Vaughn Armstrong has been working in the Trekverse for over three decades. Though he hasn’t had a role in one of the shows since the 2000s, he’s still a major fixture at “Star Trek” conventions and cruises all over the world.
In an exclusive interview with Heavy, Armstrong talked about what it’s like to spend more than 30 years with the Trek family.
Becoming a Trek Regular
When he landed his first “Star Trek” role as Commander Korris in 1988, Armstrong didn’t think he’d make an entire career out of appearing in the Trekverse.
Of course, you think that first role is going to be the last one. But then in my head went off a light that said ‘You know, all they gotta do is give you another forehead and make you another guy.’ So, I kind of encouraged that, at the time. I’d send them reviews and stuff. And then I got that second call.
That second call came almost five years later, for the first season of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” Armstrong won another role on DS9 several years later, this time appearing twice. After that, he landed on the regular call list for guest stars.
“After about the fourth time, they would just call me. Rarely, if the director had not met me, they would call me in. But for the most part after about the fourth time they’d just say ‘Vaughn, you want to do this?’ My answer was always ‘Yes!'”
Armstrong played five different roles in “Star Trek: Voyager,” the record for the number of named roles in a single series. Though Trek veteran Jeffrey Combs also played five different characters in DS9, one of them was a background extra.
When the casting for “Star Trek: Enterprise” began, Armstrong made sure that he was on the call list.
“They had been saying to me, ‘Vaughn you’re going to play a human one day!’ So, I did send them a packet of pictures of the characters I had done, when I heard the new show was coming on. And I sent them a thing with a note that said, ‘Don’t forget me.’ And within the next day or two, they called.
The “Enterprise” team did make him audition for the role of Admiral Maxwell Forrest, but according to Armstrong, they already knew they wanted him.
“Apparently, I walked into the room and they knew it already. And I had a good time being there. I told them I’d done seven or so characters at that point… They said ‘Wow, that’s got to be some kind of record!’ And it was. A radio personality had just called me the day before and told me that. I didn’t know that. I thought everybody did a bunch of characters. Still have the record. Proud of it!”
Armstrong portrayed Forrest in 15 episodes of “Enterprise.” He also played three additional roles on the show.
Though his onscreen “Star Trek” career ended after “Enterprise,” Armstrong has remained deeply embedded in the culture of “Star Trek” by appearing at “Star Trek” conventions and on “Star Trek: The Crusie.”
Becoming Part of the Family
Over the years, Armstrong has gotten very close with some of the actors he worked with in the Trekverse, mostly from working the convention circuit together.
“We get to hang out together. Dominic Keating and Connor Trineer we’ve become good friends through travel. We hang out at the airports together, go on these outings together on the cruises and things. We’ve become good friends.
Armstrong is also very good friends with Trek regulars Casey Biggs, Steve Rankin, and Richard Herd. They often run into each other at conventions and hung out during the downtime between panels. The actors started a “Star Trek” themed band together called the Enterprise Blues Band, which often performs at Trek conventions.
Armstrong is still a major part of the “Star Trek” family to this day. He’s looking forward to returning to conventions. He revealed that he and Combs would be doing a Shakespeare performance at Star Trek Las Vegas this year.
He’s also working on a new horror film, in which he gets to play “the horror.”
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