John de Lancie

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John de Lancie
John de Lancie opera.jpg
de Lancie in November 2009
Born (1948-11-13) November 13, 1948 (age 71)
EducationJuilliard School (BFA)
OccupationActor, comedian, director, producer, writer
Years active1976–present
ChildrenKeegan de Lancie

John Sherwood de Lancie, Jr. (born 1948) is an American actor, director, producer, and writer, best known for his role as Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994) and the voice of Discord in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (2010–2019).

He has been featured in several recurring roles on television series, including Frank Simmons in Stargate SG-1 (2001–2002) and Donald Margolis in Breaking Bad (2009–2010).

Early life[edit]

De Lancie was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1948, one of two children born to Andrea de Lancie and John Sherwood de Lancie, principal oboist of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1954 to 1977. He has a sister, Christina.[1][2]

I was dyslexic, but at the time that was not really a word that was used. What was used was "mildly retarded" or "slow".

— John de Lancie

Being dyslexic, he struggled with reading difficulties throughout his school years.[3] One of his teachers recommended to his parents to encourage him to consider a career as an actor. He ended up winning a scholarship to the Juilliard School in New York.[4]



Star Trek[edit]

De Lancie portrayed Q, a recurring character in several of the Star Trek franchise series. He is one of the few characters appearing in multiple series of the franchise. In eight episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation ("Encounter at Farpoint", "Hide and Q", "Q Who", "Deja Q", "Qpid", "True Q", "Tapestry", "All Good Things ..."), in one episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ("Q-Less"), and in three episodes of Star Trek: Voyager ("Death Wish", "The Q and the Grey", "Q2"). De Lancie's son Keegan de Lancie appeared with his father as Q's son in one episode of Star Trek: Voyager ("Q2").[2]

My popularity is very disproportionate to the amount of times that I actually was on the show. ... It's a double-edged sword. I never partook of the financial rewards of the show in terms of being a regular, I just came on and once a year would do a show.

— John de Lancie

De Lancie was initially too busy to audition for the part of "Q" but Gene Roddenberry, whom he did not know, arranged a second opportunity. De Lancie recognizes that even though Star Trek was only a small part of his career, it opened doors for him.[5]

Other television roles[edit]

De Lancie at a convention on July 22, 2006

In addition to his role in Star Trek, de Lancie has appeared in many other television series. He most notably plays the voice of Discord, a recurring character in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Discord was inspired by de Lancie's "Q", as an omnipotent being who embodies chaos but is occasionally helpful to the heroes of the show. He was a popular actor on Days of Our Lives as Eugene Bradford. He also co-starred in Michael Piller's creation, Legend[6] and had recurring roles in Stargate SG-1 as an NID agent.[7]

He has also guest-starred in multiple television series, including Breaking Bad, The West Wing, Charmed, Andromeda, The Unit, MacGyver, Law & Order: LA, Torchwood: Miracle Day, Touched by an Angel, Time Trax, the 1980s revival of Mission: Impossible, and Special Unit 2, along with animated series, including The Angry Beavers, Extreme Ghostbusters, Invader Zim, Duck Dodgers, Max Steel, Duckman, Young Justice,[8][7] and DC Super Hero Girls as Mr. Freeze.[9]


De Lancie's film credits include The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, Get Smart, Again!, The Fisher King, Bad Influence, The Onion Field, Taking Care of Business, Fearless, Arcade, Multiplicity, Woman on Top, Good Advice, The Big Time, Pathology, Evolver, Reign Over Me, My Apocalypse, Crank: High Voltage, and You Lucky Dog.[7]


John de Lancie at a performance in 2007

De Lancie has been a member of the American Shakespeare Festival, the Seattle Repertory Company, South Coast Repertory, the Mark Taper Forum, and the Old Globe (where he performed Arthur Miller's Resurrection Blues).[8][10][11]

He has performed and directed for Los Angeles Theater Works, the producing arm of KCRW-FM and National Public Radio, where the series The Play's the Thing originates.[11][12]

