Richard Herd Reflects on Star Trek, Schwarzenegger, Sci-FiBy Michelle
April 29, 2006 - 9:55 PM
Richard Herd, who played two famous father figures on Star Trek - Tom Paris' father Admiral Owen Paris in Voyager and Worf's father's friend L'Kor in The Next Generation - discussed his work with William Shatner (Captain Kirk) on T.J. Hooker and his other genre and film experiences, lamenting, "If they come up with a new sci-fi show they donít want to see anybody who's done 'Star Trek'."
Speaking to RetroCrush, Herd recalled working with Arnold Schwarzenegger, later the governor of California, on the early film Hercules goes Bananas, on the classic nuclear power cautionary tale The China Syndrome, and in the role of the Supreme Commander from the alien invasion miniseries V. He also played George's boss on Seinfield.
"I worked for 2 1/2 seasons with Bill," Herd said of Shatner. "It was a big turn around for Bill. It was difficult after he did 'Star Trek' for both he & Leonard Nimoy to be taken seriously in the industry. Theyíd call up and say, 'We donít want a guy with pointy ears or who gets beamed up.'"
Herd is not surprised by Shatner's current image change, nor by Schwarzenegger's success. "He has such a good work ethic, he was disciplined, and had ambition," he said of the man who went on to star in The Terminator films. "The immigrant guy comes over, works hard and dutifully and becomes a success...itís still possible in this country, if you have a good work ethic, discipline, and brains to achieve great success."
Herd noted that actors have been hurt by reality television, which are inexpensive to produce and don't employ union performers, and also by producers filming in Canada and elsewhere, which takes jobs away from American performers and crews. "I personally think itís un-American to take money out of the country to produce a show. Then bring it back across the border and sell it. I just think itís terrible," he said. "I think itís imperative that the governors of the states create tax incentives to bring work back to the country. We lost the whole aerospace industry out here. Now we're about to lose the motion picture industry."
The interviewer asked Herd whether he would always have work from Star Trek conventions, but Herd said that after V, he had trouble getting in to read for other science fiction shows and that newer science fiction shows don't want to see people familiar from Star Trek. However, he has no complaints about his own career: "I've been very fortunate and I'm very grateful. Itís been over 50 years. Recently he was in an episode of Ghost Whisperer and is working on several films. He is also selling off his memorabilia, including the original prosthetic teeth he wore while portraying L'Kor; information is available at his web site.
The full interview is at RetroCrush.