Star Trek Deep Space Nine’s Nana Visitor (Commander Kira Nerys)
Guys, today is super awesome. John and Kenric got to sit down and have a chat with the incredible Nana Visitor! She played Commander Kira on Star Trek Deep Space Nine. She was on Matlock, MacGuyer, Knight Rider, Murder, She Wrote, Frasier, Dark Angel, Family Guy, Dynasty, Grimm, and SO much more!
Have you ever wondered about her name? Well she tells us the story in this episode! And a few things you might not have heard before!
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
Theme music by Good Co Music:
Steve the Robort did his best on this Transcript.
Nana Visitor Interview
[00:00:00] Kenric: alright guys. We’re back today. And today’s an exciting episode because. If you are a Saifai fan, if you are a lover of deep space nine, then we have your major. We have your Colonel none are visitor.
Thank you so much for coming on.
Nana Visitor: I’m thrilled to be here.
Kenric: That’s awesome. I can’t believe you’re actually here talking with us right now. I used to watch you all the time back in the back in the day on deep space nine, and here you are just having a conversation.
Nana Visitor: now, how old were you when you were watching the show? I want to know this.
Kenric: I was I’m 45 now. So in deep space nine and it was on was 93. So I was 18 and 93.
Nana Visitor: 18. Oh my God.
John: watching us. My dad.
Kenric: Yeah. Yeah. We all had crushes on you, so
Nana Visitor: But that’s kind of great that that’s stuck with you. I expect that your partners are really interesting people. [00:01:00] I like that.
Kenric: That’s cool.
Nana Visitor: I, I don’t mind being an influence that way at all. Especially that character. My God.
Kenric: Yeah. She’s strong.
Nana Visitor: yeah, she was strong. But she also was, you know, she was, you can’t really say human, but she had flaws and she was this creature that was struggling to find herself and do right.
And evolve and cultivate things in herself. So, you know, it’s like, well, that’s, that’s kind of a good, first crush to have.
Kenric: Yeah, that’s always
Nana Visitor: Yeah. Yeah. Although I know it was in your first question, but I’m just going to take that credit right now. I’m just gonna yeah. W yeah. And let’s move on. Don’t correct me. We’ll just move on from there.
Kenric: There you go. So you actually. Grew up in New York, your parents were huge into heavily into dance. And in, in New York [00:02:00] and your dad, Robert was actually associates of some really famous dancers back in the day, Jerry and Jerome Robbins and Bob falsey. And what was it like growing up with all that influence like that?
Nana Visitor: Well, you know, it’s, it’s. I didn’t know any different. I thought everyone argued about pyramids and had Jerry Robbins over for dinner. And, you know, Bob and Gwen,
Nana Visitor: it’s like, it’s normal. It’s just, you know, I remember being in my. My mother used to take me to her ballet class where every big Broadway star was taking class.
But you know, to me, it was just boring because she didn’t want to get a babysitter. So sit and watch class and. Boredom sometimes I get up and start taking it. And I remember one wonderful time where Gwen Verdon, hit me across the face with her foot because I was standing in [00:03:00] back of her. And I don’t know if you know who Gwen Verdon is.
Actually people might know more now because of the wonderful, Fossey of Verdun. Series that was on TV. she was an amazing performer. and, but that’s how I ended up dancing. I just, it was kind of by happenstance, it just happened. It’s just what I did. Well, we all, did you just dance? Someone said tap dance.
And it’s like, okay, I’ll figure that out. I never took a class.
Kenric: Cause you just there you’re, you’re just influenced by it sitting right in front of you. Yeah. You said you were bored at first, having more of the kid being told you have to go, but when did the bug really hit you?
Nana Visitor: not for a long time. and it never, I think, you know what it hit me in my forties. Dance was a way for me to make money in New York. If I needed money, I do a Broadway show dance and a Broadway show. If I didn’t I’d look for acting [00:04:00] work. So I was like, eh, it’s just what we all do. I didn’t really understand the joy of it until I, did, Chicago, the show Chicago on Broadway and, that. Experience made. I was old enough to understand I’d had enough experience to understand that dance is such a cool way of expression. It’s so powerful. and it also involves not just your body, but your mind. So there’s a sematic neurological connection that happens that really puts you in a place of.
Well it’s, it’s, it’s the place everyone tries to get to when they meditate, when they take drugs, when they, you know, when they jump out of airplanes, that place, it puts you in that place perfectly. So [00:05:00] it can, it was that time in my life was an amazing time.
Kenric: Oh, that’s great. Yeah. That’s, that’s, that’s amazing. That’s a great childhood though, because you’re just being, you’re just having all this freedom there and I mean, freedom to express your like yourself like that. It’s just usually when I was growing up, it felt weird to try to dance.
Nana Visitor: I can imagine. But for us after dinner, that’s what we all did get up and do something, make someone laugh, make someone laugh with dancer, you know it’s so yeah, it was good. It was, it was an incredible upbringing.
