Television / Screenwriter
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Writer Jimmy Diggs broke Lou Gossett Jr.'s Oscar. "When I first came to L.A., I shampooed carpets for a living," he recalls. "We shampooed Lou Gossett's carpet every week. One day, I was dusting the Oscar and the name plate popped off. I didn't know what to do. I was terrified. He had just won it, too." Displaying the kind of quick thinking and wit that has characterized his entire career, Jimmy then stuck Lou Gossett Jr.'s Oscar back together with chewing gum. But as Jimmy readily admits, his road to success was paved with many miles of shampooed carpets before he found himself a paid screenwriter with Star Trek: Voyager's Elogium under his belt and invitations to pitch to shows all over town. He has working as a security guard for Stu Segall Productions when someone suggested he give acting a try. Lured by the promise of free meals on the set, he began to work almost immediately in bit parts for both Renegade and Silk Stalkings. " I was perfectly happy working as an actor," he says. "By that time, almost all my income was coming from either extra work or driving the camera truck or working as a security guard. All my income was coming from the show. Then someone said " We were going on 'hiatus.' " I said, " 'Hiatus?' What's that?' I found out that that's when you starve for a few months." That's when Jimmy decided that he would give writing a try. While the producers at Renegade weren't , able to buy his story, they did like it enough to pass it along to colleagues at Star Trek: The Next Generation, where producers were impressed enough to offer him an internship on the show. "The people at Star Trek taught me everything I know," Jimmy says. "I owe a lot to Jeri Taylor and Brannon Braga". Elogium, an episode in which a swarm of space creatures mistake the ship for a mate, is actually based on an experience Jimmy had while returning from Vietnam. When his Navy ship's lights turned on at night, a swarm of colorful squid got "turned on," so to speak, and the world of science fiction began to seem a little closer to reality. When Voyager bought the script, Jimmy had one small request. He penned a letter to Jeri Taylor asking that someone in the story be named after a person very dear to his heart, young Samantha Wildman, a seven-year-old girl whose kidney saved his wife Linnette's life several years ago. And so the first person to give birth aboard the Federation starship Voyager was young Ensign Samantha Wildman. Because Samantha had also been an avid animal lover, Ensign Samantha was made the head of the xenobiology department. "I couldn't imagine the selflessness of people who, in the middle of their grief over the loss of their child, could think about someone else, could save someone else's life," he says. Jimmy says that in ancient times, the gods would immortalize heroes by placing them in the stars. "Samantha Wildman will live on," he says. "She's taken her plate in the stars."
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