The Only Major Actors Still Alive From Battlestar Galactica

The premise of Glen A. Larson's 1978 sci-fi series "Battlestar Galactica" was high-concept and complex. It took place far from Earth, at the end of humanity's millennium-long war with a species of robots called the Cylons. The Cylons themselves were built by a long-extinct race of humanoid reptiles, and they seem poised to offer the same fate to humankind. Feeling that the writing was on the wall, a human named Count Baltar (John Colicos) betrayed humanity by siding with the Cylons, putting the robots hot on the trail of the Battlestar Galactica, a massive starship carrying most of the galaxy's last-known humans. Their goal is to find a long-lost "thirteenth tribe," a human colony that was said to have settled on a distant planet called Earth. 

The assumption for viewers was that "Battlestar Galactica" was set in the distant future, but at the end of the 24th episode of its only season, it was revealed — via TV footage of the moon landing — that it was actually set in Earth's 20th century. A follow-up series, "Galactica 1980," was set in, well, 1980. The original series' two-hour pilot was released theatrically. In 2004, the series was rebooted again, this time to much more acclaim and success. The 2004 version ran for 76 episodes over four seasons and led to a prequel spinoff called "Caprica." If you want to hear a nerd talk for three straight hours, ask them about the 2004 "Battlestar Galactica."

Several cast members of the original "Battlestar Galactica" cast — that is, the ones that appeared in all 24 episodes — are still with us, and a lot of them are still working. 

Dirk Benedict (Lieutenant Starbuck)

The handsome Dirk Benedict played the roguish Lieutenant Starbuck in the original "Battlestar Galactica," one of two Han Solo types in the series (the other was Captain Apollo, played by the late Richard Hatch). He was the drinker/gambler/smoker of the series and the show's most lighthearted character. 

Benedict was, of course, a mainstay in 1970s and 1980s television, having appeared in many of the hit shows of the day, including "Hawaii Five-O," "Charlie's Angels," and "The Love Boat." Prior to "Battlestar," Benedict was one of the main cast members in the short-lived action series "Chopper One," and would go on to play the dash-handsome Templeton "Faceman" Peck in the ultra-popular "The A-Team." He would also turn up on "Murder, She Wrote," "Baywatch," and "Walker, Texas Ranger." There is a 100% chance you've seen Benedict in something. 

Benedict has stayed connected to his two biggest roles, lending his voice to a "Battlestar Galactica" video game in 2003 and providing a cameo for the 2010 "The A-Team" feature film. Prior to "Battlestar," Benedict appeared in a few exciting B-movies, including the Twiggy thriller "W" and the reptile flick "Sssssss." 

Noah Hathaway (Boxey)

The youngest member of the original "Battlestar Galactica" cast was Noah Hathaway, who played Boxey and served as the face of the children on the Galactica. Boxey was often seen playing with his semi-furry, semi-metallic robot dog, Muffit. Muffit was played by a chimpanzee named Evolution, a.k.a. Evie. Sadly, Evie passed away in 2004 at the age of 34, but Hathaway is still alive and kicking at the age of 52. 

Hathaway is also known to Gen-Xers the world over as Atreyu, the young adventurer from Wolfgang Petersen's 1984 fantasy film "The NeverEnding Story." He also played a character named Harry Potter (seriously) in the notorious 1986 horror movie "Troll." In the mid-'80s, Hathaway more or less left acting to pursue his education, where he briefly studied dance before suffering an injury. He would move into the study of martial arts, and Hathaway is now learned in various schools and techniques of karate and Muay Thai boxing. He'll also likely be able to fix your motorcycle for you, as he regularly builds and races his own. 

Hathaway has turned up in movies since the 1980s, appearing in the 2012 cult film "Sushi Girl" and the 2018 Walter Koenig film "Blue Dream." He also still turns up at conventions to sign autographs. 