Kenric: When did you try out to be a chorus dancer on Broadway?
Nana Visitor: I was, well, I got a summer job. I was actually gonna, I got into Princeton and I was going that fall. I got a summer job doing a chorus, right outside of New York. And it was three shows and, one of them ended up going to Broadway, but I was like, no, [00:06:00] no, I’m going to Princeton. But I, so I was already kind of dabbling and I think I want to work right now.
And then, I, I kept a, I kept just, postponing the time I go to Princeton differing, and then I, it, I just kept working. So that was it. I never went,
Kenric: prison never came.
Nana Visitor: Parents didn’t ever came. I just kept working. Yeah.
Kenric: Yeah. That’s awesome though. Cause you actually went, you actually played on Broadway more than one time. The first one I think was being my one and only flounder. What was that like?
Nana Visitor: Actually the first was music, it was called a musical Jubilee and I was 18 years old and there were the whole, there were like, it was a musical review with. They were big name stars at the time and a chorus to back them up. And that was my, of all times I used to go to Joe islands, the actors hang out, have dinner before [00:07:00] the show and feel like I was.
Joan Crawford. I was so glamorous. It was like, Oh my God. And now the lights are going to be on me. And you know, I was in the back, but it didn’t matter to me at all. It was great. I had no responsibility.
Kenric: During that time we, had Robert Picardo on a couple of weeks ago. And during that time he was on Broadway and he was performing with Danny Aiello. Did you get to read like Danny Aiello or meet Robert Picardo back in those days?
Nana Visitor: No, never.
Kenric: is there that, I guess, cause in my mind I always feel like it’s going to be a smaller community, but it really is kind of a
Nana Visitor: Well, it is pretty, it’s a pretty small community, but Danny was an actor doing plays and stuff. I was musical comedy all the way. So, yeah, so, and those,
Nana Visitor: don’t. Oh, very different crowd, very different crowd. [00:08:00] Lots of, you know, there’s almost like a gang back then a gang, a feeling of
Kenric: got your clicks.
Nana Visitor: Yeah. Oh yeah.
Big time. yeah, it was like, Oh, please are so full of themselves. They don’t know what real hard work is. Yeah, but of course now I have a completely different view of it all and I, well, being an actor is what I wanted to do. Ultimately I danced cause that’s what I knew.
Kenric: Well, let’s stay on Broadway just because you got a chance to go back to Broadway in 2001, and you played an iconic role in Roxy in the place, Chicago. You gotta tell us what the experience was like.
Nana Visitor: It was, it was incredible. It was, it, it was everything you think starring on Broadway could possibly feel like it was an explosive time in my life, an explosive time, literally in the world. and I was [00:09:00] doing the show. It was the first time I realized why. Well, I never really questioned, you know, is, is this is being an actor, is, is being a performer.
Something that actually adds anything to anyone’s life or am I, you know, what am I doing with my life? and it was in that show that I went, ah, I got it. I understand what I’m, what my role in society is because nine 11 hit and they, closest theaters. we missed, I think, two shows and then, Giuliani called us all back and said, well, you got to stand up and start doing this and get the city back, moving.
Nana Visitor: Right. And, and that sense of normalcy and everything’s okay. And if they’re doing this stupidity on stage, it must be okay. I know I use [00:10:00] sitcoms when I’d be upset as a kid, I’d watch a sitcom and I would feel like, no, no. If this is on everything must be okay.
Kenric: I’m the same way. If I feel sick, like if I’m sick, then I have two shows, three shows that I really watch when I’m like super sick. And it’s the big bang theory because it’s just mindless humor. I love it. Trailer park, boys. Same thing, dumb over the top moronic humor and the it crowd those
Nana Visitor: And it doesn’t matter if you’ve seen it before, right.
Doesn’t matter. Yep. Yeah. It’s the comfort of it. And I think sitcoms have their place in that regard, you know, they,
Nana Visitor: They do. They do.
Kenric: And they can be so brilliantly written.
Nana Visitor: But it’s, but that’s, that’s it. And I realized then, Oh my God, I’m a storyteller. I tell stories. And that comforts people and it educates people about themselves. It opens them up. It makes them feel there’s so much good to it.
So that show [00:11:00] was really, really important to me. And it was a, it was a crazy, crazy time. You know, when now we look back and we go, yeah, that it was. That horrific event and then life went on, but we, at the time kept thinking it was like having posttraumatic stress syndrome. we, we kept thinking it was going to happen again and again and again, we were sure they were gonna come back and hit Broadway.
They were going to come back and hit, you know, the, the, it, it was endless. We lived in fear for, for months there. And when I went, I used take my boys who were eight and four at the time. I used to take them to the theater with me on weekends. Otherwise I just didn’t see them at all. And they play in my dressing room and I’d come in and out.
and in between shows, we’d go and have a bite to eat somewhere. And when nine [00:12:00] 11 happened, I stopped having the boys come and it was like, no, the boys can’t come with me. And I thought, why did I, why am I saying? And it’s like, well, when I look underneath it, it’s because I think we might get wiped out.
