Grace Lee Whitney has reportedly died
Grace Lee Whitney was an integral part of Star Trek.
While Yeoman Rand disappeared from the series, Whitney never disappeared from the fandom.
It was a complicated set of circumstances.
Rand was intended to be an unrequited love interest of Captain Kirk’s, and writers for the series included her in episodes they wrote before her exit (and where her parts had to be reassigned).
Was it because the show wanted Kirk to be unfettered?
Regardless, Whitney had a complicated life, and she overcame hurdles to later return for the Star Trek movies.
It’s important to note that she had almost two decades of screen credits before first appearing in Star Trek…and she had been a successful singer before that (reportedly working with Billie Holiday, Buddy Rich, and Spike Jones).
I actually first think of Yeoman Rand’s interactions not with Kirk, but with Charlie X. Her handling of the unwanted attentions of a super-powered adolescent had a ring of truth…it made me wonder (in later years) about parallels with her real life experiences. That’s not to suggest it wasn’t a strong acting performance: I thought it was, and the way that she has remained in fans’ thoughts show that others did, too.
Geek-friendly credits include:
- The Unexpected (TV series)
- House of Wax (in 3D with Vincent Price…as an uncredited Can Can dancer)
- The original The Outer Limits (Controlled Experiment…starring Carroll O’Connor and Barry Morse as Martians)
- Batman (the Adam West series, in a King Tut two-parter)
- Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (with Butch Patrick of The Munsters)
- The Next Step Beyond (TV series)
Good-bye, Grace Lee Whitney: you showed us that being a beautiful fantasy can be a harsh reality…but one that can be conquered with inner strength.
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