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Guy Vardaman

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(written from a Production point of view)
Guy Vardaman
Name: Guy Vardaman
Born: 26 December 1964
Occupations: Stand-in, performer, photo double, research consultant, licensee, computer animator
Main Character: Darien Wallace
Darien Wallace
Caption: Guy Vardaman as Darien Wallace

Guy Vardaman (born 26 December 1964; age 49) is a stand-in performer who often appeared in the role of Darien Wallace on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He also served as photo double for Data during the majority of the show's run, from the first season's "The Big Goodbye" through the final episode, as well as for Star Trek Generations. Additionally, he was a Research Consultant for the show's creator, Gene Roddenberry.

On the set

Vardaman joined the crew of TNG when he was sent to be an extra for the episode "The Big Goodbye". He found the assignment to be "quite a kick" since he was a fan of the original series. During those first few days, he was often mistaken for Brent Spiner, the actor who played Data. Those who made this error would normally do so in distress since Spiner was supposed to be in make-up, and Vardaman was not. These incidents ultimately led to Vardaman being assigned as Spiner's photo double just a few episodes later. (TNG Season 6 DVD)

Vardaman's first on-screen appearance was as a passerby on the Dixon Hill holodeck program in "The Big Goodbye". His first appearance as Starfleet officer Darien Wallace came in the episode "Datalore". He would go on to appear as the character in 62 more episodes (counting his appearance in a photograph in "Eye of the Beholder"). Darien Wallace is also featured on a card for the Star Trek Customizable Card Game. [1] Although introduced in the first season, the character was not named until the sixth season's "Descent", when Jonathan Frakes (as Riker) pointed out Vardaman and another extra and referred to them as "Wallace and Towles", after two members of the writing staff. (TNG Season 6 DVD) A biographical screen in "Eye of the Beholder" revealed the character's full name to be Darien Wallace.

Guy Vardaman photo doubling

...photo doubling for Brent Spiner in "All Good Things...".

In his role as a Starfleet officer, Vardaman was seen manning both the ops and conn stations on the bridge. He was often seen in corridors or in main engineering and also in Ten Forward, in Season 5 usually wearing a grey casual suit when having a drink. He has worn the colors of all three Starfleet divisions. He was usually seen wearing operations yellow, but he did wear science blue for an episode of the first season and also wore command red on several occasions. The only times he wore red, however, was when he was assigned to the conn. However, there were those on the production staff who felt that his scenes at the conn looked a bit awkward due to his physical similarity to Brent Spiner, who was seated at the console next to him. There are even shots in "The Wounded" where both Vardaman's and Spiner's hands are at the same position on their respective consoles – ironic since one of Vardaman's duties as Spiner's photo double is to be the actor's hands during certain close-up shots. While it made sense for Vardaman to resemble Spiner since he was the actor's photo double, the production crew "thought it looked too strange" when he was seated next to Spiner. In "All Good Things..., his original Seasons 1-3 gold uniform was no longer available so he was seen in red once again, wearing his uniform from "The Hunted". He never had to wear the "skant" uniform of Season 1.

As his doubling for Brent Spiner required him to be dressed like Data, Vardaman got fitted for numerous special outfits that Brent Spiner wore as well, including the suit Data wore as Carlos in "The Big Goodbye", various Sherlock Holmes outfits, Frank Hollander's suit and Lore jumpsuits. This also meant that he was provided with the regular two-piece uniform, worn by the main characters beginning with season 3. Though he was still seen wearing the old one-piece jumpsuit in season 3, he was one of the few extras seen in later seasons, wearing the more comfortable two-piece duty uniform, not the modified lycra jumpsuits. At the beginning of Season 5, he was fitted for a casual grey two piece suit, that he would often be seen wearing in Ten Forward, beginning with "Ensign Ro. Only few extras who were working on the set for several seasons got fitted for additional oufits. Finally, as Dwight Schultz wore Vardaman's costume when appearing on the show as Reginald Barclay, it was also Wallace's uniform that was auctioned off at the 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection auction for $2.640 in early October 2006.

