The SQV has just learned of the sad passing beloved actor Richard Herd – our very own Admiral/Secretary General Noyce.
As tributes pour in for one of the best character actors and familiar faces on TV in a career spanning almost 50 years, we present an except from ‘Tales From The Cult Film Trenches’ , featuring a rare interview with Herd where he speaks candidly about his time on SeaQuest, sharing his affection for his co-stars and giving a unique insight into the production…
“I was a recurring character on SeaQuest – here’s how I got the role – I had done what I consider my very best piece of work on television. I did a character called Captain Galaxy aka Moe Stein on an episode of Quantum Leap (Future Boy). I did the last episode of Quantum (Mirror Image) as well, reprising that character. SeaQuest came up, and Tommy Thompson who wrote Future Boy was one of the producers on that show.
The pilot for SeaQuest was directed by Irvin Kershner, who had directed the Empire Strikes Back. I had met Steven Spielberg when I was up for a role in the movie 1941, but I lost that part to Robert Stack. I went in and auditioned for SeaQuest, and then Kershner had me back again, to be approved by Spielberg. I believe it helped that Tommy Thompson was the fellow who worked on Quantum Leap.
Everybody wanted SeaQuest to be a success, including all of the Star Trek fans. The Trek Science-Fiction show type of fans were looking for a new show to latch on to. You do not know the opportunity that was presented to SeaQuest. There was no show on at that time that was even remotely like it. Today there a sci-Fi shows all over the place. At the time, there was nothing besides SeaQuest, except for Star Trek: The Next Generation really. They wanted it to be a success, and the people behind the scenes and everybody working on the show wanted it to be a huge success too.
They had a huge response to the first couple of shows, then they had too many producers, too many people became involved, too many suggestions. I also believe that it wasn’t set that far enough into the future either – it took place sometime around 2024 (2018!)
Still, the show had a fabulous cast. We had some good directors and and we had some good guest stars – William Shatner, Topol…Some wonderful people came on. Then they paid for bigger names; we later had Charlton Heston on as a guest. However the producers started to tinker with the show. What they did after the first year was a terrible, terrible thing. They just about fired any actors involved over the age of 45. They dropped myself, Royce Applegate and a couple of others. They then replaced us with these nice kids; we used to refer to it as Sea Hunk. The show was then moved to Florida, supposedly to save money on sets and locations, and they ended up spending more money to to put all these people up in houses and whatever, and give them cars. However, they did not save any money.
They brought me there to do a couple more episodes for the second season but it was a disappointment. But I will tell you one thing, if I were called to work with Roy Scheider again, I would be there in a minute. He is one of the best actors I have ever worked with. He was the kind of person who tried to make the show better, he was a tough guy – but a tough guy in the right sense that he cares about the work, and he wanted it to be better…”
In customary fashion, the last word goes to Dr. Kristen Westphalen herself, who posted this message on her facebook page earlier –