And yet I’m still going to the theater. That’s interesting.
Kenric: the passion takes over.
Nana Visitor: Well, because you go, this is my job. This is where I’m supposed to do, supposed to help. So, yeah, it was that that show was big.
Kenric: it’s kind of weird when you look and say, well, okay, what’s essential. What’s not like we’re going through this right now with, with COVID-19 and okay. What’s essential and what’s not, but it’s like, you can make a case for a lot of essentials that you didn’t think of before, based on what they do for people, you know?
Nana Visitor: morph. We morph how we do it. I mean, now we do it through zone. We go, we’re still telling stories. It’s just in a different way, but we are still
Kenric: Telling story right now.
[00:13:00] Nana Visitor: exactly. It’s that? Cool?
Kenric: It is very cool. It’s kind of crazy. Hey, when did you take the last name of visitor? And I’m always curious and I hope it’s okay to ask. Why did you go with that as opposed to your, your dad’s last name?
Nana Visitor: So my father was found on a doorstep and, in Portland, Oregon. And the people who took him in were named Tucker and that became his name. They were very troubled people and he had had a very troubled life with them and he felt no connection to the name. So I felt no connection to them. And, Frankly in high school, I got called something that wasn’t quite Tucker, continually.
Kenric: I’ve been there. My name is Kendrick and somebody when I was in second grade called me Ken Dick, and I lost it, started bawling and then it followed me for like, it wasn’t [00:14:00] until I was comfortable with my own name. And then it started, then it’s like, okay, now it’s kind of funny. And I laughed about it and it even ended up on my birthday cake when I turned 39 as a joke, you know, but it’s just.
John: Horace. Nice guy. He’s gonna call it a horse shit all the time.
Nana Visitor: But, but, but, but let’s face it Kendrick eight. There were some soft tears in the bathroom by yourself after your 39th birthday, weren’t there. Yeah, I know. It’s okay. It’s okay.
Kenric: told me you wouldn’t tell anybody not up.
John: This is a good title.
Kenric: Oh, that’s hilarious.
Nana Visitor: Oh God. I know I had no connection to that name and, it, okay. Here’s the real story I told some ones that sounded. Fine. Like it was a name in my family. I’m going to tell, I told other people, but no one like this, no one, like [00:15:00] it’s great. It’s going to go out there. This is a real story. I had a brother Paris.
He’s no longer with us. 15 years older than me. And he used to be really good at naming people. I was, I believe 18 around there. I had been going by Nana only. and it got complicated. when computers came around, they, they insisted on two names, so it would be nanananana. And then it was like, no, I don’t want that.
So. Yeah, it was going to go in that direction, banana, whatever. So I said, and he was really good at naming people. He named a couple of famous people, so I went, give me a name. And he was, he was a weird guy. He was definitely weird guy. And he wrote a name on a piece of paper and he said, and. I’m calling [00:16:00] him weird.
I’m calling me stupid for doing this, please. He said, is this true? my brother Perez said, I have this name on a piece of paper. If I give it to you, you must use it. If you don’t promise to use it with whether you like it or not, I’m not going to give it to you.
Nana Visitor: And like an idiot. I said, okay. And he said, this is good because what I see is you signing this name over and over and over again, you’re going to sign lots of autographs with this name.
And I went okay. And of course I hated it. It was visitor. And I thought for God’s sakes now I don’t belong anywhere ever. it’s, you know, I’ve got parking lots everywhere, but I, I grew to love it. And I grew into it and I have to say it was probably 10 [00:17:00] years ago. I thought of this story again, and I went, Holy shit.
Hi, there, there are actors who were. Much famous are than me who probably don’t sign as many autographs as I
Nana Visitor: You know, it really, I really have signed a lot of autographs.
Kenric: I bet you got a car and you probably get swapped.
Nana Visitor: Yeah. Cons or cons. Well, they’ve been big, so yeah, so that’s how I got my name. My big brother Paris gave it to
Kenric: I love your first name by the way. I think it’s unique. I think it’s fun. I know that in parts of Africa it means queen, so
Nana Visitor: like that. I do like that. It means seven. It means Italian grandmother. It’s, it’s, it’s all over the place, but mostly I love, I love it. And, and people do it almost every day. Oh, your name is [00:18:00] Nana, but I’ll say, hi, my name’s Nana. And they’ll say, Oh, Danna. That’s what I call my grandmother is like, yes, I know.
I know. That’s like your mother.
Kenric: me a long time to appreciate that I had an original name, you know?
Nana Visitor: it does take awhile. It’s a kid is not going to like it at
Kenric: because they want to be the Knight. They want to be Mike. It’s funny. Cause I haven’t, my brother’s name is Michael and then I have a sister named Patricia and then another sister named Kathleen, Kathleen passed away about 20 years ago now who that’s weird 20 years ago, but yeah,
Nana Visitor: Never gets good.
