Persis Khambatta

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Persis Khambatta
Persis Khambatta.jpg
Persis Khambatta in 1978
Born(1948-10-02)2 October 1948
Died18 August 1998(1998-08-18) (aged 49)
Years active19681998
Title Femina Miss India 1965
Spouse(s)Cliff Taylor (1981–1981)
Naren Parekh (1986-?)
Beauty pageant titleholder
Femina Miss India 1965
(Miss Photogenic)
Miss Universe 1965

Persis Khambatta (2 October 1948 18 August 1998) was an Indian model and actress who played Lieutenant Ilia in the feature film Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).

India Country in South Asia

India, also known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

<i>Star Trek: The Motion Picture</i> 1979 American science fiction film directed by Robert Wise

Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a 1979 American science fiction film directed by Robert Wise and based on the television series Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry, who also served as its producer. It is the first installment in the Star Trek film series, and stars the cast of the original television series. In the film, a mysterious and immensely powerful alien cloud known as V'Ger approaches Earth, destroying everything in its path. Admiral James T. Kirk assumes command of the recently refitted Starship USS Enterprise, to lead it on a mission to save the planet and determine V'Ger's origins.


Early life

Persis Khambatta was born in Bombay. [1] Her father left her family when she was two years old. [2] She first gained fame when a set of her pictures casually taken by a well-known Bombay photographer[ who? ] was used for a successful campaign for a popular soap brand. This eventually led to her becoming a model. She entered and won the Femina Miss India contest in 1965. She was the second winner of Femina Miss India and third Indian woman to participate in the Miss Universe pageant. At the Femina Miss India contest, she also won the Miss Photogenic award. [3]

Miss India or Femina Miss India is a national beauty pageant in India that annually selects representatives to compete in Miss World, one of the Big Four major international beauty pageants. It is organised by Femina, a women's magazine published by The Times Group. Since 2013, Femina also organizes Miss Diva separately which sends representatives to Miss Universe.

Miss Universe annual international beauty contest

Miss Universe is an annual international beauty pageant that is run by the American-based Miss Universe Organization. It airs in more than 190 countries worldwide and seen by more than half a billion people annually. Along with Miss World, Miss International, and Miss Earth, Miss Universe is one of the Big Four international beauty pageants.


Persis Khambatta at the Femina Miss India in 1965 Persis Khambatta - Femina Miss India 1965.jpg
Persis Khambatta at the Femina Miss India in 1965

Khambatta's first appearance at age 13 in advertisements for the soap brand Rexona set her on her way to becoming a popular model. At age 17, as Femina Miss India, Khambatta entered Miss Universe 1965, dressed in off-the-rack clothes she bought at the last minute. She became a model for companies such as Air India, Revlon, and Garden Vareli.

Miss Universe 1965 14th Miss Universe pageant

Miss Universe 1965, the 14th Miss Universe pageant, was held on 24 July 1965 at the Miami Beach Auditorium in Miami Beach, Florida, United States. Apasra Hongsakula of Thailand was crowned by Corinna Tsopei of Greece.

Air India is the flag carrier airline of India, headquartered at New Delhi. It is owned by Air India Limited, a government-owned enterprise, and operates a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft serving 94 domestic and international destinations. The airline has its hub at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, alongside several focus cities across India. Air India is the largest international carrier out of India with an 18.6% market share. Over 60 international destinations are served by Air India across four continents. The airline became the 27th member of Star Alliance on 11 July 2014.

Revlon, Inc. is an American multinational cosmetics, skin care, fragrance, and personal care company founded in 1932, based in New York City and was listed on New York Stock Exchange.

As Lieutenant Ilia in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) Persis Khambatta we Ilia.jpg
As Lieutenant Ilia in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

Khambatta made her Hollywood début in director K. A. Abbas's Bambai Raat Ki Bahon Mein (1968), [4] playing cabaret singer Lily who croons the film's title track. She had small roles in Conduct Unbecoming and The Wilby Conspiracy (both 1975). She went on to have a brief movie career that included the role for which she is most recognized, the bald Deltan navigator Lieutenant Ilia, in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). She shaved her head for the role. She was originally signed to play the role for five years, as the intention was to create a new Star Trek television series. Khambatta said that she was thrilled when the project became a movie instead, because it would have greater impact on her career, but she also recognised that she had lost five years' work. [5] Khambatta became the first Indian citizen to present an Academy Award in 1980. She was nominated for Saturn Award for Best Actress for her role in Star Trek. This led to roles in Nighthawks (1981), Megaforce (1982), Warrior of the Lost World (1983), and She-Wolves of the Wasteland (1988). She was considered for the title role in the James Bond film Octopussy (1983), but was passed over in favor of Maud Adams.

Hollywood Neighborhood of Los Angeles in California, United States

Hollywood is a neighborhood in the central region of Los Angeles, California, notable as the home of the U.S. film industry, including several of its historic studios. Its name has come to be a shorthand reference for the industry and the people associated with it.

Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, popularly known as K. A. Abbas, was an Indian film director, screenwriter, novelist, and a journalist in the Urdu, Hindi and English languages. He won four National Film Awards in India, and internationally his films won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Crystal Globe at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. As a director and screenwriter, Khwaja Ahmad Abbas is considered one of the pioneers of Indian parallel or neo-realistic cinema, and as a screenwriter he is also known for writing Raj Kapoor's best films.

Bambai Raat Ki Bahon Mein is a 1968 suspense crime-thriller Hindi film written, produced and directed by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas. The film starred Vimal Ahuja, Surekha, David, Irshad Panjatan, A.K. Hangal, Madhukar, Kuljit Pal and debutantes Jalal Agha and Persis Khambatta in major roles.

In 1980, Khambatta was seriously injured in a car crash in Germany, which left a huge scar on her head. In 1983, she underwent coronary bypass surgery. She returned to Bombay in 1985, and appeared in the Hindi television series Shingora opposite Aditya Pancholi and Marc Zuber. Soon after, Khambatta returned to Hollywood and performed in guest roles on various television series such as Mike Hammer and MacGyver . In 1997, she wrote and published a coffee table book, Pride of India, which featured several former Miss India winners. The book was dedicated to Mother Teresa, and part of the royalties went to the Missionaries of Charity. Her final appearance in an acting role was that of Chair of the Congress of Nations in the 1993 pilot episode of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman .

Coronary artery bypass surgery surgical procedure to restore normal blood flow to an obstructed coronary artery

Coronary artery bypass surgery, also known as coronary artery bypass graftsurgery, and colloquially heart bypass or bypass surgery, is a surgical procedure to restore normal blood flow to an obstructed coronary artery. A normal coronary artery transports blood to and from the heart muscle itself, not through the main circulatory system.

Aditya Pancholi Indian film actor, producer and playback singer

Aditya Pancholi is an Indian film actor, producer and playback singer who appears in Bollywood films. He started his career as a lead actor, though he found more success with supporting and villain roles and received a Filmfare nomination for the Best Performance in a Negative Role for Yes Boss (1997).

Zubair Ahmed Siddiqi, better known as Marc Zuber, was an actor who appeared in many British and Hindi films and television dramas.

Personal life

She married Hollywood actor Cliff Taylor only weeks after meeting him in June 1981. [6] Two months later they filed for divorce. [7]

Death and legacy

In 1983, Khambatta underwent coronary bypass surgery. In 1998, Khambatta was taken to the Marine Hospital in south Bombay, complaining of chest pains, and she died of a massive heart attack on 18 August 1998 at the age of 49 but shortly before her 50th birthday. [8] Her funeral was held in Bombay the following day. [8]

In 1999, the Persis Khambatta Memorial Award was created to honour Khambatta's memory. With a scholarship and trophy depicting her in her role in Star Trek, the award is awarded annually to the top graduating student of the National Institute of Fashion Technology. To date, 19 awards have been presented. The award was designed and funded by Sanjeev Chowdhury, former Vice-Consul of Canada at the Canadian Consulate in Mumbai, who was Khambatta's best friend and the last to dine with her prior to her death.



1966Pinjre Ke PanchhiAmy
1968 Bambai Raat Ki Bahon Mein Lily / Leela
1969Kamasutra - Vollendung der LiebeNanda
1975 The Wilby Conspiracy Persis Ray
1975 Conduct Unbecoming Mrs. Bandanai
1979 Star Trek: The Motion Picture Ilia
1981 Nighthawks Shakka Holland
1982 Megaforce Zara
1983 Warrior of the Lost World Nastasia
1985First StrikeSylvia Kruger
1988 She-Wolves of the Wasteland CobaltAKA, Phoenix the Warrior
1988Deadly IntentFrancesca SlateVideo


1977The Man with the PowerPrincess SiriTV film
1983 Casablanca Muslim Woman"Divorce Casablanca Style"
1986 Hunter Dhari Ziad"62 Hrs. of Terror"
1986 MacGyver Zia"To Be a Man"
1986ShingoraRoma SinhaTV film
1987 Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Shandra"A Blinding Fear"
1993 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Chairperson"Pilot"
1998Not a Nice Man to KnowGuestTV series


  1. Sharma, Pranay (2 June 2014). "Those Nights In Nairobi". Outlook India.
  2. Reilly, Sue (January 1980). "To the Top". People .
  3. "'Star Trek' Actress Persis Khambatta, 49". Obituaries. Bangor Daily News . 20 August 1998. p. B7. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  4. "Persis Khambatta, 49, dies". The Indian Express . 19 August 1998. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  5. "Star Trek The Motion Picture: Remembering Persis Khambatta and Lt. Ilia". Star Trek Communicator. January 1999. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  6. personal knowledge
  7. MacNab, Kitty (15 September 1981). "People in the News". Weekly World News. Weekly World News. 2 (49): 12. ISSN   0199-574X.
  8. 1 2 "Persis Khambatta, Movie Actress, 49: Obituary". The New York Times . 20 August 1998. Retrieved 15 September 2010.

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