I have played some wonderful leading roles on stage and had the whole 'China Beach' years where I really played a leading man on that. That was a fun change for a character actor. But I'm perfectly happy going back to building my gallery of memorable character roles.
What's wonderful about 'Star Trek' having been rebooted so successfully by the J. J. Abrams movie franchise is that - the corollary effect is that it creates a new generation of fans, and they're interested in all of it. They don't just sit around and wait for the next movie to come out; they'll go back and re-examine episodes.
I went to the William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, where I had a teacher really named Edward Shakespeare. He was a very influential figure in my childhood - I acted in high school a few times, but Mr. Shakespeare got me to lead in 'The Crucible.' I played John Proctor.
When we shot the pilot for 'Voyager,' Armin Shimmerman, who played Quark on 'Deep Space Nine,' was very gracious and outgoing about preparing us for these personal appearances. Still, nothing really can prepare you for the first time when you walk out on stage and 2,000 people in a room stand up and applaud simply because you're there.
Science fiction fans are great, but they just aren't the same as groupies.
My family was pretty solidly middle-class. We had a furniture store out near Connie Mack Stadium, and when Dad died, my mom took it over.
We had great comic mileage in the 'SG-1' episode 'The Swarm,' where Woolsey is running away faster than anybody else.
My character on 'Voyager,' because of the way he was presented, I could go either way. I could be a real buffoon, a windbag, be self-involved, and we could get a lot of comic mileage from him. However, the audience accepted me with gravity when I was in a dire situation, so they would follow me in comic or dramatic stories.
I think there's something inherently interesting in the Monday morning quarterback: the guy who, you know, sits at one end of the briefing room and tells everyone what they should've done and how they've screwed up.
It was hard to make a living as an actor in New York if you did not do soap operas or commercials.
I didn't realize it at first, but the Doctor is in the same spirit as those natural 'outsider' characters 'Star Trek' series have, like Spock and Data.
'Trek' is probably more cerebral and philosophical. 'Stargate' does seat-of-the-pants adventure and humor better.
If you're looking at my other major science fiction roles - the Doctor on 'Star Trek' and certainly Woolsey on 'Stargate' - I often play characters that might be good theorists and good thinkers, but you wouldn't call either of them very macho characters.
Let's face it: Amanda Tapping's shoes are difficult to fill. She's a great actress and a popular character on 'Stargate'; she's just a lovely person.
After 'Star Trek,' I was the commander on 'Stargate Atlantis,' the final season, and once my character had become a good commander, I was sorry that the show didn't last beyond that.