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AREA ACTOR FINDS BREAKOUT ROLE IN MAKEUP ON `STAR TREK' SHOW.

Byline: Victoria Giraud People and Places

The face that stares fiercely out from the television screen is full of scaly ridges. The ridges surround the dark eyes; a spoon-shaped ridge travels from the forehead down the nose. A prominent notched ridge stands out from the back of his neck. The reptilian character is Gul Dukat from ``Deep Space Nine,'' a spinoff of ``Star Trek: The Next Generation.''

Malibu Lake resident Marc Alaimo, an actor for the past 25 years, has made this unusual creature a popular, recurring character on the TV show. ``They gave me a lot of freedom to develop him,'' Marc says of his once one-dimensional villain. ``I started inserting other characteristics - intelligence, reason. I don't know which way Dukat is going to go. He's a (bad guy) one minute; he saves a life the next minute.''

Marc is a classically trained actor with many years of off-Broadway and repertory work all over the country, but he enjoys the Dukat character. ``The best artists are the dangerous ones. They're fun to watch; that's why I've been so successful all these years. People enjoy a fantasy out of the realm of the normal, of the safe.''

Marc has played four different ``Star Trek'' characters, including one called Gul Macet who was the original commander of the ship Tarok Nor. Dukat has been the most enduring.

Makeup for the character, which is done by Michael Westmore, consists of seven prosthetics and used to take almost four hours. Now that it's been perfected to a speedy two hours, there are no more 2 a.m. makeup calls.

``Star Trek's'' popularity is worldwide, and Marc is invited to speak at the frequent ``Star Trek'' conventions. ``I've gotten to go all over the world - Holland, London, Germany, Australia. I travel like crazy,'' Marc said with amazement. He spends his time at the conventions signing autographs, talking to fans and participating in question and answer sessions.

Growing up in Milwaukee, Marc was a ``troubled youth on my way to a very bad life when a high school speech teacher put me in a play and opened up emotional doors in terms of self-realization.'' He went on to achieve excellent grades, become class president, and be accepted at Marquette University where he studied drama.

During the idealistic 1960s, when John F. Kennedy was president and Marc was a young man, ``Theater was taken seriously. I never intended to be in TV or movies.'' To pursue those theater dreams he went to New York, where he lived for seven years.

In addition to Shakespeare, Moliere, Ionesco, etc., Marc compromised and did soap operas. ``I never had an agent. I could hustle, and I always got work.'' He fondly remembers the struggling years living with his wife in a five-story walk-up. ``Those were the best years. I don't know how we did it, but I kept surviving.''

Marc brought his family to Los Angeles when his son Michael, now 25, was 2 years old. His character in the soap opera ``Somerset'' was killed, and he wanted ``to test my wings'' in Hollywood. He found work in two weeks - ending up as a dead body in ``Kojak.''

When filming the movie ``Helter Skelter'' about the Charles Manson murders in the Santa Monica Mountains, he discovered Malibu Lake. Marc and his wife would picnic in the area, little realizing that some years later he would come back and buy a little shack in the area and end up making a lovely home from it.

Over the years, Marc has worked with popular action stars like Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. He's also done regional repertory with Charles Kimbro, who plays a popular character from ``Murphy Brown.'' He remembers a dramatic moment on stage with Kimbro when in the heat of the speech he accidentally spit on Kimbro's nose. They both had to fight the urge to burst into laughter at the large glob of spit and ruin the scene.

Although his acting career is going well, Marc says, ``I wish I could fill the void in my life. There's nobody to share it with.'' A second marriage - he has a daughter, Ariel Rose, 7 - ended in divorce.

When he's not acting, Marc is working on improving his home. He is also a partner in a new Southwestern garden restaurant, Adobe Cantina, scheduled to open in Agoura Hills this month. Marc's excited about the new business. He even has a specialty - escarole soup - that he might someday cook especially for the restaurant.

Even though Marc says he has nothing left to prove - ``I've done everything an actor could hope to do'' - he is proud of his work on ``Deep Space Nine.''

``All of `Star Trek' is a mirror of our culture,'' Marc observed. ``Where do you get a chance to play this? I'm proud of this; it's pretty honest work.''

CAPTION(S):

Photo

Photo: (Color) Marc Alaimo, who plays in ``Deep Space Nine,'' will open an Agoura Hills restaurant.

Tina Gerson/Daily News
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 17, 1996
Words:835
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