Herbert Jefferson, Jr. (Lieutenant Boomer)

The capable Viper pilot Lieutenant Boomer was Starbuck's best friend and stood as the logical, more pragmatic balance to the well-known party boy. Boomer was played by actor Herbert Jefferson, Jr., who recently turned 77. The story goes that Jefferson was offered the role of Boomer after the producers' first choice, Terry Carter, was injured in a freak roller skating accident. By happenstance, Carter was also cast in "Battlestar Galactica," but as Colonel Tigh. 

Both Jefferson and Dirk Benedict would reprise their roles for "Galactica 1980." 

Jefferson had a modest acting career, having appeared in the pilot for "Airwolf" as the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise (the aircraft carrier, not the starship). He was also in the pilot for the hit series "Knight Rider." Before "Battlestar," Jefferson appeared in several Emmy-nominated miniseries, such as "Rich Man, Poor Man" and the 1974 TV movie "The Law" starring Judd Hirsch. Later, Jefferson appeared in two films, the 1995 Oscar-nominated hit "Apollo 13" and the virus blockbuster "Outbreak."

Incidentally, "Outbreak" was directed by Wolfgang Petersen, the director of "The NeverEnding Story." One likes to think that Jefferson and Hathway traded stories about their old boss. 

Terry Carter (Colonel Tigh)

As mentioned above, actor Terry Carter was up for the role of Boomer before his skating injury, but he was given the role of Colonel Tigh instead. Colonel Tigh was the executive officer on board the Galactica and was the friend and confidant of Colonel Adama (played by the late Lorne Greene). He was the stricter and more pragmatic of the commanding officers and lent an air of authority to the ship. In December of 2023, Carter will turn 95. 

Carter began his acting career on Broadway, appearing in multiple Broadway and Off-Broadway productions before landing a long-time gig as a radio newscaster in the 1960s. He would switch back and forth between acting and hosting documentaries and instructional programs for PBS. He appeared in "Benji" and "Foxy Brown," but also in "The Katherine Dunham Technique" and "JazzMasters." He was a regular character on the 1970s series "McCloud." Most recently, he appeared in the 2007 series "Hotel Caesar." 

His authority wasn't just a note he could play in a fictional TV series. Carter was a legitimate authority. 

Carter won an Emmy in 1985 for his series "K*I*D*S," a series devoted to promoting racial understanding, produced by his own production company, Meta/4 Productions. 

Maren Jensen (2nd Lieutenant Athena)

2nd Lieutenant Athena was the sister of Apollo (the late Richard Hatch) and the daughter of Adama. She oversaw a scanner on the Galactica. She was played by actress and model Maren Jensen, who just turned 67. 

Jensen didn't have a massively prolific acting career, having shown up only in single episodes of "The Love Boat," "Fantasy Island," and "The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries." She also appeared in the thriller "Beyond the Reef" and Wes Craven's 1981 horror film "Deadly Blessing." After that, she retired from acting, having contracted Epstein-Barr Virus.

Jensen would go on to create her own cosmetics line, Stila Cosmetics, which is currently available at Sephora. Just a few years ago, with her business partner Laura Shoemaker, she founded the protein bar company Glow Beauty Fuel. She appeared in 21 episodes of the series.

Laurette Spang (Cassiopeia)

Cassiopeia, played by Lauren Spang, was a medtech on board the Battlestar Galactica and, over the course of the series, pursued a romantic relationship with Starbuck. Cassiopeia used to work as a "socialator," which was sci-fi speak for a sex worker. She carried no stigma, though, and was eventually treated with respect. 

Laura Spang became Laura Spang-McCook in 1980. Spang-McCook began her acting career in 1972, having been spotted by a talent scout at Universal Studios. She, like many of her co-stars, worked hard on the contemporary TV circuit, and she appeared in several episodes of "Emergency!," as well as "Happy Days," "Charlie's Angels," "The Love Boat," and the TV movie "Sarah T.: Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic." She appeared in one feature film (not counting the "Battlestar" features), the disaster flick "Airport 1975." 

Evidently, Cassiopeia's profession as a sex worker made ABC's executives a little antsy, and the showrunners had to change per profession to a medtech in response.

Spang-McCook retired from acting in 1984. She turned 72 this year.