Star Trek Monthly, #93, June 2002
Each issue, we ask Star Trek stars the really big questions. This month: Tim Russ
Tim Russ was something of a renaissance man during Star Trek: Voyager, portraying Tuvok on the show, serving as a popular guest at conventions around the world, writing, co-producing and acting in the film East of Hope Street, directing an episode of ST:VOY, recording and releasing a couple of albums, and on and on and on. It's no surprise, then, that Russ - the only Star Trek actor to exchange dialogue with all four captains, Kate Mulgrew, Avery Brooks, Patrick Stewart and William Shatner - remains one busy ex-Vulcan now that ST:VOY has finished. Indeed, it's only...logical, as Ian Spelling found out.
Tim Russ is currently spending time with his daughter, auditioning for episodic shows as a guest actor (he recently appeared in an Any Day Now episode entitled The Real Thing), directing episodes of a local four-camera cable/Internet TV show entitled Heartbreak Cafe, observing the action on the Enterprise set in preparation for helming an episode next season, providing the dramatic reading voice for such Star Trek audio novels as The Genesis wave Book III, performing his brand of rock, R&B and adult contemporary music at the Kibbitz Room, Los Angeles on Saturday nights and even teaching a seminar on auditioning cold reading at Saddleback College in California.
Do you ever wish you lived in the future?
I would love to see the future, but [living there] would entirely depend on the quality of life I would have. It would take an adjustment on my part to begin with.
Is God an old guy with a big white beard?
I seriously doubt it. I have to question the existence of the Western civilisation's concept of God.
What's your idea of perfect happiness?
Peace of mind.
What makes you sad?
At present, anything that hurts those close to me. And sometimes the needless suffering of other people in the world.
What would you say is your fondest memory of working on ST:VOY?
During one of our episodes featuring the late Ray Walston - from [60s TV show] My Favorite Martian [and Boothby in Star Trek] - we were shooting a scene that was very heavy with dialogue. Ray was having a tough time with the lines, as were some of us regulars on the show. It took all day to shoot this one scene and during a short lighting break Ray spoke a line from Hamlet. Then Robert Beltran answered him with the next line from the play and the two of them continued on reciting the lines for about two or three minutes, perfectly. You could hear a pin drop on the set, and we all applauded afterwards.
What's been the weirdest aspect of your Star Trek association?
My work on Star Trek was just a job, more or less, from my perspective. But the way the viewing public perceived my character - all of our characters - was so much more profound. Television in general cultivates a larger than life persona for those who appear on it.
What TV shows, if any, do you watch regularly?
I only watch The History Channel, The Learning Channel and The Discovery Channel, as well as the news. Rarely I'll catch an episode of The Simpsons.
What's your favorite joke?
It's not very clean and it has to do with a guy named McGregor!
What's the best piece of gossip that you've heard about yourself?
I haven't heard anything as of yet. But that doesn't mean it's not there.
What object or objects do you always carry with you?
Keys and chewing gum.
Do women make better starship captains than men?
In some cases that could very well be true.
What would you say is your personal motto?
Live every day as if it were your last, because one day you will be right.
What's your home like?
Modest and quiet, the way I like it.
Who would you say has been the greatest influence on your life?
Next to my mom, Geronimo.
When was the last time you were star-struck?
When I met [American astronaut] Buzz Aldrin.
When did you last have a hangover?
I don't remember.
Do you work out?
Yes, when I make time.
Is the glass half empty or is it half full?
Do you do your own shopping?
Only when I have to.
How often are you recognised by people on the street?
Not much now that I've cut my hair.
What's the last book you read?
It was a Ray Bradbury collection.
What's the last album you listened to?
U2's new album ['All That You Can't Leave Behind']. It's great.
Have you ever been tempted to hit a colleague?
No, nothing more than call them names.
Have you ever been tempted to hit a journalist?
Only after the interview was published.
Have you lied since we started asking you these questions?
I'm Vulcan; I cannot lie.