Bibi Besch
Bibiana Maria Köchert

(1942-02-01)February 1, 1942
Vienna, Greater Germany, (now Austria)
DiedSeptember 7, 1996(1996-09-07) (aged 54)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1954–1996
Donald B. Mathis
(m. 1965; div. 1973)
ChildrenSamantha Mathis
Parent(s)Gotfrid Köchert
Gusti Huber

Bibi Besch (born Bibiana Maria Köchert; February 1, 1942 – September 7, 1996) was an Austrian-American film, television, and stage actress. She is best known for her portrayal of Dr. Carol Marcus in the science fiction film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). Her other notable film roles were in Who's That Girl (1987), Steel Magnolias (1989), and Tremors (1990). Besch also appeared in a number of television series, including The Jeff Foxworthy Show, and received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations.

Early life

Bibiana Maria Köchert was born in Vienna in 1942, the younger of two daughters born to theater actress Gusti Huber, who starred in German films during World War II, and Gotfrid Köchert, an Austrian racing driver, who served in the Wehrmacht. She had an elder sister, Christiana Barbara Köchert (August 17, 1939 – August 13, 2004). Gusti and her two daughters remained in Vienna throughout World War II, immigrating to the United States after the war ended.[1] Joseph Besch, a radio executive and former U.S. Army captain, married Huber, a divorcee, in 1946, and became Huber's daughters' stepfather; his stepchildren took his surname. Huber and Besch later had two children, born in the United States, Drea and Andrew, the half-siblings of Bibiana and Christiana.[2] Bibi, her sister and half-siblings,[3] grew up in Chappaqua, New York, where they attended local elementary and junior high schools. She graduated from Horace Greeley High School there in 1959, and attended Connecticut College for Women, but, before graduating, moved to New York City to become an actress. Her only child is Samantha Mathis, also an actress.


Most of Besch's early TV experience came from years spent on New York-based daytime soap operas — The Secret Storm (1966), The Edge of Night (1969), Love Is a Many Splendored Thing (1973) and Somerset (1974). In later years she was seen in primetime soaps, such as Secrets of Midland Heights (1980), The Hamptons (1983), Dynasty (1984), Dallas (1985), Falcon Crest (1986), Knot's Landing (1989) and an episode of Melrose Place which aired on September 9, 1996, two days after her death.

Besch guest-starred in a variety of television series, including Street Hawk, The Rockford Files, The Golden Girls, Murder, She Wrote, Backstairs at the White House, It's Garry Shandling's Show, and Date with an Angel. Having appeared on a 1979 episode of How the West Was Won, she reunited with him in the 1981 TV film McClain's Law, which served as the two-hour debut episode of the same-named police detective series.

She played Dr. Carol Marcus, the early love of Admiral James T. Kirk in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). Her other films included Victory at Entebbe (1976), The Pack (1977), The Promise (1979), Meteor (1979), The Beast Within (1982), The Lonely Lady (1983), The Day After (1983), Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry (1986), He's My Girl (1987), Who's That Girl (1987), Steel Magnolias (1989), Tremors (1990), and Betsy's Wedding (1990).

In 1992, she received an Emmy Award nomination for her performance in Doing Time on Maple Drive, which starred William McNamara and Jim Carrey as her sons. She received another Emmy nomination in 1993 for her recurring-character role as the neurotic mother of Janine Turner's character on Northern Exposure. She continued to act, with 11 television and film credits in 1996, her final year.


Bibi Besch died at Daniel Freeman Hospital in Los Angeles on September 7, 1996 at age 54, following a long battle with breast cancer. Her remains were cremated.[4]


Year Title Role Notes
1975 Distance Joanne Morse
1976 Victory at Entebbe German Woman TV movie
1977 The Pack Marge
1979 Hardcore Mary
1979 The Promise Dr. Faye Allison
1979 Meteor Helen Bradley
1981 McClain's Law Annie Lammon TV movie
1982 The Beast Within Caroline MacCleary
1982 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Dr. Carol Marcus
1983 The Lonely Lady Veronica Randall
1983 The Day After Eve Dahlberg TV movie
1983 Likely Stories, Vol. 3 Beth Warner
1986 Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry Doreen Delafield TV movie
1987 Who's That Girl Mrs. Worthington
1987 He's My Girl Marcia
1987 Date with an Angel Grace Sanders
1989 Kill Me Again Jack's Secretary
1989 Steel Magnolias Belle Marmillion
1990 Tremors Megan as The Doctor's Wife
1990 Betsy's Wedding Nancy Lovell
1991 Lonely Hearts Maria Wilson
1992 Doing Time on Maple Drive(1992 film) Lisa Carter
1995 My Family Mrs. Gillespie
1999 California Myth Harriet

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1984 4th Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Supporting Actress
The Lonely Lady
1992 44th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Special
Doing Time on Maple Drive
1993 45th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Northern Exposure


  1. ^ "BIBI BESCH, APPEARED IN TV ROLES". Retrieved May 18, 2015. [when accessed on August 4, 2020, this link was no longer active]
  2. ^ Profile Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine; accessed November 3, 2015. [when accessed on August 4, 2020, this link was no longer active]
  3. ^ Gusti Huber obituary,; accessed November 3, 2015. [when accessed on August 4, 2020, this link was no longer active]
  4. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (September 14, 1996). "Bibi Besch, 54, Dies; TV and Film Actress And a Force in Guild". The New York Times. Retrieved August 4, 2020.