Wednesday, May 6, 2015

R.I.P. Grace Lee Whitney.

Grace Lee Whitney, who played Yeoman Janice Rand for a mere eight of the earliest episodes of STAR TREK The Original Series in 1966 - yet made an impression with fans to last a lifetime, has passed away on May 01, 2015, at the age of 85.  

That impression would lead to Ms. Whitney reprising her role as Rand in various future incarnations of STAR TREK, including some of the later theatrical films and even a role on STAR TREK VOYAGER.  

Grace Lee Whitney continues her tour with Starfleet. 

Beyond STAR TREK, Grace Lee Whitney appeared in several other TV series of the era that wait faithfully on my DVD shelves, such as Darren McGavin's MIKE HAMMER, BAT MASTERSON, THE UNTOUCHABLES, THE OUTER LIMITS, WAGON TRAIN, BEWITCHED -- and, most notably, GUNSMOKE and BATMAN '66.  I hope to look up many of these in the coming days.  

It's not easy getting your arms around Victor Buono as King Tut!

She even had an uncredited role in the Vincent Price horror classic "House of Wax" (1953).   

And, on a strictly personal note, Grace Lee Whitney was one of my "Big Three", that also included Marta Kristen of LOST IN SPACE and Yvonne Craig of BATMAN '66, all of whom kept me watching syndicated reruns of those shows throughout my adolescence!  

Ms. Whitney's list of IMDB credits can be found HERE.  

Rest In Peace, Grace Lee Whitney, and thank you for memories that have lasted a lifetime!  


TC said...

The news came as a shock. Maybe partly because I probably imagined her to be 15-20 years younger than she really was. I think I assumed she was in her twenties when she played Yeoman Rand in the original series.

I also didn't realize until years later that she was in so few episodes, and then only in the first season. Maybe the frequent reruns made it seem like more. It says something about her charisma (and her beauty) that she made such a strong impression on fans with so few appearances, and, even then, playing a secondary character.

In his memoir, William Shatner mentioned her (successful) struggle against substance abuse, and he described her story as "heroic."

Joe Torcivia said...


I must agree with you that the frequency, and outright vagaries, of syndicated reruns can (no STAR TREK pun intended) “warp” one’s perceptions of character appearances and other unique aspects of an ongoing series.

I knew Janice Rand did not appear beyond the First Season – and did not even make it THROUGH that First Season – but only chronological episode guides and accurately reconstructed home video presentations can offer the true tale of how things played out.

Eight original episodes isn’t a lot, but it sure does seem like more.