Remembering Charlene Polite: A Star Trek Alumna and Gifted Actress

Charlene Polite, a talented actress who graced both the stage and screen, left her mark on Hollywood in the 1960s and 70s. Though her career was cut short, her contributions deserve recognition. This blog post dives into Polite’s life and career, exploring her educational background, notable roles, and legacy.

Early Life and Education

Born Charlene Ann Miller in 1943, Polite’s passion for acting blossomed during her college years at Youngstown State University. There, she met her first husband, poet Frank Polite, and graduated with a degree in Theater and English Literature.

Honing her Craft in Regional Theater

Following graduation, Polite honed her acting skills in regional theater productions. Her dedication led her to the prestigious Pittsburgh Playhouse, where she received a postgraduate scholarship. This period further solidified her foundation for a successful acting career.

Transitioning to Television and Film

By the late 1960s, Polite transitioned to television and film. She landed an uncredited role in the Steve McQueen action classic “Bullitt” (1968). Soon after, she secured guest appearances on popular shows like “My Friend Tony,” “Mayberry R.F.D.,” and “Hawaii Five-O.”

A Memorable Role in Star Trek

In 1969, Polite’s career reached a significant milestone when she portrayed Vanna in the iconic Star Trek: The Original Series episode “The Cloud Minders.” This role cemented her place in science fiction television history for Star Trek fans worldwide.

Continued Success on Television

Throughout the 1970s, Polite continued to appear in various television shows. She graced audiences with her performances in series like “Cannon,” “The Doris Day Show,” “Mod Squad,” and “The Blue Knight.”

Personal Life

Charlene Polite married actor Ramon Bieri in 1970. The couple later divorced in 1979. Though details remain private, Polite also dedicated time to raising a stepson.

Later Years and Legacy

Sadly, Polite passed away in 1999 at the age of 55 from complications of breast cancer. Despite a relatively brief acting career, her dedication to the craft and captivating screen presence left a lasting impression.


Charlene Polite’s legacy lives on through her captivating performances. Her dedication to theater and her captivating screen presence continue to inspire aspiring actors and Star Trek fans alike.


  • What was Charlene Polite’s most famous role?

While she had many notable roles, her portrayal of Vanna in Star Trek: The Original Series is likely her most widely recognized performance.

  • When did Charlene Polite appear in Star Trek?

Polite appeared in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “The Cloud Minders” which aired in 1969.

  • In what other shows did Charlene Polite act?

Throughout her career, Polite appeared in numerous television shows including “My Friend Tony,” “Mayberry R.F.D.,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Cannon,” “The Doris Day Show,” “Mod Squad,” and “The Blue Knight.”

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