Roanoke Times
                 Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: TUESDAY, May 2, 1995                   TAG: 9505020092
SECTION: EXTRA                    PAGE: 2   EDITION: METRO 
DATELINE:                                 LENGTH: Medium


Chances are that Jennifer Lien could walk smack dab into the middle of a convention held in her honor without a single Trekker recognizing her as the actress who plays Kes on ``Star Trek: Voyager.''

``Do you really think so?'' Lien asks, smiling slyly, as she relaxes in her trailer on the Paramount lot in Hollywood, Calif.

Absolutely, she's told.

``Actually, that's good,'' notes the warm, friendly and unaffected young actress, who says she likes her anonymity.

Dressed down in blue-jean overalls, a solid white T-shirt and black Keds sneakers, her long and curly blond hair temporarily freed from Kes' wig, Lien looks like any other 20-year-old. Only the big pools of blue that make up her eyes betray the fact that this is the same young woman who breathes life into ``Voyager's'' gentle, curious Ocampa.

Back in January, viewers knew only that Kes was the great love of Voyager handyman Neelix (Ethan Phillips) and that the character's species had a lifespan of a mere nine years.

Since then, fans have discovered the depth of the Kes-Neelix relationship. They've also watched Kes develop her telepathic abilities and have seen her become a real part of the crew as the doctor's (Robert Picardo) medical assistant.

``Most of what Kes sees and encounters in each episode is entirely new and fresh for her,'' says Lien, a somewhat intense interview subject who, in an effort to provide as complete an answer as possible, pauses to think at length after each question is posed. ``She is just so open and alive and interested in everything that happens around her.

``I love that,'' Lien adds. ``It's so freeing for me as an actress to come in here every day and play her because there's always something new for me to react to, to feel, to experience.''

Lien, who's admittedly never before worked on ``anything anywhere near as big as `Voyager''' in her pre-``Trek'' career, offers the highest praise for the show, its cast and its overall philosophy.

She saves her warmest words, though, for Phillips, the genuinely likable actor who is Neelix to her Kes on-screen and a good friend off-camera.

``Ethan is a total professional, so giving, and he's a very funny man too,'' Lien says. ``I love sharing so many of my scenes with him.

``Kes and Neelix have a relationship that is very much one of the give-and-take kind. I'm not a writer, so I'm not sure where they are going to go with it in the long run.

``But Ethan and I trust the writers and [executive producers] Rick [Berman], Michael [Piller] and Jeri [Taylor], and we're looking forward to playing whatever the relationship ultimately becomes.''

A native of Illinois, Lien always knew she was destined to act. By the tender age of 13 she was already on stage, appearing in such plays as ``The Tempest'' and ``Othello.''

After guest-starring on an episode of the Oprah Winfrey televison drama ``Brewster Place,'' Lien moved to New York City to tackle the role of the orphaned Hannah on the popular soap opera ``Another World.''

Not long before landing her role on ``Voyager,'' Lien co-starred on the short-lived sitcom ``Phenom'' and provided the sexy voice of a B-movie star in an episode of the animated Jon Lovitz series ``The Critic.''

``Acting is just such an incredible art form,'' Lien says, as she prepares to head into the ``Voyager'' makeup department for a wig fitting. ``It has let me do and be so many different things.

``Really, I don't know where else I'd be able to play an alien like Kes. So I'm one of those rare people who loves what they do and can actually make a living doing it.''


Creation at the Omni Hotel in Baltimore, featuring Robert Duncan McNeill. (May 13 only; call 818-409-0960.)


If you have Trek or science-fiction news or trivia to share - or if you have questions relating to ``Star Trek'' - write to Ian Spelling, care of The New York Times Syndicate, 122 E. 42nd St., New York, N.Y. 10168. Be sure to enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you would like a reply.

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