He was born and raised in Lakewood, New Jersey. When he was 16 his family moved to Los Angeles, where his mother enrolled him in a drama group in an effort to expand his social circle. He later graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles, then was selected to apprentice at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego. He pursued a dramatic career in theater, eventually moving to New York. He later returned to Los Angeles where he landed roles in two CBS series, launching a career in television acting.
He is perhaps best known for his appearances as the Ferengi bartender Quark in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, though his involvement with the Star Trek franchise began when he played a (different) Ferengi in Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Last Outpost".
Along with Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, John de Lancie, Michael Ansara and Richard Poe, he is one of only six actors to play the same character on three different Star Trek series. He played Quark in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager.
Shimerman is also well known as Principal Snyder in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He has also starred in Stargate SG-1 as one of the Nox and appeared as Stan the caddy in an episode of Seinfeld. He also appeared as the villan Toad (comics) in the video game X-men Legends.
Merchant Prince Series
- The Merchant Prince (2000) (with Michael Scott)
- Outrageous Fortune (2002) (with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro)
- Capital Offense (2003)
- The Legends of the Ferengi (1997) (with Ira Steven Behr)
- The 34th Rule (1998) (with David R. George III)
- Wheels within Wheels