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John A. Billingsley is the actor best known to Star Trek fans for playing Doctor Phlox, the Denobulan chief medical officer of the Enterprise NX-01, on Star Trek: Enterprise.
He graduated Bennington College, in Bennington, VT, where he studied theatre with Nicholas Martin and literature with Bernard Malamud. John moved to Seattle, WA, upon graduation, where, over a fifteen year period, he appeared on regional stages both well and ill regarded. He toured Europe and portions of the US for a bit with a Milwaukee based experimental theatre company (Theatre X), whose production of “A History of Sexuality” featured him in such disparate roles as Sigmund Freud and the Marquis De Sade’s valet.
In 1990, John founded a Seattle based theatre company called Bookit, which was devoted to adapting fiction for the stage and which still flourishes in the Pacific Northwest. He also co-founded and acting studio in Seattle called Freehold, also still flourishing, where he taught for seven years. Always active in a limited way in Seattle-based film and TV in the ‘80’s, he decided to move to Los Angeles in 1995 to pursue those mediums more aggressively because (1) he was broke and (2) refer back to (1). After a brief and disastrous stint as a cotton candy spinner (tufts of cotton candy refused to adhere to the paper cones and instead plastered themselves on the faces and garments of frightened children), John caught a break and was cast in “NYPD Blue” as a pathetic and addled child molester.Other guest star roles followed: “The Practice”, “Profiler”, Pretender”, “Marshall Law”, “Nash Bridges”, “The X-Files”, “Time of Your Life”, “Judging Amy”, and “Arli$$,” among others. In 1999, Stephen Spielberg cast him as Prof. Miles Ballard in “The Others”. Fun, but it didn’t last long. Apres the demise of “The Others”, more guest starring: “The West Wing”, “Six Feet Under”, “Gideon’s Crossing”, “Stargate”, “The Huntress” and “Angel.” In 2000, Billingsley was cast as Dr. Phlox in “Star Trek: Enterprise.” Dr. Phlox was an eccentric alien with a whimsical sense of humor, and John wore the requisite rubber head for four seasons. Billingsley also has appeared on “Nip/Tuck”, Cold Case”, “The Closer”, “The Ghost Whisperer”, a whole bunch of CSI’s (how many of ‘em are there now?), and a bunch of shows he can guarantee that you have never heard of. (Notice how he ends sentences with prepositions, willy-nilly!) In a recurring role, he played the evil Vice-President’s hapless (and toothless) brother on “Prison Break”, and he molested more children on “Without a Trace” and “Criminal Mind”. (He finally said, to his agents, “Hey, enough with the molesting, already, I walk around and folks give me the “stinkeye”) His most recent TV credits include “NCIS”, The Mentalist”, “Outlaw”, “Scrubs”, “Leverage”, “Eli Stone”, “Suits”, and Alan Ball’s “True Blood”, where his recurring role as Coroner Mike Spenser required him to parade around buck nekkid for the better part of 9 episodes. Oh, yeah, he was also blown to kingdom come on “2 4”. Recent failed pilots in which Mr. Billingsley appeared: “Me and Lee”, (A crazed Lee Majors kidnaps and “bionicizes’ a schlub – no, not John, he was the schlub’s chiropractor – and sends him forth in the world to go fight crime – OY!), “Atlanta”, “The World According to Barnes”, and “Suspect”. Do not attribute failure of aforesaid pilots to Mr. Billingsley.
In, 2006, John was cast as a series regular on the ABC show “The Nine”, where he played Egan Foote, a depressed underachiever who gained a new lease on life after helping (sorta) to foil a bank robbery. He co-starred with Tim Daly, Kim Rave, Scott Wolf, Owen Yeoman and Chi McBride (all of whom have gone on to greater success in other projects, the Rat bastards!) Re: “The Nine” – critical plaudits did not lead to commercial success. R.I.P. Recently he completed 6 episodes of a new show called “26 Miles”, playing a pugnacious divorce attorney: this show is still looking for a home, in syndication-ville. Call if you have one.
Films along the way include “Out of Time” opposite Denzell Washington, “American Summer”, “High Crimes”, “The Glass House”, “White Oleander”, “Born to be Wild”, “I Love You to Death”, “A Cinderella Story”, “12 Dogs of Christmas”, “The Least of These”, “Sironia”, “Losing Control”, “Trade of Innocents”, “Red Line”, “ The Invisible Thief” and “2012”. Fans (and his best friend, Phil) continue to remind him of other films that he did that he is too embarrassed to reference here.
A comprehensive list of every gig he auditioned for but didn’t get would be spectacularly long, and kind of a bummer, so he won’t go there.