De Lancie appeared in Star Trek: The Music, a touring company, with Robert Picardo. De Lancie and Picardo narrate around the orchestral performance, explaining the history of the music in Star Trek.[12] He performed Pierre Curie in Alan Alda's play, Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie in 2001 at the Geffen Theater in Los Angeles.[13]

Video games[edit]

De Lancie voiced the characters of Antonio Malochio in Interstate '76, Trias in Planescape: Torment, and Dr. Death in Outlaws, William Miles in Assassin's Creed: Revelations and Assassin's Creed III, Fitz Quadwrangle in Quantum Conundrum, and Q in both the Star Trek: The Next Generation pinball game and the mobile game Star Trek Timelines, and portrayed Q in Star Trek: Borg. He further voiced human emperor in Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars.[14][12][15] He also voiced Alarak in StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void[16] and reprised the role for Heroes of the Storm. More recently he voiced Geist, the leader of the Templars in the XCOM 2 expansion, War of the Chosen.


De Lancie co-wrote the Star Trek novel I, Q with Peter David, as well as co-writing the novel Soldier of Light (with Tom Cool).[17] He wrote the DC comic book story The Gift.[18] With Leonard Nimoy, de Lancie recorded several audio dramas based on classic science-fiction tales, under the label "Alien Voices".[12]


De Lancie has performed as narrator with a number of major orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic,[8] the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra[10][11] and Symphony Nova Scotia.[19] He provided the narration for the world premiere of Lorenzo Palomo's The Sneetches and Other Stories (based on the book by Dr. Seuss) with the Oberlin Conservatory Orchestra.[20][21] He has written and directed ten symphonic plays which were produced with the Milwaukee, St. Paul Chamber, Ravinia, Los Angeles, and Pasadena Orchestras.[11]

De Lancie was the writer, director and host of First Nights, an adult concert series at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic,[10][11] based loosely on the book of the same name by Thomas Forrest Kelly, which explored the life and music of Stravinsky, Beethoven, Mahler, Schumann, and Prokofiev. In 2006, de Lancie made his opera directorial debut with the Atlanta Opera performing Puccini's "Tosca" from May 18–21.[2][11]

In September 2019, De Lancie narrated as "Forever of the Stars" in the first ever live performances of Ayreon's Sci-Fi concept album Into the Electric Castle.[22]


De Lancie at the 2012 Summer BronyCon

While on stage at the 2012 Ottawa ComicCon, de Lancie announced that he had made plans to co-produce a documentary about "bronies" (older, usually male teenage and adult fans of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic). De Lancie stated he was taken aback by how disrespectfully national news media portrayed the brony fandom.[23]

He began a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the documentary, now titled Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony.[24] The Kickstarter campaign began on May 13, 2012, and by June 10, 2012, had reached a total of $322,022, becoming Kickstarter's second-highest funded film project of all time.[24]

Beliefs and activism[edit]

Raised by secular parents, de Lancie is an atheist and humanist, who routinely advocates for others who have this view to be open about it. Of his education in a religious school in Philadelphia, he remembers associating religion with manipulation. Rather than developing a religious outlook, de Lancie became fascinated by an ever-changing world: "I’m wondering if one of the things at the core of believing in God, or not, has to do with change. I have grown to embrace change. Personally, I love reading the science section in the paper every morning. I’m in awe of humankind’s boundless curiosity."[25][26]

On June 4, 2016, he addressed the participants at the Reason Rally in Washington, D.C. Speaking in reference to his Star Trek character Q, he said:

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 ... My creators took great care in exalting me to the position I hold today. And just like all the gods before me—Zeus, Baal, Yahweh—my god creators wanted you to believe that I am the omnipotent one. The alpha and the omega… Truth be told… I don't exist any more than the thousands of other gods that humans have created, worshiped, and died for since the beginning of time. But if you insist on believing in me, you do so at your own risk… I will lead you down the path of ignorance, intolerance, and bigotry… All because you believe.[25][27]

On July 14, 2017, he attended the unveiling of a statue of Clarence Darrow at the Rhea County Courthouse, Dayton, Tennessee, the site of the Scopes Trial in 1925, where Darrow had argued in favor of the teaching of evolution and secular education.[28][29]