Kenric: I never get it’s time.
Makes it easier to talk about that’s
Nana Visitor: Yeah.
Kenric: you know, this is weird. Like you’ve been through this, losing a sibling is so different than losing. I’ve lost. My, my father passed away back in 1990 and I mean, it obviously sucks, but it’s different, you know, it’s just, yeah, it Kathy’s still messes me up, but, but they all have these biblical [00:19:00] names.
Right. I’m on basically just took them all out of the Bible and then here’s me Kenrick. It’s just like, all right. And then go going through life. You know, it didn’t, it wasn’t until high school that I like, I, you know what I like my name. Nobody else has my name. You know,
John: I had. So my actual name is just the letter J not actually John or tried my legal name, just one letter. And I always loved it. As soon as I found out, my name was one letter in fourth grade, because before that, my mom called me Johnny, and then my dad told me one day that, Oh, no, your name’s Jessie J. I was like, really? So I wouldn’t buy that through all of school. And it was so much easier to write my name. So I love the fact that he’s had one letter. I was like, I fully
Nana Visitor: I love
Nana Visitor: I love
Kenric: He’s the third too, right?
John: Yeah, I’m the third, my first name’s J middle name and I’m the third. One of my sons is the fourth.
Kenric: Yeah. Is that
Nana Visitor: Very cool.
Kenric: Yeah, but everybody calls him Jack. Isn’t that fun? That’s so we’re just a bunch of unique names sitting on this podcast. There you go.
Nana Visitor: But you know, when I [00:20:00] tried to change my name, legally I ran into, I had to go to the social security office and this is the first time my name’s always been enough. That’s what my parents named me. but I went, I found out, I, I had trouble getting a hold of my birth certificate when I finally did, I had to bring it into, Social security along with a million other people, pieces of paper to prove this.
And she said, I said, so I’m changing it to nano visitor. It’s not Tucker. And she said, well, that’s not the problem. And I said, what, what do you mean? She said, Nana is in your name. Your name is from Mali. So you’re from Molly visitor. Female female, female visitor. They hadn’t filled it
Kenric: Oh, no, you don’t. It’s funny. I have a friend that happened to his mom. He got, was born at home. His mom didn’t fill out the birth certificate. So the hospital put in boy and his [00:21:00] name was boy for like six months.
Nana Visitor: yeah, that’s what that’s. And evidently all these years I’ve actually been seeing emails, visitor.
Nana Visitor: but she made it fancy. She made it fancy. Molly sounds a lot better.
Nana Visitor: Yeah. Like a possible name. I should have kept it.
Kenric: Wow. That’s crazy. That’s cool though.
Nana Visitor: Yeah. It took a long time. It took lawyers get involved to actually get my name legally changed.
Nana Visitor: yeah.
Kenric: So 1977, you’re in the Sentinel.
Nana Visitor: Oh, God. Yeah.
Kenric: that your first taste of being out in Hollywood and shooting a movie?
Nana Visitor: no, I had done a series. I know, I know I had done a series and I had been told this was a big deal, a big director. You’ve got to do it. [00:22:00] and, it was hell it was. Oh full. Actually I went, Nope. Don’t need to ever. do a movie again. And I aggressively went after TV and thought film isn’t for me, of course it was the director.
That was the problem, not films. but it turned me off because he decided to, target me. And when he decides to. Decided to have a relationship with someone. He started by being really aggressive and he was awful, awful to me. And, I was 18. Didn’t know what was going on. Didn’t understand and just went, you know what, I’ll save myself that trouble, not having an affair with him and not ever do movies again.
So that’s, that’s what happened.
Kenric: yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s unfortunate. I’m sorry to even hear that that happened to you. Cause that’s
Nana Visitor: It was so common. It’s, you [00:23:00] know, I just thought, well, I know that’s because that this is what they would say to you. This is what casting directors would say. They’d say, if you don’t want to do it, there are a hundred people behind you. And, you know, so I understand people getting pressured, but it was like, well, yeah, that’s just part of the deal.
And, I chose you’re no, of course not. I’m so glad
Kenric: The meat. This is why the me too movement was so important right here.
Nana Visitor: Oh my God. Oh my God. Yup. Yup. yeah, because I, I just, I cut off my nose, you know, to save my face, I guess I w I won’t go further into trying to make that analogy
Nana Visitor: but, It’s going to get ugly, but yeah, I just went, I won’t do film.
I, I don’t, I don’t want to, I don’t want to run into that kind of stuff ever
Kenric: Well, you got into TV and man, you got into TV. Johnny. I’m going to, I want to name a couple [00:24:00] shows that she’s on because I can’t go through all of them. We’ll be here all night and
Nana Visitor: It’s true. I was on
Kenric: You’re on some amazing stuff. Matlock, Nightcore, MacGyver highway to heaven, Knight rider, Doogie Howser murder.
