Shawn Piller Remembers His Father and Writing PartnerBy Michelle
November 19, 2005 - 5:06 PM
"It is with great pride that I stand before you today to honor my father, my partner, my mentor, and my friend," said Shawn Piller as he gave a eulogy for his father, Michael Piller. "My father was a leader, make no mistake. He felt the moral obligation to make this place better than he found it. He did that through his writing, his parenting, and his friendships."
TrekWeb published the text of Shawn Piller's eulogy, in which the son described some of the late Star Trek executive producer's last conversations with his children. "Being his son who, for the last six years, was his producing partner and often writing partner, I have had a unique perspective on a man you know and love," noted the younger Piller, who was adopted by Michael when he was fourteen after Michael married Shawn's mother. He said that the audio from the Piller Squared company logo, in which Sean and Michael debate until Michael says, "You're grounded", "pretty much sums up our relationship through elementary school, high school and college 'til now. And if he were here I'd probably be grounded now for giving this speech."
But the company logo, he added, exemplified the company message - a family business taken to a wider factor. "The irony about that logo is it actually became harder to win arguments with my father as I got older, as goes the adage 'the older I get, the smarter my father gets,'" noted Shawn. "I know some of you have had that same kind of complicated relationship in the writers' room. I won't mention any names, but Brannan Braga's right here."
Shawn revealed that he was a Star Trek fan before his father and they watched The Next Generation together before Michael was involved with the show. He joked about Michael's unpretentiousness, how he drove a Camry and taught Shawn where to find the spicy mustard at Dodger Stadium. "He taught me that you had to earn things in life, especially respect. He taught me about bravery and grace during the biggest battle of his life as he fought cancer. Ironically, Michael won an Emmy in the 1960's in Chicago for a documentary he produced about Living with Cancer. It was the first of its kind when cancer wasn't talked about much."
Michael, added Shawn, "never took the easy way in life or in his writing." He was always looking for meaningand tackling ethical dilemmas. "Michael felt a huge sense of responsibility for what he put on television knowing how it could influence the world through its message." In terms of his responsibility as a person as an artist, "like the captain of a starship who had people's lives in his hands, Michael took that responsibility seriously in both his personal and his professional life."
For fans interested in seeing some of Michael Piller's last work, his and Shawn's television show Wildfire, which stars Nana Visitor (Kira), will be out on DVD in February, notes TV Shows on DVD.