In April 2019, the Center for Inquiry announced that de Lancie was scheduled to be a featured speaker in October of that year at their annual conference, CSICon.[25][30] At that conference de Lancie announced two new projects.[31] The first, an animated series titled God's Goofs which is meant to point out that intelligent design is absurd. For instance, how absurd is it that we eat and breathe through the same pipe? The second project is a play based on the 2005 intelligent design trial in Dover, Pennsylvania.[32]

Personal life[edit]

De Lancie is married to actress Marnie Mosiman, who guest-starred as Harmony/Wisdom/Balance in "Loud as a Whisper", an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.[2] The couple have two sons: Keegan (born 1984) and Owen (born 1987).[33]

De Lancie is an experienced sailor who spends a lot of his time on the Pacific Ocean, which "sometimes involves very terrifying experiences."[34][35]



Year Title Role Notes
1979 The Onion Field LAPD Lieutenant No. 2
1990 Bad Influence Howard
1990 Taking Care of Business Ted Bradford Jr.
1991 The Fisher King TV Executive
1992 The Hand that Rocks the Cradle Dr. Victor Mott
1993 Arcade Difford
1993 Fearless Jeff Gordon
1994 Deep Red Thomas Newmeyer
1995 Evolver Russell Bennett
1996 Multiplicity Ted Gray
1997 Trekkies Himself
1998 Saving Private Ryan Letter-Reader Voice
1998 You Lucky Dog Lyle Windsor
1999 Final Run George Bouchard
2000 Woman on Top Alex Reeves
2001 Nicolas Dr. Fisher
2001 Good Advice Ted
2007 Reign Over Me Nigel Pennington
2007 Teenius Principal Senseman
2008 My Apocalypse Nathan Eastman
2008 Pathology Dr. Quentin Morris
2009 Crank: High Voltage Fish Halman
2009 Gamer Chief of Staff
2013 Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony Himself Co-producer
2015 Visions Victor Napoli
2017 Olaf's Frozen Adventure Mr. Olsen Voice


