Today we talk with the great Robin Curtis who portrayed Lt. Saavik in Star Trek 3 and 4!
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
Music by Ardus
Robin Curtis Video Interview
[00:00:00] Jeff: Hello listeners, a spoiler country today on the show. We have a very special guest, Ms. Robin Curtis. How’s it going? Ms. Curtis.
Robin Curtis: Hello. Hello. Everyone lived long and all that good
Jeff: stuff. I, I am a huge fan of yours. I absolutely love what you did and start track three.
I’ve been a fan from in three and four and next generation. It is a great honor to speak with you.
Robin Curtis: Thank you, Jeff. It’s my, it’s my pleasure truly.
Jeff: I’m sure you get that often. There’s many numerous Trekkies who are probably wishing they could talk to you right now.
Robin Curtis: W well, it, it has been an incredible expense you know, to, to have made the connection with such a large, a steadfast fandom.
It, it is, it is all at once overwhelming and thrilling and, and one can often feel not worthy.
Jeff: Well, what you definitely earned? I think the admiration of, of so many fans, when you. So to become an enact, an actor. [00:01:00] Did you ever think that you’d be part of such a large franchise and fan base, like star Trek?
Robin Curtis: Oh, good gravy? No heavens no. And, and, and it’s funny because. I would imagine a lot of my colleagues can remember back to when they decided perhaps to pursue the arts and to be an actor. I, I backed into it. I was one of those kids in high school that loved all extracurricular activities. I was a really rounded kid.
I loved athletics, athletics. I loved music. I loved the band. I played an instrument. I enjoyed student government I, the musical, the school musical choir. So. So I was kind of, you know, hooked into all these after-school activities and, and these fun hobbies, if you will. And then once I got to college, I had to kind of, I had to pick you couldn’t do, I was a big fish in a little pond growing up and, and, and at college you couldn’t do sports and the musical program and the [00:02:00] theatrical program and so on.
So I had to pick and I chose music and the acting was really, it took second place to the music. That’s what really drew me to the creative arts and, and, and Jeff, it wasn’t until I was out of college, had a liberal arts degree in theater and communications. And realized I wasn’t qualified to do much else, but, but I sort of had to become an actress, whether I was qualified or not.
And a very dear friend of mine that I had done theater with over the summers during college said, Hey, you want to go to the, you know, you want to go to the city and see how we do. And off I went and very naive early, you know, took on, took on a big world of honestly again, you know, somewhat naively and, and just hoped for the best.
I hoped for the best.
Jeff: So the question I was curious about when it comes to actors or anyone who does anything in the arts, you said that you’re interested, you know, you had interest in music, you had interest in theater [00:03:00] in college, you studied communications. Do, did they all intersect in helping you as an actor looking back?
Was there something that helped that is an aspect of maybe music or preparation for music, the made you also a better actor?
Robin Curtis: I, I think, I think the college experience on the whole was a marvelous education. That sound displayed. I’m going to say that again. I think that the high school and college experience on the whole prepared me somewhat for real life, and it wasn’t necessarily what happened in the classroom.
Jeff some of those extracurricular activities, sports taught me the concept of team. Theater taught me again, the concept of team you’re very much working. You know, within a machine that where you are, you’re relying on other people whether it’s your fellow actor on stage or the prop person just off in the wings, the set designer, whomever, you know, [00:04:00] you’re all working together as a team to create a final outcome and to tell a good story.
I learned a great deal in college in a very select singing group. I went to. SUNY Oswego state university of New York had a Swego and back in the day, they had a marvelous vocal ensemble called the state singers. And we would perform with with a large band called solid state. And the gentlemen who conceived our, our arrangements with very current music you know, made us a very popular fixture on campus and we would tour.
So I got a sense of what it’s like to tour as a performer. And I learned that if you didn’t speak up, you didn’t get the solo. And I learned, you know, you know, the heartbreak of that, of, of being too shy to put my hand in the air and say, yes, I’d like to be the featured singer on this particular number.
And what that means. I’m sure friends of mine could probably speak to similar experiences, you know, you learn [00:05:00] and in, in your formative years, and, and then in the college experience, you learn about not getting the part that you wanted, but playing the part that you’ve got as best you can and bringing your all to that.
And you learn, you know, that there are other people out there and it’s a very competitive field and, you know, you’ve been, or be darn dedicated. And I always questioned that by the way, I always questioned. My dedication because it, because I was not they used to say, you have to want it more than anything.
And I had to confess, I didn’t want it more than anything. I, and I, and I don’t know whether that was just a lack of confidence or a brilliant stroke of survival skills. Because if you keep something at arms length and you don’t get it, it doesn’t hurt as much. I was much more brave Jeff in my life with my heart than I was ever able to be brave with [00:06:00] my talents, with, as an actor that let’s say the, the young lady that invited me to go to the city.
I remember. Phyllis would go off to a non-equity open audition and she would be the 263rd singer that day she’d sign up and then go back two hours later in time, figuring when, when her number would come up and she’d sing her 16 bars and come back to the apartment. And I could not imagine anything more soul crushing than having to do something like that.
I, it wasn’t that I had an ego about it. I didn’t think I was better than the experience. I didn’t think I could step up to that. No to that kind of stress and, and, and put it out there. And I, so I was in awe of her Moxie to be able to do that. What ended up Jeff, how college paid off for me was that it gave me four more years to [00:07:00] grow up and kinda.
Collect myself and figure out who Robin was, but I made great friends and I have to say that it’s those friends whom I call angels now that I look back and, and it was their invitation to an audition in New York city or their, their, you know, extension of a, of a favor to me. One of the gals I was in college with worked for one of the ad agencies in Manhattan.
And I would audition for a commercial and she’d say, Oh, two or three months into this exercise. She’d say, do you want to come in and see what you’re doing on camera? And I said, sure, I’d be tickled pink. She worked at Ted Bates now that I think of it. And I was able to realize what I was doing on camera was way too big.
It was all theatrically, you know, measured. To, to get, to get to the last row in a theater and, and I needed to take it all way, way, way down that camera work is very different. You know, you modulate yourself very differently for the [00:08:00] camera than you would on a stage. And that was an interesting experience.
But again, back to people I knew in college that I had done plays with and we stayed connected and it was, and it was each of us helping the other once we were out in the real world I think that made really made the biggest difference in how, how my life unfolded and how I actually became a pro national actress.
Jeff: That is, that is, that is awesome. I really like. Thinking about the paths that happen and those that interact with us that lead us to the direction we need to go in. I think that’s, I think that’s an awesome story. And I think maybe a lot of us look, if you really were to reflect about it, we would find similar things occur in our lives that get us to the point where we end up, I think.
And I think that’s absolutely fantastic. And I also like the idea that you brought up the idea that the mindset of those who are doing any thing at any high level is similar. Like you said, sports or music or [00:09:00] acting. I think that’s an incredible statement.
Robin Curtis: You lost me on that. So let’s go back. Jeff, which statement was it that I made about sports and, Oh, you
Jeff: made a, you made a comment about how music and sports is sort of like a similar mindset involved in being attempting to be successful in each one of those. Okay. And I thought that was a very interesting thing.
And the thing that you mentioned as well, his idea of ego is ego. As someone who’s pursuing a profession, a double-edged sword of both being a positive and a negative, or is it 100% necessary to be to achieve anything?
Robin Curtis: Well, I just just know for me, I, I had a difficult time asking for anything. You know, when, when, when, when when the right relationship came my way, when I, when I was introduced to my first agents in New York city, [00:10:00] And they signed me. And then I started to kind of have a little traction in the commercial world.
I got hired for my first commercial. I was Taft heart lead, too. Join the union screen actors Guild to do to, to do an oil of Olay commercial when I was 23. And, and then, you know, another commercial would come and another commercial Insta a lot. And I started to kind of get it a little, a little, a little roll going.
And going back to this idea of ego you know, if I were to be connected or in front of someone who might be able to help me in some way, I had a difficult time Jeff with that of being around with people that maybe could, you know, th the, the shakers, the movers and the shakers because I never wanted anyone to think I was in great shape, getting myself to them for any other reason, other than.
To know them and to, and to share, to share, you know, life for a moment with them of the idea that someone could, could, could help me or, or, or get me to the next level made me very uncomfortable. [00:11:00] And, and I think the reason for that is because if you put your hand out and you say, how do you do yes. I’m an actress and I’m, and I’m darn good.
And you should bring me into your next project. You know, you, you have to be able to deliver when, when you, you know, put that kind of energy out there. And I, I think, you know, I have to admit, I was, I was a bit of a weenie and w it was just easier. It was easier to kind of hide out, hang out and let what comes to me come.
And, and it, and, and I certainly, at the end of my 23 years, as a professional actress, I looked back and asked myself, you know, gosh, What would it have been like, had you been more ambitious if you had had that ambition, gene, you know, that I don’t seem to have, frankly, I still don’t. I still don’t. Even as a real estate agent, I, the whole notion of self promotion makes me cringe.
