Penny Johnson Jerald is an American actress who portrays Claire Finn in The Orville.


Johnson is an acclaimed actress who is known for her roles such as that of Kasidy Yates-Sisko in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, wife of Benjamin Sisko and as Sherry Palmer, the villainous wife of President David Palmer on 24. Jerald also appeared on Castle as Captain Victoria Gates.

The OrvilleEdit

On October 31, 2016, Penny Johnson Jerald and Halston Sage were cast as series regulars in The Orville. After filming of Old Wounds concluded, Jerald decided that she wants The Orville to be her last ensemble cast television show. "I saw the pilot, I looked at [the cast] and I said 'okay, great. This is my ‘Swan Song'.' And they looked at me and said 'what do you mean? This is over?' and I said 'No, this is the show I’m going to keep doing until I don’t want to do this anymore.'"[1]

Jerald says that portraying a mother-character in the show comes naturally to her because she is a mother as well.[2]

While filming on set, Jerald says she maintains an upbeat, optimistic attitude: "I come in dancing every day. . . . because I know that I'm going to be there all night long." Jerald continues that the set has a shared, communal bed that anyone may sleep on, which the cast calls the "family bed."[3] By Season 2, Jerald began calling it her "morning dance-off."[4]

The sharp divide in opinion between critics and regular television audiences, where critics often rate the show poorly while audiences rate it highly, is not lost upon Jerald. Shortly after The Orville was renewed for a second season, Jerald responded to critics who complained that the show does not know whether it wants to be a comedy or a drama. "The dialogue [of critics] when we first started was, 'Oh, my gosh. What do they think they are?' It's a dramedy, and what we we need to do is teach the audience how to watch us."[3]


  • As a practicing Christian, Jerald has commented that the opportunity to portray Claire is a chance to be a "light in the room."[5]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. DesJardines, Jordan. "NYCC 2017: What’s Up Doc? Penny Johnson Jerald Talks ‘The Orville’". Oct. 13, 2017.
  2. "Episode123 - LIVE from the Paley Fest Blue Carpet feat. The Orville & Mom casts". On the Mic with Tim Drake. March 27, 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Brannon Braga & The Orville Cast Full interview 2017 Panel NYC convention". NYC ComicCon. Nov. 20, 2017.
  4. Sisk, Angela. "The Orville Panel Comic Con 2018 Part One". YouTube. July 22, 2018.
  5. Video by The Paley Center for Media. March 17, 2018.