Actress Denise Crosby has the unique distinction of being the first actor to ask to leave the main cast of a Trek series when she walked away before finishing the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She later returned for some guest spots and even did a couple of Star Trek "Trekkies" documentaries so she never fully left Star Trek behind, but in a new interview Crosby says that she has no regrets and that she was "miserable" in that first season of TNG.
Crosby: I was miserable on TNG
Denise Crosby famously walked away from being a member of the main cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation shortly before the end of the first season. Her character of Tasha Yar was killed off in the episode "Skin of Evil." In an interview with the official Star Trek site, Crosby says that with everything she knows now she would do it again, and she explained…
I was miserable. I couldn’t wait to get off that show. I was dying. This was not an overnight decision. I was grateful to have made that many episodes, but I didn’t want to spend the next six years going “Aye, aye, captain,” and standing there, in the same uniform, in the same position on the bridge. It just scared the hell out of me that this was what I was going to be doing for the next X-amount of years. I think you have to take your chances. I was really young. I didn’t have to make house payments or put kids through private school or support people. I was free to make those kinds of decisions. I’d been in acting school really dreaming of playing all kinds of different things. Whether it’ll happen or not, you don’t know, but you’ve got to give yourself a chance. God forbid you go through your life thinking, “What if?”
The actress also notes how she never expected to return to the series:
I was surprised on so many levels. First of all, my character was dead. But, I did leave on really good terms. Gene Roddenberry and I met one on one in his office. There was no animosity. I don’t know that anybody really wanted me to go. I think it stirred up a lot of things in all the other cast members. I’m not exactly sure what, but you’ve got to question your own commitment or your own place, what you’re doing there. I think it stirs up stuff. However, Gene and I were very clear about what was going on. He said to me, “I don’t want you to go, but I get it. I get why you’re leaving. I was a young writer at one time and I was hungry and I was frustrated, and I get that.” We hugged and that was it. He got where I was coming from. So I was very happy to come back for “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” and in a certain way I had more to do in that episode than I’d ever had to do before.
Crosby appearing at her own funeral in "Skin of Evil" and returning in "Yesterday’s Enteprise"