And I don’t know, I don’t know what that’s about. I [00:12:00] mean, because you know, nobody, nobody would think less of me if I were to advertise myself or to say I do a darn good job as a real estate agent, but I, the whole thing, Jeff made me uncomfortable as an actress. And it makes me uncomfortable. Who knows why we’re wired the way we are.
Jeff: I agree. I agree with you a hundred percent. So after being theater for some years, you moved out to LA. So looking back on that is, was the move as young as a young Robin Curtis, was it, do you think as a move of confidence or foolishness?
Robin Curtis: Oh, well probably. Neither really. It was very well planned. However so, so in New York I was 24 years old, 25 years old.
And and I w I was getting close to, to the few things of, of great weight that I was auditioning for. They call them pilots you know, which is the test episode of a [00:13:00] series. And if, and if it goes well, then the network commits to the whole season type of thing. And so my agents in the city, you know, spoke with me about the idea that they thought my career, that I would do much better in Los Angeles, that my type at the time.
And this is back when, when the Karen Allen’s of the world and Kate Jackson’s and Jacqueline Suzanne’s and, and you know, the brunettes were, were, were. Popular. And they felt that my type so to speak would, would do well if I just had more opportunities because it really is a matter of, of odds. Do you know what I mean?
Back in the day they used to say you had to audition for 30 commercials to get one Holy crap. I know, right. So, so much of the work, if you will, over the years was about looking for work. It w w when you got the job, you were, you were over the moon, you know, and, and, and thanking your lucky stars.
So in any case, some [00:14:00] Jeff, my agents introduced me in New York to a manager from Los Angeles who flew in somebody. They had known he was a child actor. And now at this point as an adult, he managed talent. And he encouraged me to come out. And so, this was like in late 2000 of what am I want to say blatantly in 81.
And so in January of 1982, I drove out in a little Dodge Colt with my younger brother to Los Angeles. And, and prior to my getting there, this gentleman, this manager, his name’s Michael man, he, he went around to the studios, lashed this picture of me. It was a, it was an interesting picture that I had taken.
There was a land comb ad back in the day where the woman’s hair was completely. Offer face much like a ballerina would have, you know, like you’re almost hairless, your hair is pulled back severely from your face. So all you see his face. And [00:15:00] I decided to have a picture taken like that with a guy in Utica, New York, you know, where I grew up just after leaving college.
And my manager took that picture around to the studios and just said, you wouldn’t even tell them my name. He just said, she’s coming. She’s coming from the city from New York. And he kind of created this, this interesting suspense and anticipation you know, Oh, and I got there and I, in fact, it’s worth mentioning because in those first two to three months, I did probably several dozen.
Meet and greets, you know, you’re, you’re, you’re not meeting someone for, in relationship to a project and you’re not actually doing an audition. You’re just going to meet them. There. They’re this, they’re the, perhaps the head of casting at that particular studio or an independent casting director type of thing.
And you’re just taking a meeting, that’s a general meeting and they’re getting to know you and getting a feel for you. And I met Elsa [00:16:00] Bertea Ron at paramount during that early time in Los Angeles. And, and she remembered me when was it like a year later? In 1980, actually 1983. So yeah, it was a full year plus later she remembered me and had me in to audition.
For star Trek three, the search for Spock. I had a meeting with Elsa Bergeron and Stewart Jensen, and then the very, very next day I had a meeting with Leonard Nimoy, but I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit. So looking back that, that journey from New York to LA was very planned, very calculated. And I said to this guy, look, if I don’t get any work in the first six months, I’m going back to upstate New York.
I’m going back to New York city because I, Jeff, I was a die hard new Yorker. And I, and I didn’t want to live so far away from my mother and father who still lived in central New York. And I wouldn’t, you know, in the fifth [00:17:00] or sixth month I got, I got the movie in love with an older woman with John Ritter and Karen Carlson and I, and I, and I, and I had to stay and for 18 years.
Jeff: is, that is awesome. I mean, that sounds like an, a northbound of pressure put on an actor to show you around, be like she’s coming to me. The weight of that is on you as, as, as the accuracy. It’s amazing.
Robin Curtis: Well, I remember, I remember a handful of years, shortly thereafter, running into a young lady that I knew back in the city.
And I told her when she first arrived in LA, I said, listen, I said, there’s a, there’s like this magical time when you’re new and they don’t know who you are. They don’t know if you’re somebody or nobody or what I said. So they’re good at they’re going to fuss over you. I said, love every minute of it and take full advantage of it because after you’ve been here for six months, you’re you’re you, you just, [00:18:00] you just fade into the sea of other actors and actresses.
There’s no more charge. So, so there is that time when, you know, when the casting departments are worried, they’re going to miss miss out on the latest hit girl, you know? And so there’s a little more, you’ve got a little more cache, but, but it, it doesn’t last forever. And, and then, you know, it’s back to reality.
Jeff: So, so what did your parents think about you moving out to Los Angeles? Did they back your decision or were they highly concerned?
Robin Curtis: Oh, my mom and dad. We’re we’re very unusual when it comes to being the parent of somebody pursuing the arts. Always supportive, always rooting me on. And in fact, my father bought the Dodge Colt that I drove across country.
So I’d have a car, you know, he, he, I mean, he just, they were, they both were college educated. My mother was a teacher, my father, an engineer at Griffiss air [00:19:00] force base and, and they were just tickled pink to think I was pursuing an acting career and actually kind of having a little, a little success at it.
I waited tables the whole time I lived in New York city, but, but probably one year in Jeff, I could have quit my waitressing job, but I didn’t, I didn’t because I worked with the best women on the planet and no actor can take for granted that the work is going to keep coming. You know what I mean? You, you, you, you.
Yeah. You know, I, I was grateful to have the waitressing job but we would all cover for each other. We were a bunch of dancers and actresses, and we covered shifts for each other. If somebody got a show or somebody, you know, got this job or that job, that conflicted with their shift. I used to joke when I lived in LA that I still had people covering my shifts back York with my tail between my legs, you know?
But no, my mom and dad were, were, were just unbelievably supportive and every phone call I had with them, what [00:20:00] do you need, babe? We love you. You go get them, you know? And they were that way with my brothers as well. Wait, my, you know, my mom and dad were our biggest fans and I remember when they interviewed my mother for the Utica observer dispatch, you know what, what’s it like to have a daughter who’s a star?
And she said, Oh, all my children,
Jeff: that’s great. Yeah. Yeah,
Robin Curtis: certainly terrific parents. Oh, they were, they were extraordinary, truly extraordinary. Really, really, really. I could show you stuff, you know, I’ve actually, it’s interesting. The fans have been so supportive of me over the years, you know, you go to conference and you want to bring, you want to bring something different.
You know, I’ve always tried to do that rather than just sort of dial in the same answers to the same questions and stuff. And I have shared some of my mother’s and father’s letters to me with the fans. Cause they were, they were pretty prolific writers with regard to letters and they [00:21:00] would write poems for special occasions and all that kind of stuff.
And and the fans have really loved it. They’ve been so. So tender and caring about, you know, the way just the relationships I had with my, with my, with my parents. Cause they were, it was unusual. It was unusual, the amount of love and affection and joy and sense of humor that they had a real joy out of Eve.
Jeff: Did you think you could have accomplished what you accomplished if you did not have their support?
Robin Curtis: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. In fact, I really, until I got out in the world, honestly, I was, I was again, so naive. I thought everybody had a mom and dad like that. And I didn’t know until I was in college.
And then further out into the world, meeting people who had very, you know, uneven relationships with their moms and dads or divorced parents or no relationship at all, it would break my heart. It would [00:22:00] break my heart and I, and I think, you know, I just, I’m just. I, I feel enormously blessed that that the greatest dysfunction in my life was too much.
is there is such a thing. My mother, Jeff, my mother would sing to me at night and that’s why I’ve written a piece about my life. And it’s called a good girl. And, and cause my mother would sing to me when I was little. Everyone loves Rob and Robin is a good girl. Oh, daddy loves his Robin girl. Mommy loves her Rob and everyone loves Rob.
And that’s what she would sing to me at night. And then my father would come in and he’d say, he’d say, you know, the, now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord, my soul to keep you we’d do our a little prayer. And then he would put a kiss in my Palm and he’d fold my finger and [00:23:00] go this. And then I would put a kiss in his big hand and fold his fingers over his Palm and he he’d hold his hand.
Up, you know, like I’ve got it. I’ve got it. As he went out my bedroom door. No, the last thing I’d see is his fist going behind Jordan twinkly eyes looking at me and you know, yeah. Hoo hoo hoo ha. Yeah, just really good, good stuff.
Jeff: That sounds like definitely a blessed childhood and a blessed life. That kind of parents like that.
Robin Curtis: Totally. And I have two spectacular brothers and they married like just the most outstanding women who have been my best friends, their whole lives. And and, and they each had two kids and I adore them and yeah, very, very very, very blessed to have a super family. My mom and dad gave us that, by the way, you know, I talked to friends who might not have a good relationship with their sibling.
And it’s like, you know, it seems like maybe mom and dad got in the mix and, you know, a little too much competition or whatever. I don’t know how [00:24:00] they, you know, it doesn’t take much to do that with kids, but our mom and dad, you know, said the greatest gift you can give us is to love each other. And we do.
