and star fighter
pilot of the Earth Directorate
in the year 2491; companion to Buck Rogers
throughout many 'epic
' adventures in the television
series and films, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century!
Played by the actress and model Erin Gray, Wilma's no-nonsense tough character actually gave many girls the inspiration to become pilots themselves, as well as providing sex appeal for the boys! In the first series Gray a natural brunette had to dye her hair blonde to fit the roll, something that gave her some consternation, as she worried about the long term damage it might do her hair. At this time she was still working as a model, and so as a compromise the studio came up with a hair style of blonde at the front and brown at the back. Also she thought the character to impersonal and cold, and the scenes that showed a softer side to Wilma were always edited out. During the second series, on board the space ship Searcher this character bias flipped the other way, seeing Wilma become much more superficial, and has been described as being little more than a stewardess who smiled and delivered her lines. Erin herself said :-
(Deering) "got a short skirt and lost all her power and strength."
This whole attitude is displayed in the 8th episode of the second series 'Shgoratchx!' The Searcher finds a derelict space ship with a crew of seven dwarfs, who have never seen a women before... They are put under the protection/custody of Wilma, but rapidly set about using their telekinetic powers to slowly pop all the fastenings on her little white space dress. As their cries of 'Off think! Off think' build to a crescendo, and Wilma gets all hot and flustered, Buck bursts just too soon and stops the seven dwarfs getting a glimpse of the 'bumps' they were so keen on...
Regardless of the problems with the role she had, the heroine that was (or maybe will be in the 25th century) Wilma Deering has inspired people and is warmly remembered. She also still seems to be making public appearances at SciFi cons, so you could still get to meet your hero! Lastly, another quote from Erin :-
"It's amazing the continued love for Buck Rogers, there seems to be a wonderful ability for the show to cross-over into different age groups; the whole family could sit down and enjoy it."