She wrote Battlestar Galactica Hunter, and it just goes on it’s you’re on some iconic shows. How much fun do you look back during that time of your life and go, wow. I really, I really got lucky. You know what I mean? To be on all these different shows, meet all these different people and just experience all that.
Nana Visitor: I was lucky. I was lucky, but the work was really hard when you are a guest star, you don’t get any perks, but you’re doing as much or more. Then the leads of the show and, you’re last on the list, it on everyone’s list to take care of the times that, you know, yeah. Leave her in the [00:25:00] pool that isn’t heated and everyone’s wearing parkas.
it just leave her in there where the cameras are almost up. That happens. the, the cast. Deciding that they’re not going to talk to you because there’s such a click in the, or they’re so exhausted or they’re having a fight with each other. And so, you know, that happens, it becomes, but it was the best education for two reasons.
I got to be like a plumber. come in, do a job. Here’s my job here are the tools I’m, I’m opening my, my. Work chest up is what I do. Close it back up by, by, eh, so it got to be like that for me, which was very, a very useful lesson. The other lesson was every time I’d go, Oh my God. If I’m ever a principal on a show, guest stars are going to be treated well.
Kenric: going to [00:26:00] ask, cause in 93, you land a rural of Kira major Kira on and having what you just said it must have when people came on, you must’ve thought of all the times that you were a guest star, all the, all the shows that you’ve been on, you
Nana Visitor: Oh, yeah. Oh yeah. I became a pain in the ass, a little bit to production because it’s like, why are, why are they in that trailer? Why aren’t they doing that? How can you make this easier? because no one watches out for them.
Kenric: to me. Yeah.
Nana Visitor: Yeah. Yeah. And to make them feel welcome. And our show was tough to guest on, I mean,
Kenric: I bet the
Nana Visitor: people underestimate people underestimate how hard the language was, how hard it was to be under.
Lots of makeup if you’re not used to it. and how hard it was. I think, well, there were laws written because of our [00:27:00] show because we had such long hours, it was insanity. The shortest day I think I ever had was 16 hours. So. Yeah, it was, it was hard, hard work. And to jump into that is not easy. So if, and of course we were exhausted, we were all dealing with exhaustion.
But, if, if we, I didn’t pay attention to the guest stars and make them help them and go, no, no, no, no. Don’t worry about this. And this is what you need to do. Or these are the rules here. Don’t worry. it, it would have been held for them.
Kenric: yeah. Yeah. When you, I think on Matlock, you actually played a double role
Nana Visitor: I, yeah, I think I did two Matlocks. I think I
Kenric: in one of them you put, yeah. What I gotta ask Andy Griffith is, you know, especially then he was near the tail end of his career, but he was still really Hollywood loyal royalty. [00:28:00] And for a long time, he really ran how network television happened and. Not on a, obviously not on a business sense, but on what got on what actors got, what jobs, I mean, he was very influential.
What was it like working with that guy?
Nana Visitor: Is he a, a childhood hero of yours?
Kenric: no, I just know, I just remember watching a lot of Andy Griffith show and I’ve read a lot about him, but you don’t, I don’t know anything personal about him. I don’t have a, I don’t have a. I don’t have one way or the other with them.
Nana Visitor: Well, I grew up watching. I grew up watching that show and I grew up going, this is the nicest
Kenric: was a Gomer Pyle fan.
Nana Visitor: in the world.
Kenric: Yeah. I thought he was just hilarious. He made me laugh a lot.
Nana Visitor: Yeah. Yeah, I get it. You was. but he was, My experience of him. You was not a nice man. And he was very competitive. yeah. And very interested in [00:29:00] it. It was like, Okay. So let’s say you’re playing tennis and someone’s, you’re both good tennis players and you can really play a game.
You can either get into that and go, wow. Okay. I’m here. Or you can go now I’m going to dominate them and mess with them. So they can’t actually play.
Kenric: right. Psychologically break them down. Yeah,
Nana Visitor: And of course he had the power to do that. So that wasn’t fun. not interesting to me.
Kenric: that’s too bad.
John: Yeah. That doesn’t sound fun at all. That
Kenric: no, that doesn’t sound fun at all. You’re here to work in a job, trying to do the best you can. And that’s the last thing you need.
Nana Visitor: those were, that was one of those experiences where you go, okay. All right. I’m not here to be liked. I’m not here to be welcomed. I’m here to do a job and here’s the job and I’m going to do it, whether. They like it or not. And that actually served me [00:30:00] on deep space nine because no one liked major curate.
First, all, everything I heard was like, what, what are you doing? Why is she so Greg, what, what? And I went, I’m here to do a job. I see this as, you know, she’s come out of. I didn’t have the language then, but now it’s post traumatic stress. She was completely, every what’s weird is I exhibited everything that someone with post traumatic stress has without having a name for it.
And that’s exactly what was going on for her.
