Features > Exclusive Interview - Part One

Q: Where were you born and where did you grow up?
VA: I was born in Sonora, California, a quiet old mining town in the north of the state. I grew up in Redlands, California.
Q: What drew you to acting and what training did you have?
VA: My mother offered me $10 to audition for a play. I did and won the part. Whilst rehearsing the play, the leading lady gave me a kiss like none I'd had before. I was only sixteen at the time, but that did it. So I guess you could say I got into acting for the money and the women!
There were other reasons as well; my drama teacher showed me that I could take that intensity that I had and put it into something I loved to do that benefited myself and others.
These three women: my mother with the $10 bribe; the leading lady with her kiss and that drama teacher with the other secret of life - were the reasons I got into acting.
Q: What do you consider is the best and favourite role that you have played to date, and why?
VA: That's a tough one. I think in all honesty, that it would be Admiral Forrest, and there is a great deal of potential in the character.
There are others that I have loved for other reasons; one was Captain Cummings in a film entitled 'Triumphs of a Man Called Horse'. He was fun because it required that I spend a month on horseback in the countryside of Mexico. Another was David Caldwell, a recurring character I played in 'Days of Our Lives', an American daytime series. He started as a comic relief and turned into a villain of the worst kind: he was molesting his 16 year old daughter. I was uncertain about the role at first, but it was handled with great sensitivity.
In fact, at the end of each show, the producers provided a hotline number for girls who were victims of the same crime. That made all the difference to me. I felt fortunate to be a part of something that may have helped them realise the truth about their situation, and could well have helped some find a way out.
Q: When you first appeared in the Star Trek series, did you realise exactly how big an impact Star Trek had worldwide and the following it had?
VA: Yes, I was thrilled to get the offer. I had been watching the original series since I was a teenager. My father and I used to watch it together often. I watched it after rehearsals when I was in shows at college. It was on at midnight and the perfect light fair, with some philosophy attached, to wind down the day with.
My first role was also a wonderful character; he was Korris, the Klingon in Next Generation's Heart of Glory. Actors don't often get to do roles that dynamic on television. I didn't realise it would change my life like it did, but I did know the world was crazy about the show.

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"My mother offered me $10 to audition for a play...

"The leading lady gave me a kiss like none I'd had before...

"He started out as a comic relief and turned into a villain of the worst kind...

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