Trek Untold Episode 40: Billy Van Zandt, Rhaandarite Ensign from “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”
Trekkies will remember Billy Van Zandt from one memorable appearance in the Star Trek franchise, but you may know him better for his acclaimed work as a writer and producer for TV & theater, alongside his writing partner Jane Milmore.
Born in New Jersey, Billy headed to Hollywood to pursue an acting career inspired by Lucille Ball. Logically, his first stop was Lucille's home, and he has a story about that, as well as working with her and Gale Gordon on “Life with Lucy” and later producing an Emmy award-winning CBS TV special about her. He is also known for his roles in “Jaws 2” with Rob Scheider and “TAPS” with Tom Cruise, Sean Pen, and George C. Scott, which we spend some time chatting about today.
Billy stepped into the world of Trek in 1979 as the Rhaadarite in “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” and talks about being cast in the film, his thoughts on the new look of Trek and their uniforms, memories of the principal cast, and his extensive makeup process with Ve Neill to become this new type of alien.
We also discuss his TV writing career with Jane, which includes “Newhart,” “Martin,” “The Wayans Bros,” “The Hughleys,” “Daddy Dearest,” “Suddenly Susan,” and others. Billy has great stories of working with Martin Lawrence, Bob Newhart, Shawn & Marlon Wayans, Richard Lewis, and Don Rickles! Plus, his stage career with some of his notable plays like “You've Got Hate Mail!”, “The Property Known as Garland” and “High School Reunion: The Musical.”
This episode is dedicated to the memory of Jane Milmore, who passed away one year ago on this date.
Order Billy's autobiography “Get In The Car, Jane!” using our Amazon Affiliate link, which helps us at no extra cost to you – https://amzn.to/37wOHrI
Check out Billy's website – https://vanzandtmilmore.com/
Order Walker Brandt's book “Awaken: Discovering Yourself Through the Light of Your Innocence” from Amazon.com – https://amzn.to/32WsiCJ
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Trek Untold is sponsored by Triple-Fiction Productions, a US-based company that 3-D prints Trek-inspired prop replicas for fan films and cosplayers, as well as accessories and playsets for all iterations of Trek figures through the years. Visit them at Triple-Fictionproductions.net.
The views expressed on air during Trek Untold do not represent the views of the RAGE Works staff, partners, or affiliates.
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