John de Lancie

John de Lancie is an American actor, director, producer, writer, and voice artist, best known for his role as Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–94), and the voice of Discord in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (2010–2019).

John de Lancie
John de Lancie in 2009
EducationJuilliard School (BFA)
OccupationActor, comedian, director, producer, writer, voice artist
Years active1976–present
Marnie Mosiman
(m. 1984)
Children2, including Keegan de Lancie

He has been featured in several recurring roles on television series, including Frank Simmons in Stargate SG-1 (1997–2007) and Donald Margolis in Breaking Bad (2008–13).

Early life

De Lancie is one of two children born to Andrea de Lancie and principal oboist of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1954-1977 John Sherwood de Lancie (July 26, 1921 – May 17, 2002). 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

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

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]


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

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]


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 that 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

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]

He addressed the participants at the Reason Rally in Washington, D.C., on June 4, 2016. 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, de Lancie 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. 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 breath through the same pipe? The second project is a play based on the 2005 intelligent design trail in Dover, Pennsylvania.[31]

Personal life

De Lancie is married to actress Marnie Mosiman, who guest-starred in one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation as a character known as Harmony/Wisdom/Balance in the episode "Loud as a Whisper".[2] The couple have two sons: Keegan (born 1984) and Owen (born 1987).[32][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]

Selected filmography


1979The Onion FieldLAPD Lieutenant #2
1990Bad InfluenceHoward
1990Taking Care of BusinessTed Bradford Jr.
1991The Fisher KingTV Executive
1992The Hand that Rocks the CradleDr. Victor Mott
1993FearlessJeff Gordon
1994Deep RedThomas Newmeyer
1995EvolverRussell Bennett
1996MultiplicityTed Gray
1998Saving Private RyanLetter-ReaderVoice
1998You Lucky DogLyle Windsor
1999Final RunGeorge Bouchard
2000Woman on TopAlex Reeves
2001NicolasDr. Fisher
2001Good AdviceTed
2007Reign Over MeNigel Pennington
2007TeeniusPrincipal Senseman
2008My ApocalypseNathan Eastman
2008PathologyDr. Quentin Morris
2009Crank: High VoltageFish Halman
2009GamerChief of Staff
2013Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little PonyHimselfCo-producer
2015VisionsVictor Napoli
2017Olaf's Frozen AdventureMr. OlsenVoice


1977McMillan & WifePowell
1977SST: Death FlightBob ConnorsTelevision film
1977–1978The Six Million Dollar ManVarious Characters
1978–1979Emergency!Dr. Deroy
1978The BastardLt. Stark
1979Battlestar GalacticaOfficerEpisode: "Experiment in Terra"
1981Nero WolfeTom IrwinEpisode: "Might as Well Be Dead"
1982–1986Days of Our LivesEugene Bradford
1983The Thorn BirdsAlastair MacQueenMiniseries
1986The New Twilight ZoneThe DispatcherEpisode: "Dead Run"
1986MacGyverBrian AshfordEpisode: "The Escape"
1986Murder, She WroteBinky HolbornEpisode: "If the Frame Fits"
1987–1994Star Trek: The Next GenerationQ8 episodes
1988Mission: ImpossibleMatthew DrakeEpisode: "The Killer"
1989Days of Our LivesEugene Bradford
1989Get Smart, Again!Major Preston WaterhouseUncredited
1989The Nutt HouseNorman ShrikeEpisode: "Pilot"
1991L.A. LawMark CheliosEpisode: "The Beverly Hill Hangers"
1993Star Trek: Deep Space NineQEpisode: "Q-Less"
1993Batman: The Animated SeriesEagleton
1994Without WarningBarry SteinbrennerTelevision film
1995LegendJanos Bartok
1996Picket FencesDistrict AttorneyEpisode: "Three Weddings and a Meltdown"
1996Touched by an AngelJustinian JonesEpisode: "Jones vs. God"
1997DuckmanTyler FitzgeraldEpisode: "From Brad to Worse"
1996–2001Star Trek: VoyagerQ3 episodes
1999The Real Adventures of Jonny QuestDr. Quest
2000Angry BeaversThe Yak in the SackEpisode: "Yak in the Sack"
2000The Outer LimitsDonald FinleyEpisode: "The Gun"
2000The West WingAl Kiefer2 episodes
2000Sports NightBert StorsEpisode: "April is the Cruelest Month"
2001-2002AndromedaSid Barry alias Sam Profitt2 episodes
2001Special Unit 2King of the LinksEpisode: "The Eve"
2001The PracticeWalter Bannish
2001Dan Dare: Pilot of the FutureGerard HamiltonEpisode: "The Surrender of Earth"
2002Crossing JordanMedical Examiner ThaxtonEpisode: "Payback"
2001–2002Stargate SG-1Colonel Frank Simmons / Goa'uld5 episodes
2003Judging AmyDr. EaganEpisode: "Picture of Perfect"
2003Duck DodgersSinestroVoice
Episode: "The Green Loontern"
2005The CloserDr. DawsonEpisode: "Flashpoint
2005Invader ZimAgent DarkbootieVoice
2 episodes
2009GreekHimselfEpisode: "The Dork Knight"
2009–2010Breaking BadDonald Margolis4 episodes
2011Law & Order: LAJudge Avery StaynorEpisode "Carthay Circle"
2011Franklin & BashGallenEpisode "Bachelor Party"
2011Torchwood: Miracle DayAgent Allen Shapiro3 episodes
2011Young JusticeMister TwisterVoice
Episode: "Welcome to Happy Harbor"
2011–2019My Little Pony: Friendship Is MagicDiscordVoice
23 episodes
1 television special
2012NTSF:SD:SUV::Leonardo da VinciEpisode: "Time Angels"
2012The Secret CircleRoyce ArmstrongEpisode: "Crystal"
2014The MentalistEdward FeinbergEpisode: "Silver Wings of Times"
2014CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationGeneral Robert LandsdaleEpisode: "Boston Brakes"
2015The LibrariansMephistophelesEpisode: "And the Infernal Contract"
2016Justice League ActionBrainiacVoice
2 episodes
2017Star Trek ContinuesGalistiEpisode: "What Ships Are For"[36]
2019DC Super Hero GirlsMr. Freeze[9]

Video games

1996Star Trek: BorgQ
1997OutlawsMatthew 'Dr. Death' JacksonVoice[7]
1997Interstate '76Antonio MalochioVoice[7]
1998Star Trek: The Game ShowQ[7]
1998Interstate '76 ArsenalAntonio MalochioVoice[7]
1999Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the DamnedMontreauxVoice[7]
1999Planescape: TormentTrias the BetrayerVoice[7]
2000Star Trek: ConQuest OnlineQVoice[7]
2011Assassin's Creed: RevelationsWilliam MilesVoice[7]
2012Quantum ConundrumProfessor Fitz QuadwrangleVoice
2012Assassin's Creed IIIWilliam MilesVoice[7]
2014Family Guy: The Quest for StuffQVoice[7]
2015StarCraft II: Legacy of the VoidAlarakVoice
2015My Little Pony, Twilight's Kingdom Storybook AppDiscordVoice[7]
2016Heroes of the StormAlarakVoice
2016Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars Human EmperorVoice[7]
2016StarCraft II: Nova Covert OpsAlarakVoice[7]
2016World of Warcraft: LegionVydhar / MorphaelVoice (uncredited)[7]
2017XCOM 2: War of the ChosenGeistVoice
2018Payday 246th President of the United States
2019Call of Duty: Black Ops 4Rushmore


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