Grace Lee Whitney, Yeoman Janice Rand on ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 85

Grace Lee Whitney Dead; Played Yeoman
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Actress Grace Lee Whitney, who was most well known for playing Yeoman Janice Rand on the original “Star Trek” series, died May 1 in Coarsegold, Calif. She was 85.

A recovering alcoholic, she helped many people with addiction problems through women’s prisons or the Salvation Army. Her family told NBC News that she would prefer to be remembered more as “a successful survivor of addiction” than for her “Star Trek” fame.

Her death was announced by StarTrek.com, which recounted that she was dropped from the show after the eight first episodes and turned to drugs and alcohol before getting treatment and regaining her career with help from Leonard Nimoy.

Whitney was cast as the personal assistant to William Shatner’s Captain Kirk in the first season of “Star Trek” in 1966. She told StarTrek.com about her character’s crush on Kirk, “It could not be consummated. It had to be love from afar, an unrequited love between the captain and me.”

She returned for the movie franchise starting with 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” with a promotion to chief petty officer, then in “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock,” “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” and she was finally promoted to lieutenant in 1991’s “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.”

Born Mary Ann Chase in Ann Arbor, Mich., she started out as a singer and dancer. She guest-starred on numerous other shows of the 1960s and ’70s including “77 Sunset Strip,” “Batman,” “Cannon” and “Hart to Hart.” In 1998, she joined George Takei, Walter Koenig and Majel Barrett for a guest appearance on “Diagnosis Murder.”

In later years she attended “Star Trek” conventions and wrote an autobiography, “The Longest Trek.”

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  1. STRTRKN says:

    So sad to lose the person who made our favorite characters come to life and give them personality, quirks, idiosyncrasies… GLW certainly left her mark on the Trek franchise, and I will remember her always. As Dr. McCoy once said, “He (She)’s not dead as long as you remember them. Thank you for your contribution!!!!

  2. JOE S HILL says:

    Great actress,and she will seriously be missed! but one of her early sci-fi parts,was on a 1964 episode of the ABC series,”THE OUTER LIMITS” called “Controlled Experiment”,which was directed by the series’
    creator and exec. producer Leslie Stevens. this particular episode was a departure from the show’s scary alien encounters,as Carroll O’Connor and “THE FUGITIVE” co-star Barry Morse,play Martians in human form,with a Time device,to study why people kill one another-and Grace Lee Whitney gave a somewhat amusing preformance,as the unsuspecting subject of the two Martians,and their thorough time
    experiment,,another quality episode of the this sci-fi series,as Ms Whitney was one of four STAR TREK
    actors who guest starred on this 1963-65 TV series. rest in peace,dear lady,,you’ll never be forgotten!

  3. dee says:

    And to think Lucille Ball signed off on Star Trek in the first place. It was as though all of the dominoes were right there, in order. I feel very sorry for Janice, though.
    But in thinking again, I guess it was the way it was supposed to go. I wonder how many lives she saved with her talks about addiction.
    RIP, Miss Grace.

    • T'omm J'Onzz says:

      i believe you’re misreading the situation and article. they wrote Janice Rand out because they wanted Kirk to be constantly having different affairs (the reason there are so many humanoid species in the galaxy? ha!) and apparently her being there, attracted to Kirk, interfered with that. it wasn’t because Grace Lee Whitney “wouldn’t put out” to someone else on the production.

  4. Mongoose says:

    R,I.P.

  5. She was also one of the band members in Some Like It Hot… RIP Grace Lee Whitney

    • Jefferson Richow says:

      What an excellent ‘catch, Mr. Held!’

      RIP, indeed. She was a lovely woman who probably played a role in ‘defining’ female sexuality for a lot young American boys who marveled at Star Trek, the early offering from Desilu Productions that defined sci-fi on television.

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