June 22 2024

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Whitney Passes

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Grace Lee Whitney, Star Trek‘s Yeoman Rand, is dead at the age of eighty-five.

The actress passed away this weekend.

Born in Michigan in 1930 as Mary Ann Chase, Whitney was adopted by the Whitney family who renamed her Grace Elaine Whitney.

Whitney began her career at the age of fourteen as a “girl singer” on Detroit’s WJR radio station. She then sang in nightclubs in Chicago when she was older.

Her television career began in the 1950s, and Whitney had more than one hundred roles in shows over her career. Before Star Trek, she appeared on shows such as The Rifleman, Gunsmoke, The Untouchables, 77 Sunset Strip, The Outer Limits, and Wagon Train.

Whitney’s career continued after Trek, and she appeared in other shows such as Ironside, Police Story, Mannix, The Big Valley, The Virginian, Death Valley Days, and Hart to Hart.

Appearing in four of the original series Trek movies and one Star Trek: Voyager episode (Flashback), Whitney took on roles in Trek fan fiction, appearing in Star Trek: New Voyagers: Phase II, and Star Trek: Of Gods and Men.

In later years, Whitney was often seen at Star Trek conventions, where she was a fan favorite.

Whitney died peacefully at her home in California on Friday. She is survived by sons Jonathan and Scott.

Thanks to Eric Heim for the tip, and Larry Nemecek for the confirmation.

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18 thoughts on “Whitney Passes

  1. I’m sad to hear this. I enjoyed her work as Yeoman Rand. It’s a shame she didn’t have a bigger role in Star Trek back when the original series was still going.

  2. The Star Trek community is loosing many favorites this year. Sad to see them go, but happy that their memories will live on. My best to Whitney’s family.

  3. Wow, I had no idea she was older than Shatner and Nimoy. RIP.

  4. Loved seeing her on the small screen and the big. Very strong presence, even with the few lines or moments she was given. Wonderful actor who will be missed.

  5. Very sad to see this news. Grace had a rough life. She got such a raw deal in the early days of TOS that it’s easy to forget that she, along with Shatner and Nimoy, had been set up as one of the original stars of the show. If there were any justice in this world Rand would regularly be mentioned in the same breath as Scotty, Sulu and Uhura.

    I highly recommend her autobiography “The Longest Trek” for the full story of what she had to go through and how she came back from it. RIP Grace.

    No beach to walk on….

  6. Sorry to hear that. My condolences. She will probably be remembered as the most famous yeoman.

  7. All my childhood favorites passing away. It’s life, but still sad. And I had no idea she was that old. I thought she was down there with Nichols and Takei. I’m glad she now knows peace after the rough life she had. Thanks for the memories and RIP

  8. Sad news. I wish they would have paid her tribute by including in the reboot movies (and more than just a sentence for Majel Barrett), but they screwed up.

  9. Sorry to hear this; she was very nice to a friend of mine at a 70’s ST con; they were talking about her platform shoes which were decorated with Trek pictures. Nice lady. She wasn’t officially one of “the seven,” but I always considered her very important. RIP.

  10. But she was one of the seven; she was part of the core cast for the first half of season one, contracted for a certain number of episodes just like Kelley, Doohan and the rest. Had it not been for the circumstances that led to her firing, I’m certain she’d have remained with the series for the duration (though in that case we might never have gotten Chekov, since the producers would probably not have wanted the expense of yet another contract player).

    Grace’s contribution to Trek was crucial because she was a critical component of much of the front half of Season One, which for my money was the finest run of episodes the franchise ever produced. “The Enemy Within”, “Charlie X”, and “Miri” could not have been what they were without her. The insights into Kirk’s character brought to us in “The Naked Time” could not have happened without Rand as a catalyst. Fine moments, such as her drawing close to Kirk on the bridge as the Romulans’ weapon bore down in “Balance of Terror”, couldn’t have been done with anyone else.

    She deserved more.

  11. I view Rand and Chapel as part of the main TOS cast. It’s not Star Trek without them!

  12. I agree with your analysis; Chapel also deserves more attention. She’s (Rand, Whitney) unfortunately left out of that seven character/actor group — few Rand action figures, for example — in articles and photos. Yes, the fans know better how important she is.

  13. Mind recapping the details surrounding her getting fired? I’m just curious.

  14. Grace, by her account, was sexually assaulted by a man she identified only as “The Executive” following the Friday night wrap party for “Miri”. She was fired from the show the next day, and left with only that curious, silent walk-on in “The Conscience of the King” as a contractual fulfillment. She was gone before the first episode even aired. Termination from the show for which she had been so excited sent her into a spiral of drugs, alcohol and depression from which her career never really recovered. I believe her story, not least because the official account that “Kirk couldn’t be held down by one woman” never rang true to me.

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