Juanin Clay, the woman who would have been Wilma

Here starts the bittersweet story of Juanin Clay. She was a beautiful and talented actress. She could have been Wilma Deering, but for an unfortunate (for her) twist of events. And that's not all.


I'd like to talk about her today. The images here are used for commentary and review purposes, in accordance with the "fair use" provisions of the Berne convention.

Juanin had a shot at the role of Wilma Deering in the 1970's Buck Rogers in the 25th Century TV series, but sadly, things did not work out. Erin Gray had successfully played Wilma in the theatrical Buck Rogers release, but it was uncertain if she would be able to reprise her role on TV. Juanin Clay was cast as her replacement, but ultimately Gray returned. This was a shame for Clay, since the role catapulted Erin Gray to stardom and scifi immortality.

Ms. Clay did return, in the "Vegas in Space" episode, however. She played an Earth Directorate major—one that was decidedly reminiscent of Wilma Deering. In fact, this role could have easily been played by Wilma, which suggests that the producers wrote Juanin into this role as a favor, or perhaps a consolation prize.

So how did she do? I liked both women in their respective roles, and they each had their charms. Frankly though, I think I would have liked Juanin a bit more. Erin Gray was a lovely and lithe woman, and she was renowned for her Diana Rigg-esque appeal. She definitely brought beauty and sex appeal to that role. However, I liked Juanin more, and not just because I have a preference for dark hair.



Why was Erin Gray selected? I don't know, of course. Perhaps the producers counted on her blonde beauty and statuesque, model-like figure to help gather a following. It seems to have worked; after all, she remains known to this day as the daring Earth Directorate colonel. However, I think that Juanin would have played the role more realistically. Erin Gray looked like a fashion model; indeed, she had previously worked in that capacity. However, Juanin looked like she was more physically fit, as befitted her role. And as far as figures go, she was clearly no slouch either.

Why else do I prefer Juanin? I'll say more about that shortly.

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Other interests:  elispot | natural sciences | pharmacology