In the TNG episode Descent, Data plays a game of poker on the Holodeck with Stephen Hawking (who played himself on the show), Albert Einstein, and Isaac Newton.

Have there been any other cameo appearances by real-life people playing themselves in the Star Trek universe?

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    Shame you specified "real-life" - R2D2 was in the 2009 Star Trek! See Finally Spotted R2D2 in Star Trek. Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 11:04
  • Links no longer work. Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 14:53
  • @Flimzy: Maybe it's blocked where I am. I found the images elsewhere by JFGI. Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 19:28
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    After reading current answers and comments, I think the question should specify whether by "play oneself" it means that (a) the actors acted "naturally", just like they themselves would act in normal life, or (b) the actors were meant to embody the very persons in-universe (or simulations thereof) that they really are. Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 12:53
  • Dolly Parton appeared as a hologram version of herself in The Orville (S03E08). Technically not Star Trek but it certainly wishes it was.
    – shim
    Commented Dec 26, 2022 at 16:13

2 Answers 2


From: TvTropes "AsHimself" trope article

Stephen Hawking appeared as a hologram of himself in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He played poker with Data, Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. Notably, he is the only person to play himself (or a simulacrum of himself) in any episode of Star Trek.

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    You mean that wasn't really Newton or Einstein?!?
    – Tango
    Commented Nov 1, 2011 at 16:00
  • Good link... I wonder how well that site is kept up to date.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Nov 1, 2011 at 19:34
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    @Flimzy - generally, seems to be fairly up to date. No guarantees though. But for something like Star Trek, it seems to be (plus, I researched ~20 other resources to confirm) Commented Nov 2, 2011 at 0:41
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    Does Maury Ginsberg count? The actor Maury Ginsberg is playing a character named Maury Ginsberg, but I doubt Maury Ginsberg actually saved Woodstock, married a groovy chick with long red beads, and then become an orthodontist with 4 kids.
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 22:04
  • Some more background on Hawking's cameo in this tribute to the man.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 12:04

The closest might be Joe Piscopo, who played The Comic in "The Outrageous Okana." Since he is not given a name, but simply a title, he could possibly be playing himself. I suppose he would say, "Close, but no cigar."

  • According to Memory Alpha, Piscopo's character was listed as Ronald B. Moore on the holodeck program list. The real Ronald Moore was a visual effects coordinator on the show. Therefore, Piscopo does not play himself, and Hawking retains the honor of being the sole person to play himself on Star Trek. Source: memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Ronald_B._Moore_(comedian)
    – Brian
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 5:39

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