Year Title Role Notes
1977 Barnaby Jones Grady Season 6 Ep21 Terror on a Quiet Afternoon
1977 McMillan & Wife Powell
1977 SST: Death Flight Bob Connors Television film
1977–1978 The Six Million Dollar Man Various Characters
1978–1979 Emergency! Dr. Deroy
1978 The Bastard Lt. Stark
1979 Battlestar Galactica Officer Episode: "Experiment in Terra"
1981 Nero Wolfe Tom Irwin Episode: "Might as Well Be Dead"
1982–1986 Days of Our Lives Eugene Bradford
1983 The Thorn Birds Alastair MacQueen Miniseries
1986 The New Twilight Zone The Dispatcher Episode: "Dead Run"
1986 MacGyver Brian Ashford Episode: "The Escape"
1986 Murder, She Wrote Binky Holborn Episode: "If the Frame Fits"
1987–1994 Star Trek: The Next Generation Q 8 episodes
1988 Mission: Impossible Matthew Drake Episode: "The Killer"
1989 Days of Our Lives Eugene Bradford
1989 Get Smart, Again! Major Preston Waterhouse Uncredited
1989 The Nutt House Norman Shrike Episode: "Pilot"
1991 L.A. Law Mark Chelios Episode: "The Beverly Hill Hangers"
1993 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Q Episode: "Q-Less"
1993 Batman: The Animated Series Eagleton
1994 Without Warning Barry Steinbrenner Television film
1995 Legend Janos Bartok
1996 Picket Fences District Attorney Episode: "Three Weddings and a Meltdown"
1996 Touched by an Angel Justinian Jones Episode: "Jones vs. God"
1997 Duckman Tyler Fitzgerald Episode: "From Brad to Worse"
1996–2001 Star Trek: Voyager Q 3 episodes
1996-1997 The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest Dr. Quest 17 episodes
2000 Angry Beavers The Yak in the Sack Episode: "Yak in the Sack"
2000 The Outer Limits Donald Finley Episode: "The Gun"
2000 The West Wing Al Kiefer 2 episodes
2000 Sports Night Bert Stors Episode: "April is the Cruelest Month"
2001–2002 Andromeda Sid Barry alias Sam Profitt 2 episodes
2001 Special Unit 2 King of the Links Episode: "The Eve"
2001 The Practice Walter Bannish
2001 Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future Gerard Hamilton Episode: "The Surrender of Earth"
2002 Crossing Jordan Medical Examiner Thaxton Episode: "Payback"
2001–2002 Stargate SG-1 Colonel Frank Simmons / Goa'uld 5 episodes
2003 Judging Amy Dr. Eagan Episode: "Picture of Perfect"
2003 Duck Dodgers Sinestro Voice
Episode: "The Green Loontern"
2004–2005 Charmed Odin
2005 The Closer Dr. Dawson Episode: "Flashpoint
2005 Invader Zim Agent Darkbootie Voice
2 episodes
2008 The Unit Elliott Gillum Episode: “Dancing Lessons”
2009 Greek Himself Episode: "The Dork Knight"
2009–2010 Breaking Bad Donald Margolis 4 episodes
2011 Law & Order: LA Judge Avery Staynor Episode "Carthay Circle"
2011 Franklin & Bash Gallen Episode "Bachelor Party"
2011 Torchwood: Miracle Day Agent Allen Shapiro 3 episodes
2011 Young Justice Mister Twister Voice
Episode: "Welcome to Happy Harbor"
2011–2019 My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Discord Voice
23 episodes
1 television special
2012 NTSF:SD:SUV:: Leonardo da Vinci Episode: "Time Angels"
2012 The Secret Circle Royce Armstrong Episode: "Crystal"
2014 The Mentalist Edward Feinberg Episode: "Silver Wings of Times"
2014 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation General Robert Landsdale Episode: "Boston Brakes"
2015 The Librarians Mephistopheles Episode: "And the Infernal Contract"
2016 Justice League Action Brainiac Voice
2 episodes
2017 Star Trek Continues Galisti Episode: "What Ships Are For"[36]
2019 DC Super Hero Girls Mr. Freeze[9]

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1996 Star Trek: Borg Q
1997 Outlaws Matthew 'Dr. Death' Jackson Voice[7]
1997 Interstate '76 Antonio Malochio Voice[7]
1998 Star Trek: The Game Show Q[7]
1998 Interstate '76 Arsenal Antonio Malochio Voice[7]
1999 Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned Montreaux Voice[7]
1999 Planescape: Torment Trias the Betrayer Voice[7]
2000 Star Trek: ConQuest Online Q Voice[7]
2011 Assassin's Creed: Revelations William Miles Voice[7]
2012 Quantum Conundrum Professor Fitz Quadwrangle Voice
2012 Assassin's Creed III William Miles Voice[7]
2014 Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff Q Voice[7]
2015 StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Alarak Voice
2015 My Little Pony, Twilight's Kingdom Storybook App Discord Voice[7]
2016 Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars Human Emperor Voice[7]
2016 Heroes of the Storm Alarak Voice
2016 StarCraft II: Nova Covert Ops Alarak Voice[7]
2016 World of Warcraft: Legion Vydhar / Morphael Voice (uncredited)[7]
2017 XCOM 2: War of the Chosen Geist Voice
2018 Payday 2 46th President of the United States
2019 Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Rushmore


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  24. ^ a b "BronyCon: The Documentary by Michael Brockhoff". May 14, 2012. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
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  29. ^ Benton, Ben. "Statue for lawyer in famous Dayton, Tenn. Scopes Trial unveiled [photos]". Times Free Press, July 15, 2017. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
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  31. ^ Frazier, Kendrick (April 2020). "From fantasyland America to the fabric of space and time". Skeptical Inquirer. 44 (2): 8–17.
  32. ^ Fidalgo, Paul (October 19, 2019). "The Belief Barrier: Moving An Immovable Object At CSICon". Center for Inquiry. Archived from the original on December 16, 2019. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
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  36. ^ "What Ships Are For (2017) Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. Retrieved June 20, 2019.

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