Before turning heads on Silver Spoons, Erin Gray was kickin' alien ass as Col. Wilma Deering on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century from 1979-81. Here, the '80s sex symbol recalls her adventures on the campy space opera, arriving Nov. 16 on DVD.TV Guide Online: You were the hottest-lookin' lady on TV in the '80s.
The South Park
gentlemen [Trey Parker
and Matt Stone
] agree with you. They did a whole number on how no one was pretty as Col. Wilma. I owe them a thank-you for that.
TVGO: Who was hotter: Gil Gerard's Buck or Sam Jones' Flash Gordon?
Oh, god! I own a company, Heroes for Hire, booking celebrities on personal appearances, so you're asking me to comment on men I represent. But I have a soft spot in my heart for Gil. He truly gets me laughing, and humor wins out.
TVGO: Twiki the robot: Gay or not?
Oh, no way! He may've looked like a penis — how could you look at his head and not
think that? — but there was nothing gay about him. As Buck's sidekick, Twiki would have to appreciate what Buck appreciated. Buck definitely appreciated women.
TVGO: Did you snag any souvenirs before leaving the show?
I didn't take one thing! My wardrobe person suggested that I take the suits. I said "Burn them!" I didn't want anything to do with those suits ever again. [The uniform] was a vice-like girdle squeezing me from head to toe. God forbid I should have a hamburger for lunch! If you watch the original episodes, Wilma didn't sit very often — she couldn't. The suit was [made from] the original Spandex material that had no give to it.
TVGO: Did you realize that your uniform inspired a lot of teenage fantasies?
I found out later, when I started going to fan conventions. Twenty-five years later, fans tell me incredible stories — like one couple got married as Buck and Wilma. Each to his own! Women have come up to me and said I inspired them to become police officers or join the air force. I was a strong and sexy woman at the same time.
TVGO: Hey, weren't you in the running for Kate Mulgrew's Capt. Janeway role on Star Trek: Voyager?
I was one of the last women who auditioned, and I was very disappointed. I have always wanted that role. I never felt I played Col. Wilma Deering to her fullest. She withered, she died, and she lost her power by the second year of Buck Rogers
TVGO: What makes you say that?
Whatever power Col. Wilma had in the beginning was taken away. Her character was not supported in terms of action. Was she out in space? Was she still leading battles? Was she head of the Earth Directorate? Was she coming to Buck's rescue? I'm a tai chi teacher. There was one
episode where you see Wilma doing a little martial arts — then never again. What happened to that? Hel-lo! I looked at [Carrie Anne Moss
in] The Matrix
and went, "That's
who the colonel should have been." She was left behind so often.
TVGO: So the producers just wanted you as sexy set dressing?
They didn't get what the audience wanted to see. Men were turned on by the fact that I could kick butt! Her strength was never truly used, but I was grateful for the part.