“I was not a good student, and the reason I was not a good student is that I didn’t know how to read. … I was dyslexic, but at the time that was not really a word that was used. What was used was “mildly retarded” or “slow.” I ended up flunking out of a couple of schools. The last school I went to, they said “Oh, no, no, we think he’s dyslexic,” but nobody really knew what to do with that. I probably was 14 by that time.
My teacher, who was really quite a wonderful teacher … we would do projects. One year, we would do Handel’s “Messiah.” Another year, we did “Marriage of Figaro,” and then this particular time of the year, it was in the springtime, he said, “We’re going to do ‘Henry V’ and de Lancie, you’re going to play ‘Hal’ [King Henry V].” I could barely read it, but I learned it, and I did it, and a gentleman who had come … took my father aside and he said, “If your son has an interest in this, you should encourage him because he has a flair for it.”
And so it came to me mostly as a life preserver, quite frankly.”
John De Lancie may be best know for playing “Q” on Star Trek, but he is also a director, producer, writer, musician, standup comedian, voice talent (including Discord on My Little Pony), and actor with over 160 credits, (Breaking Bad, CSI, Mentalist, etc.).
John’s story reinforces the importance of helping students to find their passion in life. Although he only learned to read at age 12, he began to act at 14, and went on to study acting at Julliard.