John de Lancie

On this date in 1948, actor John Sherwood de Lancie Jr. was born in Philadelphia to Andrea and John S. de Lancie. His father was principal oboist for the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1954-77. “My parents, for all intents and purposes, were secular. And I just didn’t believe all this religious stuff. I never got any further than the Jonah and the whale story when I was about 6.” (Skeptical Inquirer, June 19, 2019.)

He attended Kent State University and then won a scholarship to Juilliard in New York City. His acting career started in television in the mid-1970s. He played Eugene Bradford from 1982-89 on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives” and had numerous other small-screen roles. Perhaps his signature role was as the powerful, extra-dimensional being “Q” on “Star Trek” starting in the 1980s.

He married Marnie Mosiman in 1984. As of this writing in 2019, they live in Pasadena, Calif., and have two sons, Keegan and Owen.

De Lancie’s film career includes roles in “The Onion Field” (1979), “The Fisher King” (1991), “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle” (1992), “Multiplicity: (1996), “Saving Private Ryan” (voice, 1998), “Woman on Top” (2000) “Reign Over Me” (2007) and “Bronies” (2013).

He has performed as a narrator with some of the world’s leading symphony orchestras and wrote, directed and hosted “First Nights,” a series at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He made his opera directorial debut in 2006 with the Atlanta Opera performing Puccini’s “Tosca.” With actor Leonard Nimoy, de Lancie started a company called Alien Voices to recreate radio broadcasts of classic science fiction stories such as “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and “The Time Machine.” 

His many theater credits include playing Clarence Darrow in the 2007 national tour of “The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial” in which Ed Asner portrayed William Jennings Bryan. In 2017 he helped unveil the Darrow statue commissioned by FFRF to stand at the Rhea County Courthouse in Dayton, Tenn.  De Lancie said the statue “is not about trying to convince somebody who believes in God, a god, multiple gods, that that doesn’t exist. Where I’m interested is to say, as Darrow said, the Bible is not a science book, it’s not a biology book, it’s not the place you would go to make a locomotive or steamboat.” (Chattanooga Times Free Press, July 15, 2017.)

A longtime rationalist, he says he’s “openly secular” and started his 2016 Reason Rally speech in Washington, D.C., with this: “My name is John de Lancie, and I am a god. At least, I’ve played one on TV. And I’m here to tell you as a god that I was created by humans. And the words I spoke were written by men and women.”

In 2018 in San Francisco, he accepted FFRF’s inaugural Clarence Darrow Award with a speech that included: “Three years ago, if the Christian fundamentalists of America had been told they would be voting en masse for a pathological liar, a serial philanderer, a man whose very name when placed in the same sentence with the phrase Christian values elicits laughter, they would have been insulted. As arbiters of all things moral and ethical, they would have been shocked. But that was then and this is now.” 

De Lancie’s new projects include an animated series titled “God’s Goofs” on the absurdity of so-called intelligent design to deflate the notion that humankind is the product of a creator and a stage play based on the 2005 intelligent design trial in Dover, Pa. 

Freedom From Religion Foundation