Temple of Masaka sign

...hand doubling Brent Spiner.

On doubling for Data, Vardaman stated that Spiner would often discuss with him an upcoming scene and was very particular regarding how closely Vardaman's hands resembled his own and even how Vardaman used his hands on-screen, for the sake of consistency. "In some cases," stated Vardaman. "[Brent] would coach me on how he wanted the buttons to be pressed so that it was consistent... once I started to do the photo doubling, he also was very loyal to me and [ensured] that I continued doing the photo doubling so that the work was consistent and if there was a close-up shot, either Brent did it or I did it." (TNG Season 6 & Season 4 DVD)

His hand doubling included much more then pressing buttons, however. To name just a few: He was first seen as Data's hands in his very first appearance on Star Trek, in "The Big Goodbye", where he crushes the gun of one of Cyrus Redblock's thugs at the end of the episode. It's Guy Vardaman's hand that the nanites crawl into in the computer core in "Evolution". He also doubled Data's hands when the android, taken over by several D'Arsay characters, including Ihat, is teaching Captain Picard the symbol for Masaka's temple in "Masks" and draws the sign into the sand. Finally, when Data reverses the polarity of an axial servo in his arm to open a hidden door in the Amargosa Diaspora ("Open Sesame!") in Star Trek: Generations, it is Vardaman's arm as well.

He also did hand signs for the mediator Riva in "Loud as a Whisper" and was tought the signs by Brent Spiner.

On his way driving to rehearsals for scenes from "Brothers", where he would have doubled for Brent Spiner in his dual roles as Data and Lore, another driver suddenly changed into Vardaman's line and caused a head-on collision of the two cars. Vardaman had to stay in bed for a very long time, explaining Wallace's absence in the first half of season 4. By the time of "The Loss", he was still unsteady on his feet (in hospital, he had also contracted spinal meningitis) so he is only seen lying on a bed in sickbay, apparently injured after the Enterprise-D was violently shaken when trying to break loose from a cosmic string. In "The Wounded", he is only seen sitting at conn, and finally in "Identity Crisis", the 18th episode of that season, he returned in full swing.

David Carson and Klingons

as a Klingon, with director David Carson.

Vardaman went on to play the part of a Klingon numerous times – twice in a Star Trek film. The first was the Klingon officer serving on board Chang's Bird-of-Prey in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; the second was the Klingon officer serving on the Duras sisters' Bird-of-Prey in Star Trek Generations. His characters in both of these films stood in the same location on the bridge of each bird-of-prey – behind and to the right of the captain's chair.

He also appeared as a member of the Klingon High Council in "Sins of the Father" and as the Klingon helmsman of K'Vada's Bird-of-Prey in "Unification I" and "II". He even played a Klingon in a Hallmark commercial promoting a Klingon Bird-of-Prey Christmas ornament, along with Robert O'Reilly. This commercial was done entirely in Klingon (with English subtitles, of course). The Klingon language itself was written by Marc Okrand for authenticity. The commercial has a Klingon commander (played by O'Reilly) rewarding his officers for their victory in battle by giving them a gift – a Klingon bird-of-prey Christmas ornament. We then see an insert shot of the ornament in Vardaman's hand, after which Vardaman's Klingon remarks "That was very nice of him", to which the other Klingon suggests giving their commander a "thank you" card.

He also played unnamed Romulans twice on TNG, first in the episode "Timescape" and then in "Face of the Enemy".

Guy Vardaman and Leonard Nimoy

Guy Vardaman and Leonard Nimoy

Despite having appeared in over 60 episodes, Vardaman only spoke two words on-screen. As Wallace, he said "Good" in "The Next Phase"; and as the Klingon officer in Generations, he was heard shouting "petaQ!" Also in Generations, he was seen mouthing the Klingon phrase "Qapla", but it was not audible, similar to a mouthed "Thank You" to Diana Giddings in "Evolution". He also did not receive screen credit for any of his appearances.

