of publishing: 1st November 2005
Bill Dow is an award winning actor and director (and occasional
writer) in theatre, film, and television, with scores of credits
over a long and varied career. Currently appearing in two
hit television series, Bill Dow is a versatile and sought
after performer. As Dr. Lee on STARGATE
SG-1 he is the passionate, though sometimes
slightly befuddled man of science who does his best to assist
the warriors of Stargate Command; while on Da
Vinci's Inquest, the award winning Canadian
Drama, he plays Russ Hathaway, the mayor of Vancouver. These
are just the latest in a long line of characters created for
television series that range from sci-fi (Charles (Chuck)
Burks, Agent Mulder's old college chum who dabbles in science
and the occult on the X-Files),
to prime time drama (Mr. Parkman, the teacher on Pasadena),
to comedy (Bob Fraser, the owner and bartender of "The
Fraser Arms" on Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy). Bill
Dow has played many other guest star and recurring roles in
a variety of television series, MOW's, and feature films,
notably: Legends of the Fall, Mr. Magoo, Andre, and the recently-wrapped
In the theatre, Bill Dow has directed several award winning
productions for the Vancouver Playhouse (where he was Artistic
Associate for many years) including an innovative and moving
production of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men; he has performed
many lead roles, including David Mamet's Oleanna, and most
recently a Jessie award winning performance as Martin Dysart
in Peter Shaffer's Equus. His short film, The Alley, was nominated
for several awards and invited to the international short
film festival in Siena, Italy.
Bill Dow is completing his M.A. in Liberal Studies at Simon
Don't forget to visit his official website that I build for
This is the first part of a big
interview I made with him some months ago. The next part will
come later, check often the site to read the last part of
Gilles Nuytens: You already have
a long career behind you, in movies , TV shows, and theater,
and you have also been a director and a writer. Which aspect
of your career do you prefer and why?
I really love it all. I feel partiularly fortunate that I
can explore all these different avenues. Essentially I love
stories and story telling - directing, acting, writing, they
allow me to share that joy in so many ways. For instance,
acting is something you do collaboratively, you create with
the director and your fellow actors - it is a social and cooperative
experience. Directing starts with a more visionary, individual,
process and becomes collaborative with a wider group - designers,
writers, camera and lighting people. It requires great skills
of organization and communication. Writing is at some point
more solitary, but with a sense of trying to connect all of
humanity. I guess all of it - writing, acting, directing,
is about building connections.
Nuytens: Which character - movie,
TV or theater - made the biggest impression on you?
Bill Dow: Well, again, they all have a special place
and allow me to visit different areas of myself. I love playing
Dr. Lee - its just so much fun. I really enjoyed the last
play I did - I played Martin Dysart in "Equus" - and it had
a big effect on me. It is about a man who has found that the
passion has left his life, he is experiencing a very small
slice of what is available in the world - he has no reverence,
no worship, and no ecstacy. I found it very inspirational
to tell that story night after night, it was a real spur to
me to not become complacent.
Gilles Nuytens: You got a
recurring role in 2 sci-fi shows that have beaten longevity
records, i.e. X-Files and Stargate, and in both you play a
scientist. Which one impressed you most and in which one did
you enjoy playing the most?
Bill Dow: I loved doing the X-Files, David and Gillian
were always very suportive, we had a good time together -
lots of laughs. Of course, when that show was just becoming
popular there was a lot of excitement around it, because that
kind of success was new to everyone.
Coming onto Stargate was different because there was this
well-oiled machine clicking along. When I did that first episode
there was no indication that there was any future for Dr.
Lee. So it was very gratifying as the writers started to discover
what I could bring to the show. Also, my relationships with
the cast grew over time - I guess I only wish I had started
sooner so that Richard and I could have done more together
- we had a real blast together.
And now, of course, as Stargate re-imagines itself, there
is the kind of excitement that comes with creating something
new - and we don't really know yet what all the possibilities
are. I think that's always the best, that period where anything
can happen - you get a sense that its good, and that it is
still unfolding...the actual creation. I like that the best.
Gilles Nuytens: Looking back
at your long career how would you define it ? Can you give
us a few words about it?
Bill Dow: Well, I think that for me its all about telling
stories and communication. Trying to bring people together,
connect them by sharing a story. If we can build common ground
through shared experience, we have a better chance of being
able to tolerate and understand each other.
Gilles Nuytens: You acted
in many TV shows, is it a personal choice or just some opportunities
offered to you?
Bill Dow: I've been very lucky to be able to appear
in the wide variety of shows that I have. We're lucky here
in Vancouver that so many different projects choose to shoot
here. - I do choose, but I have a wide assortment to choose
out the site soon for more!
by Gilles Nuytens for The
Scifi World / Stargate
Ultimate / BillDow.net