Jeff: That’s fantastic. W w little after moving to Los Angeles, you actually got a role on a show that I remember watching as a little child. And I was, it was very important. Nightrider so what was it like to be on rider?
Robin Curtis: Oh, it was a gas, good gravy. That car car was, was, it was the pisser. And and David Hasselhoff is, is a gentleman and you know, very easygoing, generous actor.
And I remember the supporting cast was fun. Who did I work with on that episode? A really wonderful character actor, and I’m going blank on his name. I should have looked him up. He played my husband you know, back in the day when they would, when they would have a woman and a man of just completely disparate ages, you know, [00:25:00] you know, I’m 24 and he’s 49.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, it was good stuff. And, and kind of. Kind of tangential to, to science fiction, you know, later on when I connected with the science fiction fans, you know, some of them also like, like, the, the fund of Knight rider. So, so, so I
Jeff: mean, you’ve worked with David Hasselhoff and obviously you you’ve worked with William Shatner, two big egos from the 1980s.
What w w w were they, he was Hasselhoff. I’m trying to think the best way to ask the question, because like, right looking back re in recent history Hassaf office has had some rough media. Was he back in the day? Was he considered, was he a tough guy to work with? Was it easy to work with,
Robin Curtis: you know, Jeff, I, I don’t have a memory of anything negative whatsoever about him.
I have rarely had if [00:26:00] ever a negative experience working in Hollywood and I know they happen. But I had a very good run and didn’t really come across anything like that. So, so, no, I, I, I think, I think that may have been too early in, in David’s career for him to have any kind of an attitude.
When I came across his path, he was perfectly lovely and a gentleman and I don’t, I don’t remember him being particularly, you know, whatever difficult to get along with now. I just don’t remember him like that.
Jeff: I don’t. You recall which season of Knight rider you appeared in was Knight rider already a well-known show when you, when you appeared.
Robin Curtis: Oh, you’re asking me now I’ve got to Google it. I honestly wouldn’t remember. I can’t help
Jeff: you. I mean, had you heard of Knight rider prior to getting the role?
Robin Curtis: Yes. Yeah. It wasn’t new. It [00:27:00] wasn’t new, but I’ll be honest doggone it. So the first episode start in 1982 and I probably didn’t do it too far beyond that time. 1982, hold on. I used to see Patricia MacPherson at auditions after that. So, Oh, okay. So there I am, as one of the cast members, is it going to tell me when I was on the show though?
No dog gone it. Maybe, maybe let me look. Let me look. Knight rider. Oh, is it going to be the exact episode? Probably not. Yeah, no, I’m sorry. I’m in a, I’m in an endless loop. It’s taking me back to the writer when it first came on. Sorry, kiddo.
Jeff: Oh, absolutely. I was just curious if by the time you were on set, was it already kind of like a known entity and what was it like to be one that people were, were familiar with?
Robin Curtis: Well, you want to know something dead, gum? It, I have, you won’t believe this. I have in [00:28:00] front of me, my 1983 calendar. Oh, wow. Yeah, I dug it out. I dug out my, my paychecks from 1983 in 1984 and my 1983 and 84 calendar because I did a couple of interviews recently that, that were star Trek related.
And I, and I wanted to refresh my memory and, and I couldn’t believe that. I, I mean, I know I knew I still had them, but I was able to put my fingers on them so fast. I staggered every paycheck I ever earned. Every paycheck I have ever earned is in my basement.
it was on, it was on the air. May. Oh, my God May 6th of 1983. So I had to have done it several weeks [00:29:00] earlier. Do you know what I mean? Like, like normally it like a, like a, like a several week lag between shooting and airing. So it was sometime in early spring of 1983. Oh yeah. Oh my God. I just found it. I worked on the show up March 8th of 1983.
So he was on the air for a full well, like a full season, September 26th, 1982 was when it first went on and I worked in March of 83, just a few months later, he was already off and running.
Jeff: So that must have been a lot of exposure for you when you to me, it had to be a hell of a thing to be on a show that had already been a hit or at that point.
Robin Curtis: Oh, yes, no, no, no. It was, it was it was a wonderful thing. Oh my goodness. Back back at the time, you know, early on Jeff you’re, you’re pinching yourself. You’re you’re you’re so, you know, [00:30:00] you just, even to the end, I was always in disbelief when I got a job, you know, grateful, grateful, joyful disbelief. And, but, but it’s interesting when you look back, cause you’re making this point about, Oh wow.
I scored a hit TV show in the first season, you look back and you say, okay, did I do the work I wanted to do? Did I, did I, did. I feel like someone tapped into my abilities really? And, and, and, and gotten, you know, got them up and out of me and I, and I don’t think so. I don’t think so. You know, you can look back over the course of a career and be so grateful.
And every part of you that somebody picked you to be, to be on MacGyver or somebody picked you to do a little, you know, show that never went anywhere, you know, called Johnny Bago, whatever it was, you were just so happy to work, to pay your bills. You know, the thrill of it [00:31:00] never, ever went away. However, when I retired and it was over and I looked in the rear view mirror, you know, you know, I, I, I told you earlier, I asked myself, she said, I wonder you did pretty well for somebody who, who never knocked on a door where she wasn’t invited or expected.
And you never asked anybody for anything your agents love to. Cause I was never, I was not a pain in the ass, like most actors, you know, and, and And so I asked myself, you know, like, like, God, what would have happened? Had you been more aggressive, had you asked for more, had you put your hand out, had you spoken to the most important party, the one or two times you ever got into an, a list per party and, and introduced yourself and, and spoke up, you know, because, because in the end, I think, I think an actor has to find their own way [00:32:00] to, in other words, you, you, you, you, you can work, but it doesn’t, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to feel fulfilled or gratify.
And, and I think that’s why some actors do stage or why some actors write pieces for themselves or they participate in other, in other ways, Outside the lane of, of, of television work or film work, because, because, because yeah, you got the part, but was it the part you, you would give an Oregon to play necessarily?
Maybe not. You know what I mean? You know, did Nightrider change my life forever? No, it did not. Now, now that said, did it lead to D was it one of the credits that maybe gave Leonard Nimoy you know, the confidence to say she could do it? She’s a professional. I don’t know, maybe. Maybe [00:33:00] did star Trek changed my life?
Yes. Big time, big time. But do I look back and say, Oh, that’s the, that’s the best and most favorite role I ever played? Oh my goodness. Not on your life, not on your life. I was. So I was so perplexed and confused. Most of the, you know, you know, you’re trained to effuse, you’re trained to, to emote, you know, to, to, to, to play yourself like, like you have the notes of on a piano, are your emotion, you know, it’s your emotional life.
And I, and I felt so restricted and confined and. Constipated really? I I’ve said I’ve said in the past and I, and I did feel that way. I thought I was going to get my, a pink slip. The first couple of, I said, somebody has got to look at these dailies and say, she’s out of here. She’s just, she’s not quite getting that rice thing that Vulcans do.
I, you know, I, whatever I, but, but I trusted [00:34:00] letter anyway, he was an utter gentlemen and class all the way. And I remember shaking his hand and the first day of, can I say that you seem to think, I know what I’m doing, Mr. Nimoy, but I, I do not. So please, please, please help me. And he said, Robin, I’ll take you every step of the way.
I will not put you out on you know, the end of a limb and leave you there. And I said, okay, good, great. I, I want it, I need it. You know, most actors would consider a line reading and insult, but he and I would go and we’d sit on the edge of a soundstage, you know, on a platform and he’d say, okay, he’d say, let me hear it, let me hear it.
And I’d say the lines, you know, and, and, and maybe, maybe he might give me a line reading and I’d say, okay. And I, and I repeated back to him, like, he just didn’t, he’d say, okay, you got it. And I’m like, okay, good. And that’s how we did it together. You know what I mean?
Jeff: You, you, you, you’re taking direction on how to play a volcano from basically the most famous book [00:35:00] of all time.
Robin Curtis: No, no, no, no, exactly. Best hands imaginable. And and, and I, and I was cool enough to recognize too, this was, this man’s. This was this man’s moment. Stepping out from, in front of the camera to behind the camera. And I could appreciate, you know, it’s like, I don’t want to be Mr. Nemo’s problem when he’s trying to do the thing, you know, he’s trying to balance all these people and the dynamics on the set and, and keep bill, you know, happy and keep the supporting cast happy.
All of his friends who are so good to me and Christopher Lloyd and me and Merritt Buttrick. And so, so I, I thought he did a magnificent job of keeping all those plates in the air you know, and, and having to overcome any preconceived notion about whether he would succeed or not, and, and get the job done.
And I thought, I thought he was brilliant and the whole time he took care of me [00:36:00] too. So
Jeff: do you think, like he identified with you, as you said, this was his first time as a director. This is an early moment of you in a film. Do you think he kind of felt a connection because you’re both kind of an uncharted waters for yourselves?
