April 1, 1930 – May 1, 2015
Grace Lee Whitney, who played Yeoman Janice Rand on Star Trek: The Original Series has passed away at 85. Whitney reportedly died on May 1 at her home in Coarsegold, California. Whitney played Yeoman Janice Rand in eight first-season episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series. She also appeared in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Search for Spock, The Voyage Home, and 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: My Tour of the Galaxy,” which was published in 1998.
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. In her early career, the actress started out as a singer, opening for stars including Billie Holliday and Buddy Rich. For many years, Whitney was a fixture at “Star Trek” conventions around the world.
In 2011, Whitney described her life as happy and sober grandmother living on a 30-acre property near Yosemite National Park. "[My son] Jonathan built a home down at the end of my property, where he lives with his family, including my grandchildren," Whitney said. "They’re going to take care of me as I move through life to my home in heaven. But right now I take my grandchildren to school and cart them around, and I’m of maximum service to them... I also line dance one night a week and I go to the gym three days a week. So, my life is happy, joyous, free, sober and saved, and a lot of fun, too. I have a lot of fun."
American Journal - on Star Trek's Grace Lee Whitney, 1993!