Maggie Thrett, the actress and singer who most memorably played Ruth in the “Mudd’s Women” episode of the original. Star Trek, her late family announced. She was 76.
“Mudd’s Women” is one of the most memorable shows of the 1960s Star Trekin no small part because it featured three stunningly beautiful women (Thrett, Karen Steele, and Susan Denberg) who seem to have a strange power over the male members of the Enterprise crew—except for Spock, of course.
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The women are on their way to a mining colony where they are to become the wives of the wealthy but lonely men who mine the precious dilithium crystals. Their secret is that they are made both beautiful and irresistible by taking a so-called “Venus” drug given to them by one of the series’ most memorable villains, Harry Mudd (Roger Carmel).
Ironically, although Carmel was her neighbor, Thrett had to audition for the role. She had no idea what the show actually was.
“I’m shocked that years later I’m best known for doing this show,” she told writer Tom Lisanti in 2017. “I’m forever in television history. At least it wasn’t bad so I’m not ashamed of it. Some company contacted me to sell my autograph on these Star Trek cards. They pay me for and they resell at these Star Trek conventions. I was invited once, but it didn’t work out.”
Speaking of pay, Thrett told Lisanti that she has to fight for her pay from the show.
“I remember we got to Golden Overtime that day [of filming]. We were there from about 4 in the morning until about 9 or 10 at night. You are paid regular overtime and are working triple overtime. They didn’t want to pay,” said Thrett. “I had to fight for it through the Screen Actors Guild. They don’t like it when you do that and it hurts your chances of being on the show again. I got my money and no surprise was never offered again. Years later, I received a letter from Gene Roddenberry to release my remains and donate them to his charity. I declined.”
Thrett, who was born Diane Pine in 1946, appeared in a number of big-name shows of the era, including The wild, wild west, I dream of Jeannie and McCloud. She also starred opposite Christopher Jones, Yvette Mimieux and Judy Pace in the 1968 comedy. Three in the attic, which became the highest-grossing that year on the American International Pictures list. The film and Thrett made a brief appearance in Quentin Tarantino’s film Once Upon a Time in Hollywoodwhere a TV commercial for the film plays on the TV in the background during one scene.
As a singer, she had a minor hit with her single “Soupy”, which was produced by Bob Crewe, who convinced her to change her name. The song is an appropriate – for 1965 – rough and energetic arrangement with lots of horns. You can listen to it below.
In May 1970, Thrett was involved in a traffic accident while riding Gram Parsons’ motorcycle. Although she was apparently unharmed (Parsons sustained significant injuries), Thrett turned her back on the entertainment business soon after this.
Her uncle, ironically named Chris Pine, wrote earlier this week: “She left Hollywood and at first I was told it was because she ‘didn’t make it’ but later I found out she had become ill at ease with the industry and how it was. treated women. She kept much of this to herself, only opening up about her own experiences when she was much older and finally able to enjoy some of the benefits that came with being on Star Trek.”
She even changed her mind about conferences, according to tournament agent Scott Ray.
“In the last five years of her life, Maggie made two appearances,” Ray wrote. “She was amazed at how her career had held up…and gained new fans who weren’t even alive when she did it [Star Trek].”