John de Lancie has been around TV and features for over five decades. By far, de Lancie is best known as Q, the extra-dimensional being who has appeared throughout the Star Trek franchise who loves to prove a point with a good practical joke.
While Q is John de Lancie’s most recognizable role, with over 50 years of screen time, he has done much, much more. Here’s what has the 72-year-old Jack of All Trades been up to lately.
THE ALPHABET BEFORE Q
John de Lancie’s career began in the mid-‘70’s but not before he began his acting studies at Kent State University, where he just happened to be in attendance during the brutal Kent State shootings by the Ohio National Guard. From Kent State to Juilliard went de Lancie and much of his early acting career was on stage for the American Shakespeare Festival and the Mark Taper Forum.
John de Lancie’s first role was a bit part in the movie Legacy. He then went on to be a regular player on the TV series circuit. He was on McMillan & Wife, Police Story, The Six Million Dollar Man, Switch, Barnaby Jones, and Emergency! He even made an appearance on the original Battlestar Galactica series.
The ‘80s were much of the same for de Lancie. One of his biggest roles came on the long-time running daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives, where he played Eugene Bradford for eight years. He also continued to make appearances on hit ‘80s series such as Nero Wolfe, The Twilight Zone, MacGyver, Murder, She Wrote, Hooperman, Mission: Impossible, and Trial and Error. But the ‘80s also introduced John de Lancie to the Trekkies as one of the most beloved characters in Star Trek lore.
JOHN DE LANCIE IS Q
John de Lancie made his first appearance as Q on Star Trek: The Next Generation. While his character is called Q, the name is also actually the name of his race. Their origin is unknown, but they possess immeasurable power being able to manipulate time and space, physics, and even reality itself. Q uses humor to his advantage, he loves practical jokes as a teaching tool, and over his time he has developed a fun rapport with Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart).
Of the seven seasons that Star Trek: The Next Generation aired, de Lancie appeared as Q in a mere eight episodes. Most importantly though, of those eight episodes, he was in the very first and very last episodes of the series.
John de Lancie’s Q wasn’t only about just The Next Generation. No, Q got around. He was seen on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for an episode, he got three episodes in on Star Trek: Voyager, and de Lancie even brought Q over to the animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks. On one episode of Voyager, “Q2”, de Lancie even got his real-life son Keegan to star in it as his on-screen son Q junior.
Q was a role that John de Lancie almost didn’t get. His acting career was a busy one at the time, so he was unable to audition. It was Star Trek’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, who arranged a second chance for de Lancie, a chance that neither regretted.
John de Lancie recalled how Roddenberry responded when he finally got the audition. “In this case, when I walked out,” de Lancie told Trek Core, “the person who walked out behind me and stopped me and put his hand on my shoulder, he said “You make my writing sound better than it is”, something of that nature, and it was Gene Roddenberry.” High praise from the man himself.
JOHN DE LANCIE TEASES THE RETURN OF Q
John de Lancie’s career has evolved nicely over the latter half of it. He spends a lot more time in the recording studio completing voice work than he does in front of the camera but just recently, de Lancie dropped on fans what he calls his little “stocking stuffer.” John de Lancie was doing a Cameo video, a 2020 message from a father to his son, when he began to talk a bit about Q and how he got his start on The Next Generation.
John de Lancie explains, “A voice behind my shoulder said, “You have no idea what you have got yourself into.” It was Gene Roddenberry and I said, “What are you talking about?” He goes, “Oh, you’ll find out.” And here it is, 34 years later, I am finding out. Oh and by the way, here is a little stocking stuffer…You are going to be seeing more of me. Cheers. Merry Christmas.” Wow! Now we aren’t sure if he means more Q on the animated Lower Decks or perhaps he will finally make an appearance on Picard? Time will tell and if Q can pull some Q magic, maybe it will be Picard.
WORK OUTSIDE STAR TREK
John de Lancie’s time as Q also gave him plenty of “in between” time. He had no problem filling it up. He found time on Legend, Murder One, Picket Fences, Touched by an Angel, Ally McBeal and the list goes on. As he jumped into the 2000s, de Lancie found more TV series. He was on The Guardian, Crossing Jordan, and Andromeda. He also has a recurring role as Colonel Frank Simmons on the sci-fi hit series Stargate SG-1. He even had a pivotal role in Breaking Bad.
As his career was continuing at a great pace on TV and film, John de Lancie was beginning to also carve out a niche in another field. Voice acting. The first time de Lancie lent out his voice was in the 1993 series Batman: The Animated Series. He then used his vocal talents on series such as The Legend of Prince Valiant, Duckman, The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest, The Angry Beavers, Max Steel, and a whole slew of animated series and even video games.
The one animated character de Lancie may be best known for is Discord from My Little Pony. De Lancie first started vocalizing Discord in 2011 on the animated series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Over eight years de Lancie played Discord but not only on the TV series, but other My Little Pony projects. He can be heard on Pony Meets World, My Little Pony: Best Gift Ever, and even the video game My Little Pony, Twilight’s Kingdom Storybook App.
Animation is not the only place John de Lancie uses his vocal talent. He has contributed as a narrator with a number of big-time orchestras that include New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and Symphony Nova Scotia. His talents don’t stop there. De Lancie was also the writer, director, and host of First Nights, am adult concert series at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
A MAN OF ADVENTURE
John de Lancie is an experienced sailor. So experienced, in fact, that the man has sailed across the Pacific from California to Tahiti, an adventure that took three months and was not without some very terrifying experiences. He also makes many trips to the Hawaiian Islands.