Kenric: When, when you think of Cura and you think of the time you had with her and the fans and the writing, does it, they always describe her as a former terrorist. Does that, does that get to you or does, cause it doesn’t when I, when I read that, it doesn’t quite make sense because I felt like, well, was she a [00:31:00] terrorist or was she a rebel?
Nana Visitor: Well, I mean, that’s the thing, that’s the wonderful thing about. I find about our show because you can see her as a freedom fighter, or you can see her as a terrorist. You can see her as you know, I, I was given shows where I go, Oh my God, I’m, I’m depicting a racist. My character is a racist and she’s on a path to get over it.
But, this is ugly. and I have to. I have to go there. So, I love that about, about star Trek and I don’t, I don’t pull back in revulsion about being called a terrorist because I kind of am amazed that I was a main character who was so heavily flawed.
Kenric: well, she had the most growth out of all the
Nana Visitor: the most growth.
Kenric: Of all the cases. I mean, [00:32:00] yeah. She had
Nana Visitor: I had the furthest to go though
Kenric: she was, Oh, it was a great cast that did a great job on that show. It lasted, you know, it was on for what? Six, seven years. That’s yeah. That’s no slouch. And out of those, your character grew the most, like you said, the fans did not like her at first.
And it took, it, took the writing to get up to that point of them going right now, near the end of the sh three seasons, she became one of the fan favorites.
Nana Visitor: Now what ha now, when people are able to binge watch it, if they’ve never seen it before, they have a whole different perspective, whole different perspective on the show on my character. It’s it’s fascinating.
Kenric: do you have a favorite story of a fan’s interaction with you? Cause I know a lot of times. Fans could get very emotional because you inadvertently helped them through a troubling time.
Nana Visitor: Oh, yeah. Yeah. [00:33:00] I mean, here’s the thing I realized years ago that when we go to conventions and we have these lines and we have. 30 seconds to a minute to talk to each person. I realized it wasn’t about them seeing me at all. They’ve seen me, they know who I am. They want me to see them. They want to be able to say they’re part of the equation.
And close the link that is them and me, and, and have me see who they are, what it meant and look into their eyes and acknowledge their humanity. And, that conventions are really, really important for that. It’s really important. so I’ve had a lot of. Truly, truly unbelievable, interactions I’ve [00:34:00] had early on. You know, people have you sign all kinds of things. They have, you sign their body. And I used to go, I’m not sure I want to do that because I know that they were getting it tattooed and, but, but I have done it. and the wa there was one questionable thing that came on my table and it was a six week old baby.
Sign the baby. Would you sign my baby? And I, I signed the diaper, but it was, it was one of those, what the hell am I doing? What the hell has my life become? This is bizarre, but there was also the woman, the old woman who pulled up her sleeve and, and held my hand. Prior to that going, thank you for what you do.
We heavily accented pulled up her sleeve and, and, you know, she was at Auschwitz,
Kenric: Oh my God.
[00:35:00] Nana Visitor: a Kira meant a lot to people like that. so yeah, they’re, they’re just,
Nana Visitor: there are fans that I met in that first year of the show at a convention that I emailed back and forth to this day
Kenric: Oh, that’s nice.
Nana Visitor: Oh, yeah. Oh my God. Yeah.
Kenric: Yeah, that’s cool. What is something in that show that you look back on finally, now that might’ve been. Because I want, when I think of my career path over just in life, some of the times that were the most hardest and the most strenuous I look back the most fondly of now.
Nana Visitor: Well, you know, that’s a fact that good times for us, isn’t about leisure. It’s about when we’re most engaged.
Nana Visitor: That is when we are literally happiest. when, when we can go into what’s called a flow state, when you lose track of [00:36:00] time, when you. All your focus is so great. It’s just on this one thing that you’re doing.
So, yeah. I would say I was in a flow state the whole time. the whole seven years of deep space, nine, I think back fondly at the chocolate chip, warm chocolate chip cookies that used to appear after lunch. That’s what I’m thinking. I, you know, I’m thinking of. Endlessly being able to, to sit on the set and talk to these in incredible tribe members that I was a part of.
We were, we were a tribe. I wouldn’t say a family. we were too disparate for that, but, this incredible, incredible family of just talented. Strange wonderful beasts.
Kenric: that’s awesome. [00:37:00] That’s so nice. I’m glad that you look back. Finally, I’ve talked with people where they’re just, it was just, you know, whatever they did for an extended amount of time. And did you ever, I guess the question I should get to is, do you ever feel like you’re, did you ever worry about getting typecasted?
I’m always curious with that.
Nana Visitor: Yeah. Oh yeah. Back. Well look, 25 years ago, if you did science fiction, you were, you were done in the business. And my managers had high hopes for me because after all I was guest star queen, I was on everything. It looked like. You know, George Clooney did, you know, pilot after pilot, after pilot and they all failed, he did a million pilots and then he finally hit that’s what they thought was going to happen for me.