Vardaman was also the permanent stand-in for Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher during the show's first four seasons and appeared several more times in later seasons. Additionally, Vardaman served as a stand-in for Leonard Nimoy in the episode "Unification II". He also stood in for many other guest characters on the show, including David Ogden Stiers as Doctor Timicin, John de Lancie as Q in all of his episodes with the exception of the pilot, "Hide and Q", and the finale, and Dwight Schultz as Barclay, who also wore Vardaman's uniform in his episodes.

His stand-in duties also required him to photo double other characters, or parts of their bodies. He was Worf's shoulder once, as well as Geordi La Forge's feet. He was even Beverly Crusher's torso in various insert shots when it was just required to see a part of her uniform in a reflection or something similarly small.

Behind the scenes

File:GuyVardamanandGeneRoddenberry.jpg
Romulan font Geordi's VISOR

Romulan overlay from (TNG: "The Mind's Eye")

Besides being a stand-in and background performer, Vardaman also served as "Research Consultant" for Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry from TNG's first season until Roddenberry's death in 1991. In the TNG Season 5 DVD feature "A Tribute to Gene Roddenberry", Vardaman spoke of Gene as being intensely loyal to his friends and thoughtful in everything he did. "On the one hand," Vardaman stated, "He had to be an executive producer, and sometimes that is not a very pretty job." On the other hand, he noted, "Gene Roddenberry, the person, was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met."

After Roddenberry's death, Vardaman worked in TNG's production office and later in the licensing division, a move which limited his on-screen appearances on the show during the sixth and seventh seasons.

Vardaman is also a computer animator, and did occasional animation work on TNG, such as the Romulan overlay seen through Geordi's VISOR in the episode "The Mind's Eye". Mike Okuda sped up the final animation.

Other projects

Vardaman also worked as a computer animator for a 1991 TV special called Star Trek Logs: An MTV Big Picture Special Edition. This special was used to promote Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country while also tying in characters from The Next Generation.

In addition to being an animator for TNG, he also served in this function on the television pilots for The Flash (1990) and Red Dwarf (1992).

After TNG ended in 1994, Vardaman went on to work for Paramount Digital Entertainment, where he produced Paramount's official Star Trek website, StarTrek.com. He maintained the site from its infancy as the Star Trek: Continuum on the Microsoft Network (or MSN) in 1995 until late 1999. While working for that site, he hosted several online chats with various Star Trek regulars, including Brent Spiner, Robert Duncan McNeill, Jonathan Frakes, Terry Farrell, Robert Beltran, Jeri Ryan, Roxann Dawson, Chase Masterson and Mike and Denise Okuda. Afterwards, Vardaman began working at Warner Bros. Online, ultimately becoming the Vice President of Production.

Beginning with No. 71 and serving in that function till the final issue, No. 304, Vardaman worked as Art Editor for the Star Trek Fact Files. He would collect and research art references for the artists in England who drew the ship schematics and various graphics for the magazine.

Vardaman has also been a guest speaker at many Star Trek conventions, including a few in Germany. He recalls the conventions as being "a lot of fun".

Current status

Guy lives in Burbank, California with his wife Mary and son, Luke and is working to teach science to children with the Snark-a-Snoops children's production. Although it is currently a live stage production, attempts are being made to transfer the show to television.

DVD appearances

Star Trek: The Next Generation

  • TNG Season 6 DVD
    • Bold new directions
    • Special Crew Profile: Lt. Cmdr. Data (interviewed)
    • Select historical data (interviewed)

Star Trek Motion Pictures

Appearances as Darien Wallace

Additional Appearances

Other Characters performed by Guy Vardaman
Klingon officer, Chang's BoP
Holographic passerby Klingon officer Klingon helmsman
TNG:
"The Big Goodbye"
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country TNG:
"Unification I"
Klingon officer Guy Vardaman
Klingon officer Romulan guard Romulan officer
Star Trek Generations TNG:
"Timescape"
TNG:
"Face of the Enemy"

External Links

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