown, Jude Ciccolella, Bob Gunton, Don McManus, William Sadler, and the aforementioned Bill Bolender.
Rolston's subsequent film credits have included the 1996 action blockbuster Eraser (with James Cromwell and Patrick Kilpatrick), the 1998 comedy Rush Hour (with Tzi Ma). More recently, he was seen in the Academy Award-winning 2006 crime drama The Departed and the 2008 horror film Saw V, the fifth entry in the highly successful Saw franchise.
Notable guest appearances
Rolston was seen in the pilot episode of the CBS mystery/drama series Wiseguy in 1987, along with series regular Jonathan Banks. In 1989, Leo Penn directed him in an episode of Matlock with Albert Hall and Glenn Morshower. Rolston appeared in four episodes of the mystery series Murder, She Wrote, between 1992 and 1995. Among the actors he worked with on this series were Bairbre Dowling, Fionnula Flanagan, George Hearn, Richard Lynch, Dakin Matthews, Cyril O'Reilly, the aforementioned Richard Riehle, Andrew Robinson, and Carolyn Seymour.
Outside of his appearances on Star Trek, Rolston has guest-starred on several other science fiction television shows. He played Karl Mueller in the Babylon 5 episode "The Quality of Mercy" (1994), along with series regular Bill Mumy. (Andreas Katsulas was a regular on Babylon 5, as well, but did not appear in this episode.) The following year, he was seen on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, which starred Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane.
Rolston has also appeared in two episodes of the hit science fiction series The X-Files. For his first episode, 1994's "Red Museum," he was directed by Win Phelps. He returned to the series in 2000 for the episode "Sein und Zeit," playing a different role and working with Kim Darby and Spencer Garrett. His subsequent sci-fi TV guest appearances include episodes of Harsh Realm (with Terry O'Quinn and John Pyper-Ferguson), Dark Angel (directed by Michael Rhodes) and The Dead Zone (starring Nicole de Boer and David Ogden Stiers).
In addition, Rolston appeared in an early episode of the NBC medical drama ER (with John Chandler and Christopher Darga), two episodes of the NBC drama NYPD Blue (one with series regulars Gordon Clapp and Sharon Lawrence, the other with Clapp and John Billingsley), an episode of J.J. Abrams' action drama Alias (with Greg Grunberg and Keone Young), and the CBS crime drama Shark (starring Jeri Ryan). He has also appeared on all three CSI television series, including a recurring role on CSI: Miami (see recurring roles below).
Rolston has played recurring characters on several television series. During the first (and only) season of Brooklyn South, he played Detective Lou Conroy. He appeared in three episodes, working with James B. Sikking and Titus Welliver, who were regulars on the series.
Rolston then played Donald Lucas in several episodes of the mystery drama series Profiler. Among his co-stars on this series were Michelle C. Bonilla, Timothy Carhart, Dennis Christopher, Matthew Kimbrough, Julianna McCarthy, Christopher Michael, Stephanie Niznik, and James Read. Richard Compton directed one of Rolston's Profiler episodes.
In 2003, Rolston made several appearances on the FX drama series The Shield as private detective Gordie Liman. Fellow Star Trek alumni Michael Jace, Jay Karnes, and Benito Martinez were main cast members on this series. The following year, Rolston appeared in two episodes of 24 as Bruce Paxton. His character assisted in breaking into the home of Sherry Palmer (played by Penny Johnson) in search of evidence linking her to the killing of Alan Milliken (played by Albert Hall). Other Star Trek performers appearing on 24 at the time were Alexandra Lydon, Glenn Morshower, and Zachary Quinto.
Rolston played FBI Agent Glen Cole in three episodes of CSI: Miami, working alongside Michael Buchman Silver in two of them. One of these episodes also featured Cyia Batten and Scottie Thompson. In 2007, Rolston played Ari Gordon in four episodes of Cold Case. Star Trek: Voyager regular Roxann Dawson is a producer on this series and also directed one of Rolston's episodes. In 2008, Rolston appeared as the demon Alastair in two episodes of Supernatural, executive produced by Kim Manners.
Other notable appearances
Rolston appeared in the 1998 mini-series From the Earth to the Moon, playing astronaut Gus Grissom, after whom the USS Grissom was named. Others who appeared in the mini-series are Sam Anderson, David Andrews, Dan Butler, David Clennon, Ronny Cox, Brett Cullen, J. Downing, Ann Cusack, David Drew Gallagher, Jerry Hardin, Clint Howard, Daniel Hugh Kelly, John Carroll Lynch, Dakin Matthews, Kieran Mulroney, Conor O'Farrell, Holmes R. Osborne, Ethan Phillips, Harve Presnell, Stephen Root, Alan Ruck, and Winona Ryder.
Rolston had a supporting role in the 1997 TV movie George Wallace, along with Clarence Williams III and Cliff DeYoung. He also appeared in the 1999 TV movie Aftershock: Earthquake in New York with Roger Cross, Sharon Lawrence, and Mitch Ryan. Rolston's more recent TV movie credits include 2008's Jane Doe: Eye of the Beholder with John Fleck, Julianna McCarthy, Natalia Nogulich, and Alan Oppenheimer.
Other Trek connections
Additional projects in which Rolston appeared with other Star Trek performers include:
- Master of the Game (1984 TV mini-series) with Cliff DeYoung
- The Fourth Protocol (1987 film) with Joanna Cassidy and Matt Frewer
- Perry Mason: The Case of the Lethal Lesson (1989 TV movie) with Brian Keith
- 'A Sinful Life (1989 film) with Dennis Christopher and Shelly Desai
- Prancer (1989 film) with Loren Janes
- Heat Wave (1990 TV movie) with Robert Hooks
- Tales from the Crypt episode "Lower Berth" (1990) with Stefan Gierasch and Jeff Yagher; written by Fred Dekker
- The Comrades of Summer (1992 TV movie) with John Fleck
- Scanner Cop (1994 film) with Richard Lynch
- The Set Up (1995 film) with Tommy "Tiny" Lister, Jr. and Roy Jenson
- Best of the Best 3: No Turning Back (1995 film) with Christopher McDonald and Michael Bailey Smith
- Humanoids of the Deep (1996 TV movie) with Clint Howard and Bert Remsen
- JAG episode "Recovery" (1996) with Scott Thompson Baker
- Daylight (1996 film) with Rosemary Forsyth
- Hard Rain (1998 film) with Christian Slater and Anthony Montgomery)
- I Woke Up Early the Day I Died (1998 film) with Ron Perlman, Carel Struycken, Steven Weber, and Lee Arenberg
- Letters from a Killer (1998 film) with Tina Lifford, Bruce McGill, and Don Stark
- Angel episode "Blood Money" (2001) with Sam Anderson
- Scorcher (2002 film) with John Rhys-Davies
- Curb Your Enthusiasm episode "The Corpse-Sniffing Dog" (2002) with Don Stark
- CSI: NY episode "The Dove Commission" (2005) with Mike Starr
- Chasing Ghosts (2005 film) with Patrick Kilpatrick, Robert Miano, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Sean Whalen, and Tom Wright
- The Closer episode "Grave Doubts" (2007) with James Avery and Raymond Cruz
- Reaper episode "Charged" (2007) with Ray Wise
- Protecting the King (2007 film) with Dey Young
- Asylum (2008 film) directed by David R. Ellis
- The Mentalist episode "The Thin Red Line" (2008) with Gregory Itzin
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode "One to Go" (2009) with Wallace Langham