Robin Curtis: Oh, that is you’re the first person to make that observation and all these years. And it kinda hit me on the heart muscle, frankly. Well, I’ll, I’ll add, I’m going to get a little emotional, I’ll add one more layer to that. He was the same age as my father and my father was diagnosed with cancer and he knew it.
He knew about it. And he was so kind and, and honestly, star Trek was like this, this miracle, [00:37:00] you know, this miracle thing that happened in my family that could distract us for five minutes from the agonizing pain, we were all in. You know, it just, it was like such a gift, such a gift. I can’t even, I can’t say it enough.
It gave us all something to look forward to. It was, it was so different than out there and like a beacon of light from the heavens, honestly, and, and and such a gift to be able to reassure my father when he wasn’t, you know, he really didn’t know if he was going to make it or not that, that I would be okay in the world.
And he did live long enough to see the movie. He, he died at the age of 54 in 1984 in November. And and star Trek was really the best thing that could have happened. Right. The, the best thing that could’ve happened. Jeff, I knew that he knew that at the time and he was lovely [00:38:00] about it.
Jeff: He, he, he knew what was happening with your father at that when, while he was directing you.
Robin Curtis: yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And he reminded me of, you know, he’s tall, dark good-looking man. He, you know, let her do my has charisma, you know, and he’s, and he’s warm. And my father was the same way, tall, tall, elegant, man, you know? And so I just had a lot of admiration for
Jeff: him. Would you say that he was knowingly acting as surrogate father while you were on set because he knew what was happening?
Robin Curtis: No. No, I wouldn’t. I think that would be mis-characterizing it a little bit. He wasn’t being fatherly, but he was being, he was being, he was being respectful and protective and kind. Do you know what I mean? Because I was, I was a little thin skinned. Nope. And it may have been more me than him. In other words, he had, [00:39:00] he had bigger feet fish to fry, you know, and, but I, I, my experience from my point of view, I feel so badly because of course people, I want to know, you know, what happened on the set?
Was there anything funny, you know, little anecdotes and, and I really was. I, I was very what’s the word? I was very focused and quiet. I didn’t speak to anybody until they spoke to me because I, because that just was not my approach. I was very nervous about fulfilling, you know, my commitment and, and, and having the character integrity and, and doing my job, I really was focused on doing my job.
And and so like, even Mary Buttrick would like what a goof around, you know, he was so much more comfortable in his skin and in his character. And he knew these people and stuff, and he would try to pull me in. And I it’s like, it’s like, no, I can’t dance. I can’t play with you on the set yet. Cause I’m just not, I’m not that comfortable yet.
I got [00:40:00] that confident and comfortable with, with my situation. So I was very serious. And you know, you don’t think of me. I mean, you’ve hung out with me now for what almost an hour. I’m, you know, if you tell him. I’m not a serious person. I’m very, I’m very cool. And, and, and, Oh my goodness. But I, but for me, that was, I was very serious on that set.
And then I finally let my hair down a little bit toward the edge, you know, what I was getting to, you know, to realize I survived. So I get up, get a tissue. Jeff, give me one
Robin Curtis: Go ahead, honey. I’m right
Jeff: here. Because once again, let her NEMA for being sparked, understands volcano in a way that many other actors don’t because you played, you’re playing a Vulcan as well.
W what kind of tips did you, did he give you on how to best portray a character, as you said, like Savik, who is? I imagine because there’s a Vulcan and not openly, emotional has to be all about subtext. [00:41:00] What did tell you as tips on how to best be this alien?
Robin Curtis: I wish that I had kept better notes dog on it.
So, and even Walter Canuck told me, keep a diary and I, and I, and I, and I didn’t believe him. I didn’t buy that, you know, that was necessary. And I wish I had, but the things that I remember are these, he literally said, take the script, take your lines, look into a mirror, excuse me, look into a mirror and try to speak your lines without any movement in your face.
And that, and that, that, that Jeff seems, it seems like a very sort of. Well, a very unemotional direction. It’s just very technical, right. But I think he was trying to get me to, to be aware of the fact that [00:42:00] I think sometimes our faces, you know, move and we’re not aware of it. We’re not w w you know, he wanted me to be aware of and conscious of the way my face might convey of the meaning of something.
And then I need to edit that out. There was that, and then he said Vulcans Vulcans have 1000 years of wisdom behind the eyes. He said that to me in the audition when I read in his office for him. And, and of course, that’s you know, that’s a tall I’ll order,
Jeff: a thousand years of wisdom.
Robin Curtis: I got it. I got the bigger, you know, concept there and, and. And did my best to bring that as well, that, that, that sort of self-containment and that presence he, he was a lovely director in that he, he [00:43:00] had a way of, of disarming me the last scene of the film when Spock’s co Kartra has been restored from McCoy back to him with the Felter pen ritual.
And now a set of Spock is walking out of the proceeding out of the sort of temple. And he turns back and he steps back to sort of walk down the line of his comrades, you know, it’s me and it’s Michelle and it’s Jimmy. And so on until he gets to Kirk. Well, what, before we shot that scene Leonard Nimoy stepped, stepped up to me, you know?
And he he stepped rather than sort of sitting on the edge of a platform, right side by side with me. He now is standing in my space and he’s, and he’s, and he whispers in my ear. Like he puts his face past mine to come right to my ear and a sort of a very personal way. And he said, you know, how would you feel?
How would you feel Robin, if you run a New York city street and [00:44:00] you’re, you know, walking down the Boulevard and, and coming towards you as somebody that you love, somebody that you were intimate with and they’re walking towards you and you’re about to meet them again. And I, and I was like, Oh my God. Like a lot of things happened at once and that, and that’s a few seconds, you know, like a, wow, what a powerful question.
I’m a little, I’m a little embarrassed too. It’s I want to articulate my response to you, but I’m a little embarrassed to sort of figure out what words to use. And I pulled my face away from his and I looked up at him, you know, almost like I I’m here. Like I’m here, I’m present. I’m listening to you. I got it.
I got the question. And I’m so in this moment with you, and then I looked down and then I looked back up thinking, I think I was going to find the words and before I could speak, he said, that’s it. That’s what I want. That’s what I want. [00:45:00] And it was like, Oh, Oh, you smart, man. You know, you just, you just got out of me, got me out of my own way, so to speak.
So anyway, that’s
Jeff: very cool. Yeah. The other thing I always wondered about, because obviously Savik was previously, previously played by Christie alley and in rathell con. And honestly playing the same character. Was there a discussion of either trying to mimic what was done or did Leonard Nimoy want you to make the character your own?
Robin Curtis: Oh so I deliberately chose not to watch the previous movie because I am very impressionable and I was really worried that, that, that I would not, that I would totally lock onto her whatever and not be able to jump tracks if I got to the set and Leonard Nimoy was doing something different. So, so in a way I just [00:46:00] kinda, I kinda covered my ears and eyes and shut up for the first day of work and what happened was, and I think this was a very wise tack harp, but at the producer and Leonard Nimoy shows the approach.
It’s like Savik was just created. Like it was never played before. I mean, it’s not like the story didn’t exist and the set up, but just that I wasn’t made to feel as though there was that anybody else ever existed or that I was filling someone else’s shoes, so to speak for, I was number two or whatever that is.
And honestly, that has nothing to do with her portrayal so much as it has to do with their shrewd, their shrewd understanding of human, you know, foibles that, that it was better to come with a fresh approach. And especially if, if Leonard was going to take the character maybe in a slightly different [00:47:00] direction, not dramatically different, but just, you know, ever so slightly.
I think of it as a volume, you know, from, from seven to eight, Different and fans would come up to me and tell me, Oh, well, you know, when to Sevick was had more emotion displayed more human qualities. And, and, and I appreciate that. I totally appreciate that because it’s such a collaboration between the director and the actress.
It just so happens in my case. Mr. Nimoy didn’t feel there should be any emotion at all, at least beyond what she, you know, he, if there was, he controlled it, he controlled it. But David is deadline, you know, tortured me, tortured me from day one. I knew that, no, that seems common. That seems common. I’m going to have to play that.
And, and he would not let me, he put any emotion on it at all. And it felt everything about it felt wrong to me as a human being, but I had to get out of [00:48:00] my way and just follow his direction and similar Louise, similarly the scene with the young Spock in the cave and, and the two of us coming to work that day wondering, okay.
All right. What’s Vulcan foreplay. What is, what is Mr. Newick going to come up with for us today? And then when he took us aside and showed us that it was ever so simple, you know, this, this simple finger play, it’s like, okay, okay. And Steven and I practiced that in such a way that, you know, we both, we both gave each other the gift of, yeah, this is intimate.
This really intimate, you know, this is, this is, this is just like the other things we think of as intimacy. But we’re going to, we’re going to give this moment that, that tenor, that flavor and, and God bless [00:49:00] him, you know, he’s such an such a sensitive actor. So, so the two of us felt like we got there with that.
But that’s, that’s what it’s like playing. Aliens, you know, you, you, you, you, you have to be Gumby and you have to let, let the director kind of guide you ever so slightly one way or another, you know,
Jeff: and I found an interest th th there’s a scene where, as Sadek, you’re working with Spock as a much younger child, and I found Savik to be very maternal in that moment.
