De Lancie said his wide-ranging roles not only make him a better teacher, they make up just the kind of career he had in mind when he got into the entertainment business.
"I’m no good after about three months at anything; I am ready to move on. So, the notion of seven years on a TV show is just not particularly something that I would be wanting to do,” he said. "My idea of a great year would be a play, a half-dozen readings, a couple of movies, three or four TV shows to pay the bills.”
In the 1980s, he made one of the first of his many "Star Trek” convention appearances at Tulsa’s Trek Expo, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
He compares interacting with Trekkies to encountering theater fans who come to the stage door — only "amplify that by 400 or 500 or 2,000 or 3,000.”
"The world of ‘Star Trek’ has been really kind to me. And the people that I’ve met there have been great,” he said. "They’re not as weird as sports fans who, when their team loses the game, they go and burn cars and torch the downtown, and when their team wins the game, they also burn cars and torch the downtown.”
Becoming so closely identified with a role such as Q has its advantages and disadvantages, but he doesn’t regret playing the "wonderful character.”
He thinks actors sometimes just need another breakout part, and de Lancie may have found his: He lately has received rave reviews for his three-episode, guest-starring role as the father of a doomed drug addict daughter in the acclaimed AMC series "Breaking Bad.”
"He loves her desperately but he just doesn’t know which way to turn; he’s done everything, tried everything. It’s a role that I understand that a lot of parents out there ... have (sent in) mail about,” he said.