Another icon of science fiction has left this space-time continuum, on a journey to the unknown. Grace Lee Whitney, however, did not think of it this way; she had long since become a born again Christian. She died May 1 of natural causes at her home in Coarsegold, California.
Whitney was cast as Yeoman Janice Rand in eight episodes of Star Trek’s first season, having already assembled an impressive list of credits including the classic movies Irma La Douce and Some Like It Hot, and a stint on Broadway. The character Rand was a green, eager, yet professional right hand to Captain Kirk, with whom she was deeply (and unrequitedly) in love. When Whitney was let go, halfway through the first year, she reportedly explained to fans that the reason was, “more sex for the Captain.”
According to the very interesting official obituary on the Star Trek site, thereafter Whitney’s life turned darker, literally taking her to skid row for a time, before she found religion, rehab, and redemption, in part thanks to Leonard Nimoy. After getting sober she made regular appearances at Star Trek conventions, and appeared in two of the movies. In her final years she enjoyed a semi-rural lifestyle with family literally next door, line-dancing and hitting the gym three times a week.
Rest in peace, Grace Lee Whitney.