And I know you said, I felt there was emotion play under the surface. Was that like, what were you actually thinking of Savage at that moment as being almost motherly toward Spock?
Robin Curtis: Oh, absolutely. The motherly might be slightly overstating it because then, you know, not too, not too much time later.
It’s not motherly anymore. [00:50:00] Although I suppose you can think of that as a, as a nurturing thing between Vulcans, but yeah, in that moment, it’s about, it’s about protecting him and, and yeah. And feeling that, that, that sense of protection and let her, let her also choreograph that moment with the noses where he, he, he reaches up and touches his, my nose and then touches his own nose, which is very sweet.
So that’s all, that’s all Leonard anyway, you know, giving it, giving it that, that little extra specialness, you know, and
Jeff: I think it was, it was also great when you appear in star Trek for, and you have a great scene with William Shatner early in the film. Did you think. That SAVAK deserved a larger scene.
What Spock and center, what those two characters had gone through in the previous movie?
Robin Curtis: Well, you’re so [00:51:00] cute to say that I, I don’t know if the correct word is deserved. They, they they negotiated with me for film contract and I think that was so they would, they wouldn’t have to worry about what happened with Kirstie alley between two and three.
Yeah. Not having worked it out and so on. So, so that led me to think, well, there’s more in store. I mean, I, you know, I would never presume such a thing, but because they had done it that way because the fans were all, all, you know, in on the idea that Savik was pregnant and there was going to be a storyline along that those lines in the future.
And so on, you know, they really groomed me to think I was, I was meant for more storytelling. But, but then the option to do star Trek for ran out Paramount’s option with me as an independent contractor, if you will. And the people in star Trek were telling [00:52:00] my manager, she’s not in the script. So, so it looked as though there wouldn’t be any involvement at all.
And then, and then after the option expired, they called and said, well, as a matter of fact, she is in the beginning of the film and we only want to pay her X. And I mean, at that point, it’s like, well, hell’s bells, of course I want to be in the movie that I want to, I want to tear. I want to see the character, you know, land somewhere at least, or, or get a period.
So, so I will say that at the beginning, in fact, I have, I have a. A telegram from Harvard Bennett. I have several telegrams from Harv Bennett. He was a very classy guy. He sent me a telegram that says this is for star Trek for Oh, dark on it. Where the Dickens is it? Hold on.
[00:53:00] What? Wait a second.
I’m freaking out. Oh, here it is. I finally found it. Okay. From Harv Bennett on March 25th, 1986. I too am delighted. You are with us. Have a wonderful shoot and bring a Vulcan obstetrician along just in case love Harvey. Pretty cool, huh? Very cool. There was a line. About about that. And it was cut. I think about something about Savick with child.
I don’t remember exactly
what it was, Jeff. I apologize. So, so they kind of, you know, just left it, left it where it was.
Jeff: And I must’ve been like watching star Trek four. And you realize in the previous movie, I mean, Savik in many ways [00:54:00] kind of reraise spa from a child to an adult, you really figured something would have to have been acknowledged in the fourth movie based on how important Savik became to the respond Spock as it were.
You know what I’m saying?
Robin Curtis: Yeah, no, no, absolutely. The fan, I mean, I really just followed the fans instincts and for, for almost two years of conventions and, and, you know, being introduced to that whole experience in world, which was just phenomenal. They, I felt like they, you know, were telling me out, this is what’s going to happen.
You’re going to be, Oh yeah, they’re go. Yeah. This younger storyline, they’re trying to bring more stuff in blah, blah, blah SAVAK was Spock. I, and I’m like, okay, I’m so excited. And, and, and you know, the beautiful thing about art is that it it can go any one of a number of directions and I never. You know what, [00:55:00] once I got over the, the initial sting, right?
I thought star Trek four was such a wonderful movie and I loved, I loved the, the upbeat, the upbeat feel to, to the story. I loved the single, the single singular message of preserving life and the whales. I liked the comradery between the characters and the humor. Lots of humor. Catherine Hicks was wonderful.
You know, I just, I just really enjoyed the overall film itself to just taking it on its own away from a trilogy, you know, I thought it was a home run and that they had, they had returned to the magical recipe. That is, that is star Trek. Yeah. I would
Jeff: say storytelling. I really did love star Trek for, like I said, I, I, I was one who definitely wanted to see more Savik in it, but you also play SAVAK.
If I read correctly in an audio drama called Starship, Excelsior as commander topic, is that correct?
[00:56:00] Robin Curtis: Yes. Yes. Oh gosh. These really nice guys, James Haney reached out to me or Heaney and asked me if I would participate in it. And I, and I, and I, I said, sure, Oh, it was so much fun. It was so much fun. I love voiceover work.
You know, you don’t have to be cute to do voiceover work. And and I knew that that Walter had already participated and it was you know, it was fun to kind of return to the drawing board. And feel a little more confident, you know, all these years later about Zach and about my, my ability to, to play her.
It was a very enjoyable experience. Very enjoyable. Again, there’s nothing like being at a microphone. I did do a little voiceover work in my career and I did a lot of, but there’s nothing like a microphone and a sound booth. And, and, you know, I had a, I had a knack and I wish I really wished I could have [00:57:00] done this more often.
I had a knack, they would say, you know, in a 62nd spot, you have to shave off one second. And I’m like, okay, let me do it again. And I would, I would, you know, like I had a very good, because I think because of my musical background, I had a very good, a sense of rhythm and speech pattern and, and nailing it.
And at least in terms of timing, you know, cause sometimes you’re, you’re also you’re re URI Re rerecording your own lines in some, in a scene where the sound was bad. So you need to, you need to lip, you need to sync with your lips. You need to sync with the visual to get it right. You know, so sometimes in episodic work, Jeff, I appreciate maybe a plane went overhead or there was a dog barking or something went wrong with the sound.
So then it has to be recreated in the studio, something you did two weeks ago. And that was always fun to try to recreate your performance audio, you know, with just, you
Jeff: know, you know what I mean? Yeah. As playing [00:58:00] someone who, I mean, obviously you’re playing in a Savik who’s now a commander and everything did, did the character.
How did you play the character thinking about where she was now, given that, you know, like I said, obviously you’re playing commander SAVAK at that point. Did, did you think that maybe like, what did you add to how you want it to handle her?
Robin Curtis: You’re given me way too much credit. No, no. You know what I mean?
Like, like, I mean, one can kind of get caught up in the, those subtle facts per perhaps, but no, no. Honestly, to me, it’s all just let’s pretend that you’re savvy and you know, whether I’m commander or Lieutenant or whether the hell it is, honestly, it wouldn’t matter to me. Cause it’s, cause it’s all I need to know is what’s happening in the scene?
W w what point am I getting across? I don’t know that I would play different, having that. This discernment and information in my head. So, so I apologize. I let you down on that one.
[00:59:00] Jeff: Okay. Well, you also get to play. You also played the character. I’m going to probably pronounce the name wrong DePaul and I printed precedent anywhere close to being correct. The pole in star Trek, the next generation and episode gambits parts one and two. And where you’re, again, you’re playing a Vulcan, but a Vulcan is playing a Romulan who’s really a Vulcan.
So how did you make sure that the pole was different than Savage in performing it?
Robin Curtis: Oh, well, I, I had a whole lot more fun doing the next-generation cause because again, I was a little more relaxed and, and I liked, I liked the sort of cat and mouse interplay between her character and Picard and Patrick, you know, all you have to do in a scene with Patrick is just not screw it up too badly because he’s so, he’s so grounding.
But he’s the kind of actor that the director [01:00:00] says, action. They save their first line and they’re so natural in their delivery. And so in their skin that you are your undone, you’re like. Oh, Oh, you just said you’re lying because they mesmerized you in that moment and you can’t even think like, you’re like, Oh, Oh yes.
I’m I forgot. I’m going to ha I’m an actress. No, probably wouldn’t I’m actually on a job and I have to say my line now. That’s how that’s how disarming he is. Patrick Stewart. So, so, so for me, the challenge was to just hold my own, hold my own meat. You know, I wanted my energy to be equal to his and, and also challenging to him.
And, and I remember thinking, I was like I felt like a Hawk or something. My, my, my, for some reason, my, my, the, the way, the way to get there for me was to sort of think in terms of personifying a Hawk you [01:01:00] know, and so, and so I’m like looking like a bird looks, you know, that their body is still there.
They’re sort of operating from the neck up and turning their head and, and so on and very aware of what’s happening around them. And, and you, you, if you watch it, you’ll see that that’s kind of what I was doing. They, they, they, I think that they wanted a kind of a sense of that’s seduction. That’s too strong a word, but, but a little sexual tension between them, which is not easy to do when you look like what they made me look like, you know what I’m saying?
The beer wig and the, Oh my God, I don’t feel the least bit sexy, but. I tried and body language again, and, and then, and positioning myself around him, moving about him. He was stationary and I was always moving around him to sort of imply a tent, like a little bit of a male, female tension [01:02:00] between us. It had nothing to do with being a Vulcan.
