Brian Bonsall earned a place in entertainment history with his role as the impossibly cute Andy Keaton in the final few seasons of the classic sitcom Family Ties, but he also holds an important spot in Star Trek lore. Bonsall portrayed Worf's son, Alexander Rozhenko, in seven episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Bonsall quit acting in 1994 and eventually ended up in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. These days, however, he's healthy and happy, and performing music with his bands -- Lowjob and Bootjack & Bonz -- out in Colorado. He'll venture to Los Angeles in a few days to appear at The Hollywood Show, an autograph event that will be held April 8-10 at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel in Los Angeles; go to www.thehollywoodshow.com for details. In advance of his appearance, the amiable Bonsall chatted with StarTrek.com about his music, his memories of playing Alexander and more. Here's what he had to say:
Let's start with Star Trek. How did you land the role of Alexander and how aware were you of Star Trek in general at the time and specifically of The Next Generation?
From what I remember, I tried out with a lot of other kids, because I do have a strong memory of the casting office being very crowded. I had definitely seen the show a fair amount and the stage ended up being around the corner from the Family Ties stage, so there's a little fun fact.
The producers wanted Alexander to be a recurring character. How often were you expecting to play him?
I think at the time, all we knew was that it was recurring. I was very busy around that time with other roles, too, so I was always running around to different jobs.
Which of your seven episodes do you feel made the best use of the character and gave you the most meat on the bone to chew as an actor?
Worf always felt that Alexander's Klingon side had been neglected as a result of Alexander's upbringing. And, of course, the writers wrote to that. How did you go about making that element believable in your performances?
Did the makeup help you get into character? Was it a total pain in the butt? Or... both?
We also wanted to ask you specifically about "Firstborn." It was a full-on Klingon episode, with the Rite of Ascension. It was your final episode of the series, which must have been bittersweet. Please talk a bit about those aspects of the episode.
You'll be at the Hollywood Show this weekend. How do you enjoy meeting the fans, signing autographs, posing for photos?
Honestly, it's kind of new to me again after being away from that environment for so long. It was definitely super-neat to sign so much Star Trek memorabilia and to see the positive response from the fans. I even caught a glimpse of a couple of Family Ties tribute tattoos, and that was cool. I'd have to say I do enjoy it a lot.
Star TrekBlank CheckFamily Ties
Off-screen, you had some bumps in the road in the past. How far behind you is all that, and how are you doing now?
The Hollywood Show will be held April 8-10 at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel in Los Angeles; go to www.thehollywoodshow.com for details. Also, follow Bonsall on Twitter at @mrbrianbonsall, and check out his bands at facebook.com/lowjobmusic, facebook.com/bootjackbonzmusic and bootjackbonz.bandcamp.com.