September 25, 1949
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Caroline Kava has appeared in television series and films since the late 1970s, but is probably most recognized for her movie roles during the '80s, in which she was frequently cast as a parent of Russian or European heritage. During this time, she got to work with top leading men including River Phoenix and Tom Cruise; in the 1988 suspense drama "Little Nikita," she played the mysterious Elizabeth Grant, the mother of Phoenix's character, who might actually be a Soviet sleeper agent. She later played the mother of Cruise's Ron Kovic in Oliver Stone's war drama "Born on the Fourth of July," followed by guest-star parts in such seminal '90s television series as "Star Trek: The Next Generation." In the "Trek" episode, which dealt with the issue of assisted suicide, Lieutenant Worf is paralyzed after an accident; Kava plays Dr. Toby Russell, who proposes an experimental surgery that could restore his walking ability, but could be fatal if something goes wrong. Back when her film career was getting started, she worked twice with Michael Cimino, in both the notorious '80 Western "Heaven's Gate" and the '85 action film "Year of the Dragon" (which Stone co-wrote). In 1995, she wrote and directed her first short film, "Polio Water," and made two other films through the 2000s.