Did you know, I played the whole first part of the show, the first half. Not knowing what I was. Oh, wow. I didn’t know that it’s not revealed to the second episode. And I remember saying to one of the producers, can I see the second script because it’s really clear. I’m kind of there’s subterfuge and I don’t know what’s going on.
I don’t know who I like am I, I don’t seem to be who I say I am. Yeah, well, we don’t have it yet. So, so, so I, in some respects I was just kind of acting blindly. And at that point, you know, honestly you just put your hands into the drawer, you know, you put yourself into the hands of the director and trust that it’s going to make sense that they’re directing you in a way that, that, that, that hasn’t, you know, maintains the integrity of the story.
Jeff: had known, were there a choice, would you have made different choices of how you performed the character, knowing that it is what turns [01:03:00] out to be a bulk instead of a Romulan.
Robin Curtis: No, I don’t think so because, because she was a Vulcan masculine masquerading as a Romulan, at least that’s what she claims.
So all that it mattered was that I beat Romulan Romulan ESC. Gotcha. So until the reveal, so yeah,
Jeff: one of the other projects that that you’ve done as you kind of referred to it earlier, you were in a, is it a one person play called a good girl, the sexual assay of a 64 year old woman. Now you’ve mentioned a few times of being a shy person.
What made you want to do a one person show like that? Which I would feel would be saying, it seems like a very extroverted type of a show. And so how did you make that decision?
Robin Curtis: Well, so going back to my growing up years, We’ve lived in a small house, one bathroom, [01:04:00] three, three men, two girls. And, and so there was a very natural, excuse me, excuse me.
There was a very natural interaction between all of us with regard to our personal bodies. Like, I, I, that didn’t come out. Right. So it makes it sound like I’m living on a nudist colony or a commune or something. Not at all, not at all. I’m just saying that the way I was raised there, there, there, there, like, there was no, there were no hangups.
There was no neuroses about bodies and their natural functions and all that good stuff. And lots of physical affection, like, like at some point I figured out my mother and father, you know, had a, had a physical relationship once I understood what that was kind of a thing. And it was so nice to know, you know, that there was passion for them.
And and so, and so I grew up with, with some, I didn’t even [01:05:00] understand. Embarrassment. I mean, I understood embarrassment maybe if I got a bad grade, but not about, not about my person. The body was normal and natural and wonderful and all that. Good. And, and and I just didn’t have any hangups. And so when I was coming of age and, and songs like you know, if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one with your width and the women’s movement was in full tilt, cosmopolitan you know, was on the news stands and, and women were claiming their orgasms and girls could ask a boy out if they wanted to, it might be awkward.
It might be new, but it was okay. It was socially acceptable. Abortion became legal in 1973, birth control prevalent. And so with all of these freedoms, and because I grew up in such a, sort of a natural. Wholesome how household, where, where action of yourself physically was, was thought of as [01:06:00] good, you know, I, I kind of grew up very much in my skin and I liked boys and to figure it out, you know, the mechanics of all of that being fairly young.
And and and as I got older and I went off to college and then I went, you know, went out in the world. I, I I had no problem talking about my experiences, very, very you know, candidly and. Plainly. And honestly and people started to say, my friends would say, you gotta write that down. You really gotta write that down and be like, Whoa, you know, write it down, whatever.
It’s just my life, whatever who wants to know about my stuff. Right. And, and, and my romantic life was always Interesting and thrilling and, and, and soul crushing and all the things romantic lives can be. And I had a way of of expressing it Jeff or sharing it. That was very real and honest and, and, and it got, so friends would say, [01:07:00] what’s up now, even in the audition rooms out in LA, I can remember, you know, girlfriends cause cause we all became friends, actresses become friends of each other.
And I was always tickled pink when one of them got the job and they were happy for me when I got the job and, and the real professionals felt that way. They really did feel that way. We were supportive of each other and those audition rooms. I met some of the best women on the planet, those waiting rooms.
Right. And anyway, I finally started writing it down and, and it wasn’t until I, I moved to Cincinnati. And I was 43 years old and I, and I married my younger brother’s best friend, somebody from my childhood and I moved to Cincinnati and I was a bit of a fish out of water. And I was getting to know the town and a new life.
And I connected with one of the best women on the planet who then connected me to another fabulous woman. And I got involved with the women’s writing group and this [01:08:00] group encouraged me to write my piece, my show, what happened was as I was writing it chronologically Jeff and I stopped as soon as I turned 18.
Because that’s someone when I turned 18, that that changed my life forever. And I couldn’t articulate it. I couldn’t write about it objectively. I couldn’t even find the words. Like I like, like it was too big. It was too, too much to unwrap and unfold to put on the papers. So the women in the writing group in Cincinnati said, so, so jump around.
Why do you have to write in a linear fashion, in a chronological fashion? Just move on, move on to another subject, move on to another place. And I’m like, wow, you just gave me permission to tap into my life now because I’d stopped when I was 18. And suddenly [01:09:00] I’m writing about my marriages and I’m writing about all of it, oral sex, STDs, abortion, marital sex.
As I said, there’s so many chapters there.
There’s endlessly interesting topics, masturbation and, and I, and I just decided to, okay, okay. I’m gonna, I’m gonna infertility, I’m gonna write by it sort of by topic versus chronologically. And it just all came together. And after two or three years with these women, I’ve I w I was leaving Cincinnati and it was the end of our last class together.
And they said, we want you to perform it for us. And so I did it, I did it for a, sort of a private group of women and it was a big hit. And then I moved to upstate New York and I eventually connected with somebody at the college I attended and he directed it and I did it. I did it in front of a paid audience up, up in a suite, which was super, and I was worried that [01:10:00] the kids would think, Oh, you know, who wants to listen to this old bag?
Talk about her next life. Right, right. Oh my goodness. They, the, the young ladies ran up to the stage afterward. Oh, Oh, I know exactly what you’re talking about. Oh my God, that’s my life to blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It was so wonderful because the message in the end, the message. And then this is, this is, you know, just a, just a little teaser.
What I would want to say to young women is. Don’t give it all away, keep some from yourself, you know, because it’s easy, it’s easy for a young lady to Jeff, you know, if you figure out that, you know, being with a boy a certain way, makes him all, all interested in you and, and a little stupid and, and almost drunk with you.
It’s an easy note to play, but it’s important to realize you need to connect. You need to connect in other ways, that’s the easy [01:11:00] way to go to connect, you know, with a boy better, better to learn, you know, is he funny? Is he a good guy? You know, does he like his mother and father? Does it, is he, is it to his siblings?
Does he work hard? Does he have a good work ethic? Has he tells the truth? You know, does he have values? Is he smart? You know, it’s all that stuff that matters. But if, but if, but if, you know, when you’re, when you’re young and you’re insecure you know, it’s just easy to play. It’s easy to play the physical lane, you know, to take that lane and explore that with somebody and then figure out if they’re compatible with you.
And that’s just an ass backwards way to go about.
So, so, so that’s, that’s it pretty much in a nutshell, I’m sorry. I went on and on about
Jeff: it. No worries. So as you were writing it, were you learning things about yourself that you didn’t realize was there until you started really thinking about it in these terms as a writer.
[01:12:00] Robin Curtis: Yes. Yes I was. Yes. I was always, it’s always, I hope I’m learning till the day I die there.
You know, I feel so lucky, Jeff, as I said, you know, most of what’s been written on my DNA. Isn’t too hard to unpack. It really isn’t because there just was so much goodness there, but, but even somebody like me, you know, yeah, I, I I’ve, I’ve have, you know, my life journey is no different than someone else’s.
I have to figure out, you know, what mistakes I’ve made and who do I want to be? What are the best parts of me and what are the parts that need to work? And and I did, I learned, I learned better how to relate to, to the opposite sex. I think better more truthfully, more authentically for myself. Yeah, I have more confidence now in all the other parts of me that I don’t have to play.
I don’t have to, you [01:13:00] know, be, be sexy too, tracked another human being, you know, and it may be a part of me. It’s certainly a part of me and it’s hardly ever off, but, but I’m yeah, I’m I’m not the same woman I was when I was 18 that’s for darn sure. You know, in terms of, in terms of how. How, how I approached the opposite sex, but did, did, did you, were
Jeff: you surprised that any aspect of what you were looking at and reflecting upon surprise you about yourself?
Like, did you think to yourself, you know, I hadn’t really thought of myself in this way until I really kind of ref you know what I’m saying until I started writing things, reflecting upon it and I go, and you think to yourself, you know, I surprised that I may be more like this than I thought I was, or maybe I am more in these kinds of areas than I ever considered about myself before.
Robin Curtis: Yes, no, no, no. The, I think the big revelation was [01:14:00] that I thought I was in control. I, I thought I was, I want to find the right word here. I thought my actions would bring about a certain reaction and that, and that, and that I knew what I was doing. And, and all these years later, it didn’t a light bulb went off that the other person knew exactly what they were doing.
And that perhaps I was the one that was being manipulated. Oh, wow. Right. and by the way, I didn’t mean to imply that I would ever try to manipulate anyone. I’m simply saying, dang that. And I made this clear a moment ago that when it comes to interrelationships with the opposite sex, it’s easy to physicalize.
