Armin Shimerman took away some lessons from playing the profit-loving Ferengi Quark on Deep Space Nine.
Quark taught Shimerman some “a great deal” of “people qualities.”
One of those was being a little more gregarious in real life. “I was rather timid and rather shy before and I’m very grateful to Quark for teaching me the joys of social intercourse,” said Shimerman.
Social intercourse can sometimes come with a price, as Shimerman found out once at a convention when a child left him speechless. “A little boy, about eight years old, raised his hand and asked ‘What’s it like to be an action figure doll and do you ever play with yourself?’ Which just bought the house down. I made no answer and just smiled.”
Shimerman considered Quark to be a typical character, neither bad nor good. “He wasn’t quite a villain,” said Shimerman; he certainly wasn’t a hero. He lived somewhere in no man’s land and for me.”
Over the course of the series, Quark had “become more human,” said Shimerman. But by the end, “he had journeyed far in what he considered was the wrong direction and came back to being his true self.”
“The producers once said to me, ‘Quark is the station. The station and Quark are the same.’ I came to realize the wisdom of that. The whole life of this station centered around the bar, the bar was centered around the personality of Quark. He would still be trying to steal as much money as he possibly could and loving every minute of it.”
One lesson Shimerman did not take from Quark was his acquisitiveness. Shimerman did not take any parts of the set with him when Deep Space Nine wrapped. “That’s an irony of ironies because the great thief of the show was Quark and yet I believe I am the only actor on the show who didn’t take anything,” he said. ” When I knew that they were dismantling the set I didn’t want to see it being torn apart and so I just refrained from going back to the set to pick up anything.
“I’m quite sure all the others showed up with tow trucks and hammers and chisels and jackhammers and took as much as they could. I didn’t want my memories of the show to be spoiled by seeing the destruction of the set.”