May 28 2024


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Laurel Goodwin: The Cage’s Yeoman Colt

3 min read

Had things worked out differently, Laurel Goodwin, Yeoman Colt in The Cage, would have remained part of the original series.

But Jeffrey Hunter decided not to do the series, and NBC went in a different direction, dropping several characters, including Number One, and Yeoman Colt.

Part of why Goodwin was hired for The Cage was her looks, specifically her legs. “One of the key things about this character,” said Goodwin, “that Gene Roddenberry said was, ‘We want Yeoman Colt to have great-looking legs.’ He said, ‘You appear to have nice-looking legs.’ So I opened up this portfolio. There was an old magazine called Pageant. I had done a big spread, and one of the shots was with me in black leotards, with the little micro-glasses, and a skunk on a leash and a book of Freud in the other hand. And oh, boy, does it make me look great. So I opened the thing, and Gene said, ‘Well, yes, they do look good. But, you know, photos.’ So he said, ‘You do look like you do have good-looking legs. Would you mind lifting your skirt a little bit?’ It didn’t bother me any. I was a model as a teenager. You dressed in the back with a sheet around you.”

“So I pulled my skirt up. Not immodestly. He said, ‘Well, yes, I guess we all have to agree that she does have good-looking legs.’ So I’m thinking, ‘Hmm. Well, okay.’ So now, I get the job.'”

Goodwin didn’t get a chance to show off those legs though. “Well, by the time they got this costume together, against my better judgment, I could have been knock-kneed and bowlegged,” she said. “They had me in baggy three-quarter trousers and ugly boots. I thought, ‘Well, I’m certainly glad that one of the key things was that you had good-looking legs.'”

The character of Colt was “playing the subservient role,” said Goodwin, “and kind of having a crush on the captain and not trying to allow it to be picked up on so I could avoid getting into trouble, because you didn’t do that in a military setting.” While it may not have been the best role for a woman, the actress “wanted to play it right because, just being an actress and getting a job, it wasn’t easy. The market was very, very tiny. Three networks. And they made a lot of pilots, but only a few ever got picked up. Star Trek was a bit different. It had a great philosophy. And I thought the timing was perfect, that it was time for a semi-adventure, philosophical, a little deeper than that science-fiction type thing, because everyone was getting a little tired of detectives and cowboys.”

Goodwin found being dropped from the show very painful for financial reasons. “It was very painful. Very painful,” she said. “I, at that period of time, was going through a divorce. Not a pleasant divorce. I ended up having to cough up half of my salary from doing Star Trek as part of the property settlement. California, and all that sort of stuff. So it cost me a pretty piece of change. It cost me half of what I made.” Working on the show would have “made an incredible difference…So, yeah, I was devastated. Devastated.”

Goodwin is the last living cast member from The Cage. “I’m the last man standing,” she said. “Yep. Yep, yep. I have to say, it’s really quite wonderful, particularly now, at my age, to know that in some small way the work is still there, still alive, that it’s not something everybody has forgotten about.”

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