At age 15, Khambatta became Miss India and participated in the 1965 Miss Universe pageant, but could not achieve much success in the Indian movie industry in Bollywood, partially due to her relatively Western looks, which appeared unconventional for the Indian audiences. She later entered the world of international movies. She was also a model for various companies, including Revlon. In 1975, she had a small role in The Wilby Conspiracy, and she went on to a brief movie career that included the role for which she is most recognized: as Lieutenant Ilia, in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, (1979). She then took on roles in Nighthawks (1981) and Megaforce (1982) but she never really found success in film. This was partially on account of her refusal to do nude scenes. She also made guest appearances on TV shows such as Mike Hammer and MacGyver.
There was also probably some lack of acting ability on her part. A telling story was that in the making of the first Star Trek movie, director Robert Wise had to do 19 takes of one scene to get her to say her line right. Her line was No.
In the early 1980s, Khambatta had a coronary heart bypass operation. In 1997 she wrote and published a coffee table book called Pride of India which featured several former Miss Indias. The book was dedicated to Mother Teresa and part of the royalties went to the Missionaries of Charity.
Her final appearance on film and TV in an acting part was that of an Indian ambassador in an episode of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
In 1998, Khambatta was taken to the Marine Hospital in South Mumbai, India, complaining of chest pains. She soon died of a heart attack at age 47.
Persis Khambatta Facts
|Birthday||October 2, 1950|
|Date of death||August 18, 1998 (Mumbai, India, age 47)|
|Height||5' 8" (1m73) How tall is Persis Khambatta compared to you?|
|To Be a Man|
|Star Trek: The Motion Picture|
|Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Director's Cut|
|The Wilby Conspiracy|
|She Wolves of the Wasteland|