Laurette Spang-McCook

Laurette Spang-McCook (born May 16, 1951) is an American television actress. She is best known for playing the character Cassiopeia on the original Battlestar Galactica (1978).

Laurette Spang-McCook
Laurette Spang

(1951-05-16) May 16, 1951 (age 69)
Years active1972–2007
John McCook (m. 1980)


Early life/familyEdit

Spang was born in Buffalo, New York and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. During her youth, she was an active letter-writer, penning letters to actors. She was also a huge fan of the gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows and of the television Western, Bonanza. She is related to Bollywood producer-actor Stegath Dorr.

At age 16, she accompanied her father on a business trip to New York City, where she waited at the stage door of Dark Shadows. The stage guard allowed her to walk in, leading her to actress Kathryn Leigh Scott. After their meeting, Spang would answer Scott's fan mail through high-school.


The summer of her junior year, Spang auditioned to be an apprentice at Williamstown Summer Theater. A year later, Scott set up an audition for Spang at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She received a scholarship and graduated from there two years later. Following graduation in 1969, Spang returned to Michigan where she attended Adrian College, living dorm life on a small campus, but not far from her family in Ann Arbor.[citation needed]

After a Universal Studios talent agent spotted her in 1972, Spang signed a 7-year contract with the studio. She then had a succession of guest-starring roles in television series including Emergency!, Adam-12 (Episode: Venice Division), The Streets of San Francisco, The Six Million Dollar Man, Happy Days, Chase, The Secrets of Isis, Charlie's Angels and Lou Grant. Spang also appeared in the television movies Short Walk to Daylight, Runaway! and Sarah T. - Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic. She co-starred in a production of Winesburg, Ohio on KCET's Hollywood Television Theatre.[1]

Towards the end of her contract with Universal (by which time, according to People Weekly Magazine, October 2nd, 1978) [2]her money was almost exhausted and she had been evicted from an apartment she had been renting), Spang was cast as Cassiopeia in the Battlestar Galactica pilot movie, "Saga of a Star World". An initial draft of the script had her killed off in the pilot film, in which the reptiloid Ovions consumed her, almost cannibal-style. However, the character survived and the network kept her on in a regular role in the subsequent weekly series, but "Standards and Practices" (network censors) forced a change of profession upon her. (The censors would no longer allow her to be a socialator, so Glen Larson and Donald P. Bellisario had her character become a medtech in the series, beginning with "Lost Planet of the Gods, Parts 1 & 2").[1]

Spang's later acting performances were in The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, The Dukes of Hazzard and Magnum, P.I.. She took a de facto retirement from acting in 1984, though she made a brief appearance in the 2007 horror film Plot 7, which also featured her by-then husband John McCook. In 2002, Spang appeared in the Battlestar Galactica episode of Sciography documentary series on the Sci-Fi Channel in 2002. In 2003, she appeared in another Battlestar Galactica documentary included as an extra feature in the DVD box set of the series released for the series' 25th anniversary.[1]

Personal lifeEdit

Spang married actor John McCook on February 16, 1980; the couple have three children.[1]


Film and Television
Year Title Role Notes
1972 The Bold Ones: The New Doctors Real Estate Lady Episode: "Is This Operation Necessary?"
1972 Short Walk to Daylight Sandy Television film
1972 Emergency! Betsy Power Episode: "Dinner Date"
1973 Alias Smith and Jones Emma Sterling Episode: "Only Three to a Bed"
1973 Winesburg, Ohio Helen White Television film
1973 Marcus Welby, M.D. Episode: "The Panic Path"
1973 Chase Jill Bronston Episode: "Foul-Up"
1973 Runaway! Coed Television film
1973 Emergency! Sally Episode: "The Old Engine"
1973 Adam-12 Carla Rogers Episode: "Venice Division"
1973 The Streets of San Francisco Kim Episode: "Harem"
1973 Maneater Polly Television film
1973 Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law Sherry Episode: "A Girl Named Tham"
1974 Happy Days Arlene Holder Episode: "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do"
1974 The Six Million Dollar Man Yeoman Helen Maychick Episode: "Survival of the Fittest"
1974 Airport 1975 Arlene Feature film
1974 The Rangers Julie Beck Television film
1975 Emergency! Mrs. Long Episode: "Kidding"
1975 Sarah T. – Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic Nancy Television film
1975 Sunshine Cathy Episode: "Jill"
1975 Happy Days Denise Hudson Episode: "Kiss Me Sickly"
1976 The Love Boat Juanita Havlicek Television film
1976 The Secrets of Isis Ann Episode: "The Cheerleader"
1976 Gemini Man Maggie Episode: "Run, Sam, Run"
1976 Charlie's Angels Tracy Martel Episode: "Consenting Adults"
1977 McNamara's Band Helga Zimhoff TV pilot episode
1977 Happy Days Arlene Episode: "The Graduation" (Part 1)
1977 Happy Days Wendy 3-part episodes: "Hollywood"
1978 Lou Grant Joanie Hume Episodes: "Airliner" / "Spies"
1978 The Love Boat Melanie Taylor Episode: "A Very Special Girl"
1978 Man from Atlantis Amanda Trevanian Episode: "The Siren"
1978 Colorado C.I. Chris Morrison TV pilot episode
1978 Project U.F.O. Linda Collins Episode: "Sighting 4015: The Underwater Incident"
1978–79 Battlestar Galactica Cassiopeia 21 episodes, 3 of these episodes were also edited and released as a feature film in 1978
1979 B. J. and the Bear Snow White 2-part episodes: "Snow White and the Seven Lady Truckers"
1980 Barnaby Jones Lucy Episode: "The Final Victim"
1980 Tourist RoseAnne Wicker TV film
1980 Three's Company Inga Episode: "Downhill Chaser"
1981 B. J. and the Bear Snow White Episode: "B.J. and the Seven Lady Truckers: Part 2"
1981 The Love Boat Linda Episode: "Split Personality"
1981 Aloha Paradise Episode: "Blue Honeymoon"
1981 Fantasy Island Karen Saunders-Holmes Episode: "The Searcher"
1981 The Dukes of Hazzard Mindy Lou Episode: "The Fugitive"
1982 The Day the Bubble Burst Frances Pierce Television film
1984 Magnum, P.I. Marge Atherton / Zelda Fitzgerald Episode: "The Case of the Red-Faced Thespian"
2003 Galacticon Cassiopeia Video short
2007 Plot 7 Lady in White


External linksEdit