On this SPECIAL EDITION of THE INTERVUE, I am reporting from the Hyatt Regency Long Island in Hauppage, NY for the very first Trek Long Island convention for some adventures and some great interviews.
In the first in a series of intervues, I got to meet a wonderful actress who has a history in Trek galaxy. She made her debut playing Lt. Saavik in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Since then, she has done guest spots in the 80s series MacGyver, Night Court and Knight Rider. Nowadays, she is a realtor in her home state of New York.
We have the one and only, ROBIN CURTIS
How does it feel to be here at Trek Long Island?
Oh Dean, I really enjoy the conventions. It’s wonderful to be pulled out of my sleepy life in upstate New York. I’m currently a real estate agent and I live in a lovely, lovely village in Cazenovia, a little lake town, just outside Syracuse. And so, driving down yesterday to Long Island to this lovely hotel in anticipation of rejoining my kin as it were, the Star Trek family was really fun.
It’s I mean, I love coming up to conventions. I think the fans are generally without, you know, using too broad a brush stroke, the most intelligent, charitable, warm, self-deprecating, politically aware, intelligent, creative people I’ve ever met. So why wouldn’t I want to come out and have some fun and play with everybody!
And I cannot believe that this year is the 40th anniversary of Star Trek III was filmed.
God that fact kind of slipped by me. I’ve been looking forward to it. I didn’t realize that we are in the 40th. And, you know, we shot it in 1983. Yeah. In fact, this fall, this autumn will be the 40th anniversary of working on the film. It came out in ‘84. So, we’re one year away from the release.
What are some of your fondest memories of taking over Lt. Saavik from Kirstie who played her in Star Trek II and you got to work with Mr. Nimoy.
Well, I think honestly if I had to pinpoint one thing, it would be Leonard Nimoy. The way I met him, was so gracious and gentle, have a first encounter. You know, typically, when you go to the studio, for a part in, major motion picture, there’s a lot of stress. And often there are so many people in the room, you’re not even sure who’s who you might know who the casting director is, because you’ve met them before. But you’re not sure if there’s a producer in the room, a director, whomever. In this case, I went to visit with the casting office. It was Stewart Jensen, and Elza Bergeron and I adore her.
And almost I think within 24 hours, they set up a meeting one on one with Leonard Nimoy. So, there I was in his office. And from that moment going forward, Dean, I go back to that moment, because I think for any actor, coming into a role that was established by someone else, you go gingerly, and you go respectfully into those waters, because you don’t want to step on a toe. And you want to maintain the integrity of what’s been established already. And so, it’s a bit of an awkward dance, because you’re waiting intuitively for the cues from the other side. I think what blew my mind was that Leonard Nimoy just so instinctively, decided to just direct me and pull me into the part as if it had never been played before, right.
I didn’t have to recreate something. I didn’t have to imitate someone; I didn’t have to study Kirstie’s performance. In fact, I stayed away from it so that I would not be influenced one way or another, or even, you know, without realizing it, attempt to imitate what she had done. And it turned out to be the right choice because Leonard’s direction of the character was so different, I think, then then what Nicholas Meyer and Kirstie Alley had done, and it makes you realize how much of a collaboration what we do is, it isn’t just me putting the imprint of my experiences in my training and my skill to whatever degree. I have skill, the character.
It’s very much, a director, actor, team thing. I was so grateful for the entire journey, coming to the set, the audition process and then coming to the set being chosen, showing up to work for the first day and the kinds of things. The way he took care of me, and he’s promised he would the first day. He maintained that commitment throughout the eight weeks of shooting. And afterward he was also such a gentleman. We didn’t get to be buddies, and I didn’t call him outside the work realm. I knew that he and I had had a sort of a mutual respect and appreciation for each other.
Well, I’m so glad to hear it. Let’s talk about your career as a real estate realtor. How did that come about that you went from going to acting to selling and showing homes?
It’s a pretty cliche story, actually. I moved back to upstate New York after my last divorce. I had left L.A. finally and married as someone from my childhood, something that I had a history with, and moved to where he lived in Cincinnati. And when the marriage was over, I jokingly say the role of the Midwestern housewife ended after three and a half years. I had a good run, but it was over. I thought, unlike going back to L.A., I chose to go home, which I had always missed and yearn for. I lived in Southern California and home is upstate New York, very upstate Central New York, we’re talking dead center of the state, Syracuse, New York. My brother and his wife live in Cazenovia. This lovely little town as I mentioned earlier, think modest Lake town, you know, not hoity toity, but you know, a very blue-collar community.
Anyway, I bought a little old house in the village. Now that I’m in real estate, probably a completely inappropriate purchase for someone my age, there I was, in my late 40s, buying a 200-year-old home in the village, which meant I would pay village taxes for the rest of my life and get nothing for it. But in any case, I’m in a walkable village in the house, I fell in love with it, Dean. Now that I’m a real estate agent, I wish that for everyone to feel that emotional connection. Without a data house should be a good investment. But that’s that’s very much not all. Yes, make a smart decision with your money and work within your budget. And pick a home that fits your family’s lifestyle and needs. But without a doubt, don’t leave out that that intangible component, which is loving home and imagining your life there and your happiness in that home and the joy and the disappointments of life that will come inevitably, if the pandemic taught us anything, right. Yeah, love our spaces, because we might be stuck in them,
So, I hired I interviewed for contractors, I hired one of them and that and that gentleman came to do some renovations and kind of pull the house out of the 20th century and into the 21st century. And I fell in love with a man, and that’s what got me into real estate. We formed a very small custom homebuilding company, and never looked back. I worked our tails off for 17 years. We had a good run, never got married, but we were very much a couple raised his two boys. I had the children I never had a biologically I raised his two sons from the age of three. And they’re super still in touch with each other. He and I are still very close. And so you know if that’s what took me in the direction of real estate, I swear, Dean, if this guy had manufactured widgets, I’d be a widget salesperson today. Oh, I know what you mean, wasn’t the business so much as it was him and being a team. Again, that concept of team is a really strong one with me being his teammate.
Well, my last question is since we met throughout the years through Sci-fi Jeopardy, which by the way, it was the first and only celebrity game show I’ve ever hosted. We met at the Nemesis premiere 20 plus years ago. Why do you feel Star Trek has endure all these years?
I think it’s a message when did Gene conceive of the show in the early 60s, that’s needed more today than it was the kind of opposition and conflict there is between political parties. I can’t even categorize what’s happening in our country. It’s so horrifying to me. With the way social media is completely shifting the way young people are growing up in their in their self-image and the way they connect to other people in Star Trek is all about, you know, celebrating differences.
I love that that little phrase that Gene coined “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations”. The idea that it’s our fear of the unknown or something different than us that, that gives birth to judgment and formed opinions that don’t belong. And so, more than ever, we need this message of inclusion, and reaching across the divide and connecting with other people. There’s an epidemic of loneliness in this country. I was so lucky to have such a wholesome upbringing to be the center of my parents’ world, and it breaks my heart, that so many grew up in broken homes. And they are facing the challenges as young people alone and don’t feel that they there are people out there that love them and connect. One of the things I’ve loved in recent times, the Oscars and the actors that get out there and use that platform to reach out to trans children, gay, LGBTQ and minorities. I love that they celebrate those disenfranchised people who deserve to belong to our community as much as anybody else. That that warms my heart and that’s a message I’m willing to be a part of any day loudly from the rooftops okay.
Stay tuned for more interviews from Trek Long Island!