Shari Nims’ Hollywood resume reveals just three credits, all of which date back 50 years: the Elvis Presley film Easy Come, Easy Go, the role of Sayana in “The Apple” episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, and an episode of The Wild Wild West. However, after that, Nims left the business. If you’re going to go three and out, you could do far worse than Trek, The Wild Wild West and an Elvis movie. Nims will be appearing this weekend at The Hollywood Show, an autograph event to be held at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel, and it provided the perfect opportunity for StarTrek.com to at long last chat with Nims about Trek, her brief acting career, and her life today…
First, what's life like for you these days? Married? Kids? Grandkids? Where do you live?
My life is great. I am not married and I share a home with my dog, Sonny, a Havanese. I have a daughter who is married with two children, 18 and 26, who are close by. We, along with my brother and his family, live in San Diego. My father and mother, who just passed away, at 92, were also close by.
You will be attending The Hollywood Show. How do you enjoy meeting the fans, answering their questions, posing for photos and signing autographs, and also reconnecting with your colleagues?
That will be my first convention in Hollywood. I am looking forward and excited to meet fans of Star Trek and go back in time. I have heard the fans are great and embracing. Sounds like a good experience. I will see, soon. If you are planning to come to the gala, come by and say hi.
Let's go back in time, nearly 50 years. What did you know about Star Trek at the time? And, how did you land your role as Sayana in "The Apple"?
I was a newbie with an agent who sent me out on interviews is how I got the part. I was not too familiar with Star Trek prior to my working on it, but it didn't take long before I was. I interviewed with the casting director of Star Trek, who I remember was really nice to me, and not long after was told I had been chosen for the part. Sayana and I were same generation. She also was young and naive/ignorant, and I could relate to her being introduced to a foreign way of life. She was also bold, with Makora, her partner in crime, in testing the forbidden waters, as is typical with most teenagers. So, no worries. It wasn't much of a stretch.
That outfit, hair and makeup, not to mention the flowers in your hair, gave you quite the exotic look. What do you remember of the costume and hair fittings, of each element?
I didn't like the makeup much. I didn't think my family would recognize me. The makeup was a surprise and not my "usual look," but I warmed up to it, except for having to leave the house at 3 a.m. for makeup call. The costume was O.K. because I was used to wearing bathing suits. So, I was comfortable. But I still wasn’t sure about the outfit I wore until I saw all the other aliens on set. Makora and I matched, so that was good. I liked the wig and flowers. I had an abundance of hair, a full mane, with flowers, which were in fashion at the time
What else do you recall about the experience?
Everyone on set seemed happy and ready to work. I don't remember many retakes, so the time seemed well spent. Some sets you are waiting for hours. I quickly realized why all the big stars had trailers.
How did you enjoy working with your Makora... David Soul?
David Soul had just moved from New York, as I recall, and was a trained actor. He was the first guy I was scripted to kiss. It was apparent he was serious about the part. He was professional and respectful. Had I not had a boyfriend at the time, we might have dated.
How satisfied were you with the finished episode?
It was several years before I saw the episode, as I was doing a play when “The Apple” aired. I remember it was difficult to watch without being overly critical. Today, I think it's sweet.
Now let's go back a little further, as many people don't know your story. Where are you from? How and why did you get into performing?
I was born in Santa Barbara, CA. My family moved to Riverside. Laguna Beach was where I went for summer fun. I met Ozzie Nelson, who had a home there, playing beach volleyball below his home. Mr. Nelson asked me to think about going to college in L.A. and working as an extra on his show. Several months later, he called and asked if I wanted to start work on the Ozzie & Harriet Show, which I did. I became a member of SEG and SAG, and from there became involved in commercials and other small projects. I did lots of plays at the Santa Monica Playhouse, and acting classes.
If our research is correct, you appeared with Elvis in Easy Come, Easy Go, in Star Trek, and then in an episode of The Wild Wild West. First, is that accurate? And, if so, why did you leave the business after those jobs?
Easy Come Easy Go was a first bit part. I spent a week on a boat on Catalina Island. Everyone got sea legs. Elvis was sweet, soft-spoken and very polite. He rowed me out in a dinghy to show me his compound. I didn't want to get out and meet his posse; not sure why. He was quite a bit older than I at that time and I was not star-struck. But he was sooo sweet. When we were in the boat, I had to lean in in order to hear him because he was so soft-spoken. I was so sad to learn of his struggles later on.
And, yes, I had a bit part on Wild Wild West. One of my first role. I played his "girlfriend." I have never seen nor remember the title of the episode. At that time, I didn't think of having pictures taken on set. I remember Bob (Conrad) being short and wearing heels... I think I was taller than him. He was very sweet as well and really cute, said I reminded him of his daughter. He had a boxing coach on set and was impressive. I liked the glamorous costume, and, as I remember, they gave me a trailer to use to change and hang out in. That was pretty neat, and the set was friendly and upbeat.
I left Hollywood because I was impatient and ignorant of the business, even though I had a commercial agent, acting agent and manager. It was not something I had ever aspired to do. Also... I got pregnant, married and moved to the beach and didn't look back until years later and realized the opportunity I had been given. I lived in the Hollywood Hills, working only for about three years. As I go through my "Hollywood" album, I realize I did a lot in such a short period of time and have wondered what life would be like had I had the burning desire, needed support, patience and guidance required for someone like myself.
If someone is only going to have three Hollywood credits, she or he could do a lot worse than an Elvis movie and Star Trek. What does it mean to you to be connected with not one, but two pop culture phenomena: Elvis and Star Trek?
I am extremely grateful and happy to be a part of Star Trek, as well as meeting Elvis and the other various actors, and for the opportunities and jobs I was given. Not to mention, it was the most money I had ever received for a day’s work. Had I known then what I know now.
Go to www.thehollwyoodshow.com for more information about The Hollywood Show.