It. [01:15:00] That’s an easy thing to do. The more difficult thing to do is to actually get to know that person and to let the chemical attraction sort of, sort of, sort of simmer, you know, and then, and then. And then allow the things you’ve come to learn about one another to have an impact on the chemistry and the physical.
And I’m just saying that I pushed the physical first because that’s where I felt the most confident. And, and, and it’s it’s, it’s a powerful elixir to, to a young lady, you know, to make a boy goofy boofy in the head, you know, over and all it is, all of this is really, you know, not to be too tacky, but all it is is lost.
Do you know what I mean? And so, and so the revelation for me was that, that there may have been a couple of occasions, even, [01:16:00] even, you know, later on in my twenties and thirties, when I thought I was expressing myself in a very sort of feminist. D independent way toward the opposite sex. And really, maybe I was, you know, I wasn’t really in charge.
They were, they, you know, they had an agenda, they got what they wanted and you know, and perhaps I had been used in a way I didn’t realize I’m not sure. I don’t know. I, I don’t mean to be have to say about this, you know what I’m saying? It’s, it’s, it’s enough what I’ve said to ponder most people will, can relate to exactly what I’m saying.
Jeff: D D as hell. Do you find yourself wanting to add to it, to your play or your performance as time goes on? Do you think, you know, maybe I should add this story or an, or, and as you’re thinking back to, are you remembering things that maybe you hadn’t, that you must forgot that you had remembered.
Robin Curtis: You, I have to tell you you’re one of the best [01:17:00] interviewers ever so much.
So, so you’re so sweet. Cause I, I, okay. So the show ended, right? And it ended, it ended about 16 years ago, 16, 15 years ago when I met somebody who was, who has been in my life ever since. And now we’re no longer a couple. And now the challenge is Jeff, do I write about that? Do I add that to the show? Or is that another show?
Is it, is it, is it a good girl part too, because it’s so dense and it’s so thick and it’s a lot to, it’s a lot to unravel, frankly. And it, it would help me, it, it, it would, and I don’t think I’m exposing anybody here too terribly much. It’s my life. Dammit. I can talk about it if I want to. There was infidelity.
Hmm, and that, and that was something that was, that was horrible to go through really [01:18:00] horrible. And, and I, and I never imagined I would be like a victim of that, you know? And then, and then it happens to you and, and, and, and you, you just, you know, you’re in this like freefall. Of of, of shame and embarrassment and, and, and, and, and anger and, and just unbelievable pain.
Unbelievable hurt. Esther Perel, who does a Ted talk on infidelity said, it’s death by a thousand cuts and she’s right. She’s right. And you know, when you rethink everything and you, you know, you it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s just something that’s not, you don’t snap back from it fast. It takes it, it it’s a recovery it’s takes time.
And, and I, thank God I I’m, I’m I’m over it. And I thank God. I thank God that the person that I was involved with, I [01:19:00] give him a lot of chops. For, for, for helping me get over it, you know what I’m saying? Like, like he, even though he was the, he was the culprit, he was also, he was also a part of the healing and the tonic.
And that meant a lot to me. I, you know, that that’s one of the things in life not to get too, too heavy on this stuff, but I’ve been saying for decades that Americans, our culture is so end phobic. We, we, we, we, we, we don’t like to go there with death and, and, and I, I, I’m very proud of the fact that I, that I’ve had the endings of relationships and, you know, three marriages and this one most recently, and Jeff, I, I stayed in it with counseling or therapy until.
Both partners were expressed and everything [01:20:00] was said that needed to be said, and everybody got what they needed and could move on. I never left the relationship for another man or, or, you know, some other crutch I earned my way out. I walked out, you know, on my own two feet of you know, with my own steam.
And I’m proud of that. I really am proud of that. And, and I, and I think couples people, we need to pay more attention to the endings because sometimes the way you end something with someone can leave them reeling for years, year I’ve met. I, you know, I’m now I’m talking to people and I’m out dating again.
And I meet people who say, You know, four years later, they still think about that person. They wonder about that person, or they don’t even know why it ended. And I’m like, how could you even participate in something? And you don’t know how or why it ended, but that’s partly on you, you know, you’ve got, you’ve got [01:21:00] to get it.
I mean like good gravy, what are you doing with your life? If you’re that removed from it? You know? So, so, so the good news is I’ve had so many loves, but I don’t think of I don’t think of any of it as baggage because I worked through, I worked it through at the time, you know what I mean? They live in me, but they live in me in a friendly, beautiful way.
They don’t live in me. Like I’m dragging them around, you know? Yeah.
Jeff: When I find out something interesting that you’re saying, especially using words like embarrassment, did you. Is there something that gets a personalized that it’s on you or are you able to keep it as them as the ones who did the inappropriate infidelity or does it automatically become something that feels personalized to you?
Robin Curtis: Oh, I think it’s both you know, the, the person who who’s cheated on feels like [01:22:00] I thought, you know, like it’s embarrassing because you think, well, people will assume I, I wasn’t loving enough or I wasn’t tender enough or I wasn’t, you know, S you know, give, giving them enough love and, and, and, and physical attention and sex and all that good stuff.
And it’s like, it’s nothing like that. It’s, it’s not, I don’t think that’s comes from necessarily. You can’t make that assumption that, that, that the partner, the aggrieved partner. W was somehow push them into it. You know, I, I will, I will take ownership of the fact that, that we were struggling. Right.
And I, I, as much as I implored and begged and pleaded for him to talk to me and to explain to me what was going on and, and, and I’m here and I’m ready to listen whenever and I’m willing to do whatever it is to, you know, just to make these work. There came a time. Maybe when I should have said, said, [01:23:00] clearly, you’re not willing to be in this with me, but I kept thinking.
It was a chapter. It was a, it was a change, you know, like a midlife crisis or something. And then it would that, that, that, that he would be back. It’s like, you’re going to see, you know, you’ll be back. And we had so many other things going together, raising his sons and being in business together that, that I hated to throw in the towel, you know, but, but if I’m honest, I should have thrown in the towel.
I should have just, you know, I should have said, this is your, you’re not sustaining this relationship with me. I’m in it. I’m waiting, I’m waiting. I’m here with my handout for crumbs, you know, I’m ready to do the work and show up and, you know, but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t, I couldn’t.
And I couldn’t extricate myself, you know, and, and, you know, in fairness, he, he, he could, he couldn’t. Tell me what was [01:24:00] going on. And once he did, once he did it, made us close to them, because now, now, now the lie was out of the way, you know, you know, it’s so simple, but when you’re in it, people can’t see it, you know, and you don’t think you’re going to be in it until you are until you’re in this cliche place, you know?
And, and it’s happening to you. And, and, and you’re like, Oh, this is the stuff I see in movies and reading magazines. It doesn’t happen, you know? But yeah, all it takes is a little deception between two people. And, and the wall goes up, you know, the wall goes up and it’s impossible to get over it. It’s impossible to get through it until you break down the deception until you annihilate it, you know?
And then, and then it’s like, okay, now it’s not in the way [01:25:00] anymore. What if we got what’s here? What can we? And we tried very hard to sort of, revive, you know, but the good news is we found the warm and the love again. And I’m grateful for that. I’m really grateful for that.
Jeff: I mean, it really does sound like you have a second show here a second.
I mean, I’m just saying if,
Robin Curtis: okay, thank you, Jeff. I must compliment your, your interviewing skills. You’re a good listener and you’re in your. Yeah. Yeah.
Jeff: Yeah. I greatly appreciate that. I’m always fine with compliments.
Robin Curtis: You can add. Okay. We’re going to talk after you’re done. Cause I want to say something, but go, go ahead.
Jeff: Why did you decide to shift from acting to real estate?
Robin Curtis: Okay, so that was never a like, like a decision that took place. Those are two separate decisions that didn’t take place in the same moment in [01:26:00] time.
I decided to retire from acting. When, when I reconnected, I think I mentioned this earlier with my, with my younger brother’s best friend and we married and I lived in Cincinnati briefly and we figured out. You, you know, that we just weren’t compatible for the long run. And I jokingly say I played the Midwestern housewife for a half years, and then I retired that role and I moved back to upstate New York, you know, there, I was in the middle of the country, Jeff.
And I said, Oh my God, do I go back to LA Oh, good gravy now? Or do I go home? And I just wanted to come home. And my older brother and his wife lived in Cazenovia, New York, this charming it’s charming little village on a Lake, like 3000 people live here and it’s so dark and sweet and we’re just outside Syracuse.
So we got all kinds of culture and good hospitals and universities around us. And we used to come here in the summer. We’d have a family reunions here. So I bought a little house in the village and wouldn’t, you know, [01:27:00] the gentleman that I hired. To rehabilitate the house cause it needed some work. I interviewed four contractors and the man I chose is the man I spent the next 17 years.
So I had retired from acting completely wrote the show in Cincinnati, finished it, moved back to upstate New York. And now I’m, I’m, I’m involved with this man who builds things and he’s really talented, really talented. And, and I had every intention of going back to school, getting my master’s in criminal justice.