So they advised me when I got star Trek, turn it down and yeah, and I did, I turned it down and, The producer called me [00:38:00] and, Rick called me and said, look, I just want to tell you how we’re doing this show. And he described the costumes and the set and the writing and the writers. And it became something that I went.
You know, what if, if I lose that chance, it’s worth it because this is going to be Oh, incredible collaborative. Yeah. And it was, it was, it was high class. I don’t think people realized it outside. Of the studio or actually outside of our work environment, but, at the time, but it was, it, it was first rate.
Kenric: that’s awesome. Yeah, that’s one that’s. That’s wonderful. Now you you’ve gotten into some movies [00:39:00] there though in the mid to late two thousands and up to, just a few years ago, you did Ted too, and you’re in rising tide and the resident, which was a great movie.
Nana Visitor: have to tell you, you know, if Seth McFarland asked me to, you know, play Donald duck in long day’s journey and tonight I would do it
Nana Visitor: because I love him. He is.
Kenric: we’ve had quite a few people that worked with him on the show. Not one person has said that he’s difficult to work with or they’ve all have. For lack of a better way to put it Neil knelt at the church of Seth, because they love him. You know what I mean?
Nana Visitor: Yup. And, and that’s a fact, that’s the way he is. He is remarkable. And first of all, I hated that show family guy. I hated it. And my husband always loved [00:40:00] it and would watch it. And you know, I’d be like, please turn that off. And then of course, I ended up doing a whole bunch of characters on it and.
I remember one Christmas now I like Christmas innocence. I like Christmas lights and all those. I like it. Nice. Right. And so family guy was on, there was a Christmas episode and Santa comes in. I think he kills everybody, including the mother. And it’s just Isaac, please turn that off. And as the credits rolled, my husband said, Nana, you were the mother.
Okay. So that’s like Friday the 13th though. I’ve never seen it. I’ll do that stuff that I don’t want to watch it,
Kenric: I was going to ask you if you, if you were, if you liked horror, because you did the remake,
Nana Visitor: no,
Kenric: Pamela Vorhees for God’s sakes.
Nana Visitor: No, I don’t want to watch it, but I do love [00:41:00] doing it, but I’ll go back to Seth for a second and finish with. So I came in to do family guy, no idea. Didn’t like this show, but let’s see what happens.
I had no I’d seen it. I had no idea. He was every character practically, and it was a scene between all his characters in me and to watch him. Do that is like, I mean, I’ve never seen anyone do something that, complicated mentally. He he’s, he’s remarkable as, as just the, the artists, the thing that he does, then he is remarkable for treating people incredibly well.
Remember Andy Griffith, he is the anti Andy Griffith. He is the other, he is the tend to the one.
Kenric: good to know. There’s people like that out there. A million ways to die in the West is one of my favorite movies to watch.
John: So good.
Nana Visitor: Yes.
Kenric: it’s just so funny and just, you [00:42:00] know, irreverent and it’s just, you know, he makes fun of himself with the whole thing. And I, I love people that are affable.
You know, if, if you can’t tease yourself and be in on the joke, then I have a hard time getting along with people like that. But you could tell that he is just, Oh, I don’t know. I.
Nana Visitor: he’s so he’s so down to earth, which is incredible. And he gives the best Christmas party in the entire world that I’ve ever been to that I can ever imagine going to, Oh my God. I would come back to LA. If I moved to, you know, I don’t know. Sarasota. I don’t know why Sarasota Florida came up, but there it is.
If I moved to, Oh my God, I hope I’m
Kenric: be thinking about it.
Nana Visitor: No, I don’t. I never think of Sarah. but so if, if, if I had to fly in from anywhere from Siberia, that’s, that’s more dramatic and more truthful. If [00:43:00] I had to fly in from Siberia for this party, I would do it.
Kenric: That’s awesome. How do we get you on Orville? You should be on Orville. It seems like it’d be a perfect match.
Nana Visitor: I was hired to do something on Oroville and I was coming across country and my agent messed it up and didn’t tell me that I
Kenric: Oh, no.
Nana Visitor: Yep. And I was halfway across when we were coming across, my husband got a job in Santa Monica. We’d been living in New York and we went, Oh my God, our dogs are 14 and 15. They will never. Make an airplane trip and we have a parrot just to make it more frosty.
Kenric: it as difficult as possible on
Nana Visitor: Exactly. So, so we went well, we’ll, we’ll drive across country with the dogs to make it okay.
And the parents. So we were driving, sharing the load with the two elderly farting dogs and the parrot. And we [00:44:00] were halfway across when I got the call show who Monday beyond set. And it was like what? I had no idea that I had gotten
Kenric: Oh, no, they didn’t give you enough. Leeway.
Nana Visitor: So, no. So I went, I, I can’t, I can’t leave my husband in the middle of America with two elderly poodles and a parent.
