In Brief

'Star Trek' Actress Grace Lee Whitney Dies at 85

Grace Lee Whitney
Grace Lee Whitney, 1930-2015 (Image credit:

"Star Trek" actress Grace Lee Whitney — who played Janice Rand, yeoman to Captain Kirk — has died at age 85.  

According to the Associated Press, Whitney died peacefully in her home in Coarsegold, California, on May 1.

"Condolences to the family of Grace," her co-star, William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk, post on Twitter. "She was a constant shining smile over the years every time our paths crossed."

Whitney was written off the original series (1966-1967) after eight episodes — and a harrowing sexual assault by a studio executive, which she describes in the opening of her 1998 autobiography, "The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy." In the years that followed, Whitney struggled with alcoholism. Her son, Jonathan Dweck, told the Associated Press that his mother would rather be remembered as a survivor of addiction than be remembered for her role in "Star Trek."

"Over time, she became appreciative of her short time on 'Star Trek' because she developed meaningful relationships with the fans, Leonard Nimoy and other cast members," Dweck told the Associated Press. Whitney partially credited Spock actor Nimoy — who died in February at age 83 — with helping her reboot her acting career in the late 1970s.

Whitney returned to the big screen in her role as Rand. She starred in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture," "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock," "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" and "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country." She was also in the "Flashback" episode of the "Voyager" TV series.

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Megan Gannon Contributing Writer

Megan has been writing for Live Science and since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity on a Zero Gravity Corp. to follow students sparking weightless fires for science. Follow her on Twitter for her latest project.