After dyslexia caused him grief in school, John de Lancie found acting to be his salvation.
The actor was dyslexic at a time when no one knew much about dyslexia, or what to do about it.
“I was not a good student, and the reason I was not a good student is that I didn’t know how to read,” said de Lancie. “I was dyslexic, but at the time that was not really a word that was used. What was used was ‘mildly retarded’ or ‘slow.’ I ended up flunking out of a couple of schools. The last school I went to, they said ‘Oh, no, no, we think he’s dyslexic,’ but nobody really knew what to do with that. I probably was fourteen by that time.”
A teacher led de Lancie to discover acting. “My teacher, who was really quite a wonderful teacher…we would do projects,” said de Lancie. “One year, we would do Handel‘s Messiah. Another year, we did Marriage of Figaro, and then this particular time of the year, it was in the springtime, he said, ‘We’re going to do Henry V, and de Lancie, you’re going to play Hal [King Henry V].’ I could barely read it, but I learned it, and I did it, and a gentleman who had come…took my father aside and he said, ‘If your son has an interest in this, you should encourage him because he has a flair for it.'”
“And so it came to me mostly as a life preserver, quite frankly.”
De Lancie also spoke briefly about his best-known character to Trek fans, the omnipotent Q. Would de Lancie ever reprise Q? “I don’t think so,” he said. “I could come on as a voice or something like that, but…I’m supposed to be an immortal, omnipotent guy, and, you know, what you would mostly see, you’d kind of go, ‘Wow! Q’s really aged!'”