So yeah. I didn’t get to
Kenric: Well, hopefully they’ll
Nana Visitor: sometime. Yeah,
Kenric: hopefully they’ll figure it out and get you back on. We’ll tell Tom Casa, Tina, that you want to be on there.
Nana Visitor: Yeah. Do that, do that for me, work at boys. Come on.
Kenric: You never know. So now you’ve been doing, some stop motion stuff over the internet using zoom, getting all this, getting some work done, basically using your closet. What is that been like?
Nana Visitor: Well, you know what? I had such a major freak out because I love doing voiceover and I love doing looping for jobs. I find it so [00:45:00] challenging and wonderful, but then I got this job to be a character in a. In a, in a game, in a computer game. And, they said, so you have good internet. And I was like, yeah. And I have a snowball, which is a good, you know, you know what that is, it’s
Kenric: mic. Yep.
Nana Visitor: Yeah. So they said, great, you’re set. You got it. Fabulous. Let’s go. And then, and then the next day they said, so we’re going to be sending a sound board over to the house. we’ll leave it in your yard so you can pick it up because of COVID all that
Kenric: Good luck with it.
Nana Visitor: be in there. Really? Yeah. And, and we’ll send you a video of how to set it up. Oh my God, I can do this stuff, but I can’t actually be my sound person too. So. I, I was, I was, is freaked out as can be, but figured out how [00:46:00] to put it all together. all these microphones, Mike and all this stuff, and they think God took over my computer so that they could run it. We did it. And, and we did it, in a, in a morning.
Yeah. It was like maybe four hours.
Kenric: Did it open up your eyes for some other possibilities a while? If
Nana Visitor: Oh, well, I think, I think that, yeah, I think that this is going to happen more and more that people are going to do these things remotely. If not from home, certainly, you know, people aren’t going to have to gather to do these things once we see we can do it. And certainly I know I can do it. It’s like, yeah, no problem.
It’s it’s it’s I think one of the guys was in France. One was in England. the engineer was here in LA, so yeah, that’s, that’s a lot of,
Kenric: that [00:47:00] incredible.
Nana Visitor: Yeah. And, and a lot of air travel that didn’t need to happen. A lot of pollution that didn’t need to happen. I think we have to figure this out and find our way towards this.
Kenric: You know, there’s, there’s a great career there. we had George Newbern on, he played. Oh, do you.
Nana Visitor: Oh my God. I love George. I’d
Kenric: were talking and we started geeking out because we do podcasts. So we have our sound boards, we have our microphones and he does all his own editing. He does everything at his house and then
Nana Visitor: Yeah,
Kenric: packages it all up. Sends it off and he does books and he does video games and he does.
And then he, you know, and then when he wants to, he gets he’s George Newbern. So he goes out there and gets a job acting when he wants to, you know,
Nana Visitor: is very enterprising. Always has been. He would make me laugh. We did a working girl together.
Kenric: Oh, cool. Oh, the Sandra Bullock. [00:48:00] Yeah. What was she, what was, what was that like?
Nana Visitor: She’s a gym.
Kenric: Is she really.
Nana Visitor: at a gym. Yes. Yes. What you see is what is true. There’s no difference between what you projects and the real Sandra Bullock. It’s it’s she’s a great woman. Really great. Yeah, she was great.
And it was like they were giving her shit because. She wasn’t doing a sitcom performance. What we could all see is she was doing a film performance. So, you know, she wasn’t doing all cutesy. She was doing true acting. So it was, it, it was. And uneven show it didn’t none of it worked. It was dated. I think what they were trying to do.
probably if we’d all gone with Sandra’s take it. Might’ve been more interesting. I don’t know, but I would be doubled over laughing at [00:49:00] George all the time.
Nana Visitor: Oh my God. He’s got such a silly, funny side. I love
Kenric: He was great. He was great on the podcast. I mean, that’s the nice thing about doing this is we get a chance to appear inside a little bit and get a personal side of you, as opposed to just seeing the. The the side of, on TV all the time, you know? So it’s nice to meet people and then get backed up, like what you just said about him, because he was such a nice guy on the show.
And, we talked for like an hour.
Nana Visitor: he’s great. He’s really great guy.
Kenric: Well, speaking of that, it’s been about an hour already. Can you believe it?
Nana Visitor: How do you like that?
Nana Visitor: hope I haven’t bored you
Kenric: Not at all. Are you kidding? I love talking with you. I hope we can get you to convince you to come on again.
Nana Visitor: I, you got it.
Kenric: Oh, that’d be awesome.
Nana Visitor: got it.
Kenric: Yeah. Well, we really appreciate you taking your time. We, I mean, we went through all the way from Broadway through TV to [00:50:00] movies, back to Broadway. I mean
Nana Visitor: I’m exhausted. I need a drink right
Kenric: I know I’m going to think.
I’m going to pour myself a gin and soda and call it tonight.
Nana Visitor: Good for you. Good for
Kenric: We really appreciate it. Thank you for so much for coming on.
Nana Visitor: My pleasure. It was really fun guys.