Would you believe, I don’t know what the hell I thought I was going to do with it at that point, but I took my GREs and I was going to go back to the university of Cincinnati and live there terribly while I went to school and, and maintain this house in upstate New York. And he said, do you want to build a house and see how it goes?
And I’m like, okay, so we built a [01:28:00] house and, and he, and it, and it’s sold no look at his split. And so I got my license and I went into real estate and, and, and it’s been, it’s been an amazing 17 years. I, you know, I, I feel good about what I do. I like what I do. I’m, I’m, you know, I never thought of myself as a salesperson, so I don’t really sell, to be honest, I, I try to bring unrelated things to each other and make a magical, you know, concoction, whether it’s the seller and the house to the buyer and the purchase or, or, or whatever it may be.
That’s the part of it that I love is when people walk into a house, like I walked into my house, I was a sad puppy coming out of that third marriage. And moving to upstate New York. And I bought this house because I felt hope again in this house. I don’t know what it was [01:29:00] like, walked in and I just went, Oh my God, I can figure out who’s going to love me.
What will become of me? Will I ever have a family in these rooms? What am I going to do with the rest of my life, in these rooms? And then I, and then I hired David and boom, you know, there I was so, so I wish for every buyer to have that reaction to a house, I wish for them to feel something that you can’t, you can’t describe.
It’s just a, it’s just a connection and it feels right. And it fits, it’s not just about dollars and cents. You know what I mean? It’s not just about all these things that are sort of. Unchangeable like bedrooms and baths and all that stuff. It’s, it’s about, there’s a certain chemistry between a buyer and a house that is really fabulous to witness.
Jeff: I think that’s really cool. It’s been almost exactly two years since I bought my first house with, with, with my wife and, and it, and I [01:30:00] remember it being very, a very special feeling because for the very longest time, I’d never, I never thought of myself as someone who would ever be able afford a house for various reasons I can go into.
But it was, it was, it was very excited and I kind of was wondering, cause I remember experiences that I’ve had with real estate agents. Do you utilize some of you were acting as a real estate agent? Cause I remember dealing with some agents who were definitely got to, I assume some level of performance involved with trying to sell things that may not have been the best were.
Robin Curtis: Honestly, Jeff, I know, I totally appreciate what you’re saying. You know, w w would, would one’s acting skills maybe apply, you know, to, to the field of real estate? I, you know, once again, and I mentioned this early on in our time together, I am just dreadful at self promotion. And even when the COVID struck, I wrote a little, I wrote a little text and, and I, and I got this app called nano teleprompter.
[01:31:00] And one of these fabulous apps that allows you to put your dialogue in your phone while you film yourself. And I came up with this fabulous, you know, again, this is like March of last year, a year ago now, you know, good evening, Mrs. Robin Curtis and now more than ever, you need someone you can trust, especially in real estate.
You know, when I go on to talk about why, why, why you should hire me? I never, I never filmed it. I bought all the equipment. What I practiced and practiced. So, and, and, and I couldn’t sell or protect some thing. It wasn’t to anybody ever. Never. No. So, so the notion of taking a house that needs work and implying anything else other than this house needs work.
Oh my God. No, don’t buy this house run honest. I’m very honest when it comes to, to, to either, either to a seller and what [01:32:00] they need to do to get their house ready to sell or to a buyer, who’s looking at a house to buy I’m, I’m candid with either party about what it’s going to take to make it right. I want everybody to feel good when they walk away from a transaction.
That’s my sort of real estate philosophy. I don’t want to be, I I’m honestly not interested in a transaction where somebody. Is is the word hobbled, cobbled, hobbled, hobbled, the other party, not interested. I want the buyer and seller to both walk away with their head up. In other words, a fair transaction, a totally fair transaction by all measurements.
I did a film once this is before star Trek, three came out. I, I worked on a film in Morocco, which never saw the light of day, never saw the light of day because there was all sorts of drama behind the scenes and the producer and and the director ran off with the, with the film canisters and, and, and [01:33:00] somebody went to jail.
I mean, it’s interesting how it all down. Yeah. So it was called in filo Bianco and filo Nero, a white thread of black thread. And it was an interesting story about a young Jewish attorney who goes to Palestine to defend Palestinians and. And there I am in Morocco. And why did I bring this up?
Why did I bring this up? There was a reason. Yeah.
Jeff: What was I just talking about? Real estate and fear transactions.
Robin Curtis: Oh yeah. So there I am in Morocco in this like amazing place in Casablanca and Marrakesh, et cetera. And of course, when we had free time from the set, we would go, we would go into the inner city. What they call the Casbah the old city.
And you would shop and I could not negotiate, negotiate, [01:34:00] and, and, and, and, and they would not have it. The store owners would not have it. You couldn’t go in and say, please just give me a number of fair price. I’m happy to pay you. So I couldn’t buy anything unless I took somebody along with me who would negotiate for a leather coat or, or, or a little rug or a little woven bag.
Yep. Yep. Can’t do it.
Jeff: Just remind me of something. Back many years ago when I was, before I was going to become a teacher, I’m a, I’m a high school teacher now, but before I became a teacher, I was going to do primatology. And I went down to Costa Rica for a summer to do some CO’s class, last research.
And I remember there was a statue that I liked at this Costa Rican retailer. Okay. And I looked at it and I said, it was nice. And I walked away and they started saying, well, okay, how about, how much is this? I was like, well, I appreciate you giving me a price, but I’m not interested. I just thought it was nice looking and honest to God.
They went down. I can’t remember what it ended up being for price, but they literally were following me around the store, just changing the number at the further I walk. And eventually I [01:35:00] bought the statue. I still have it, but I think it went down from like 60 something dollars to like $25. And I was like, I didn’t, I wasn’t trying to negotiate with you.
I just didn’t want it. I just thought it was nice.
Robin Curtis: Hey Jeff, I have the same, the same thin skin about it. I do. It’s like, Oh no, no, don’t go down. I just, for you that you have it. I
Jeff: do have it. It’s a beautiful it’s. I guess it’s supposed to be the Costa Rican vision of what death is supposed to look like.
A combination of death and an old man, cause he’s an old guy with a long beard, but it has a sickle or like a, kinda like a farmer slash old man, like death. And it’s a beautiful statue. And I funny thing, just a quick, funny story and we’ll, we’ll move on. It was, this was a few weeks before nine 11 and I had the box coming from Costa Rica trying to cross into the United States with this box.
I still remember to the day the the person who I was at the airport with you know, at the counter goes, is there anything in there that kicks or could explode? I was like, no, they’re like, okay, you’re fine. Keep [01:36:00] walking. And I was like three weeks later, I guarantee they would be opening up that box and taking a look what was inside, you know?
But it was interesting. But anyways, anyway, back to you, so have you considered going back to acting, or is that something that you think about.
Robin Curtis: Would I go back to acting? So here’s the scoop. Yeah. Yes. I suppose I would, if, if it’s the right project I, I have a full-time career. I am in real estate full time. I hope to maybe retire in a couple of years. We’ll see how much money I can sock away. I, I have a very fabulous human being in my life.
That’s very dear to me. And, and this is a client, right? A real estate client who has since become a friend and he writes scripts and he has offered a part to me if he can get a script on its feet. And he’s actually connected with people in Hollywood that are, [01:37:00] that are real, like he’s, he’s. He’s ambitious.
Okay. All the stuff that keeps going a battering Ram. So I would definitely work in anything that he had going on. But see, I was invited to that party, you know what I mean? If I’m invited to the party. Oh, sure. I’ll do it. And, and, and I, I do my show again. We’ll see. We’ll see, we’ll see. I put it out to somebody recently and we’ll see if it ever sees the light of day again.
But I love doing the conventions. I love, I love meeting fans and I love putting out for them you know, connecting with them. And I, I mean, that’s not really acting, but it is sort of, you know, their, their public appearances and, and I, I do enjoy that so much. So that’s, I mean, that’s yeah.
I don’t think there’s going to be any big acting roles for me out there anymore. I definitely have retired. And with those few exceptions that I just described, well, I
Jeff: certainly hope you end up at the Rhode Island comic [01:38:00] con cause we’re I go to, I would love to on a credit from you at some points I’ve grown in Comicon must be in your future at some point Rhode Island, con Rhode Island. That’s where I live. So like I said, definitely go Comicon. Running Comic-Con has been around, I think for maybe eight years. They, they, they’re usually a relatively big show, I think. Well, we’ve actually had some pretty decent names. I think, I think William Shatner showing up a few times over the last four years.
Yeah, but like I said, you go, I definitely want to know that, so I’m going to go find it.
Robin Curtis: Aw, sweetheart. Thank you. Well, how can we, how can we wrap up this evening?
Jeff: Well, I just want to thank you very much for talking with me and next time if you do decide to do your second show you’re you’re a good girl.
Part two, please. Come on to sell it.
Robin Curtis: Okay. You’re so sweet. I will. Thank you, honey. Yeah. Yeah. It’s richer. You’re really good at what you [01:39:00] do.