It has been reported that one of the cast members of the original Star Trek has passed away, as Grace Lee Whitney has left this earth at the age of 85. Star Trek fans who remember Whitney as Yeoman Janice Rand in The Original Series and Voyager, remember her as a great addition to the cast. As other members of the first few movies have also previously left the Earth in their final voyage, Whitney will be also be a great edition to the heavens, though it is terribly sad for many that she is now gone.
Whitney once stated that Rand was supposed to be innocent, dedicated, and excellent in motives for wanting to be on the Enterprise, though she stated her character was not suppose to have any experience. She stated that her character, Rand, who often wielded a clipboard, was suppose to be portrayed as willing to learn how to be a secretary to the captain, which she had a crush on. She stated that the love her character had for the captain, however, was suppose to be unrequited. On screen Grace was a blue-eyed beauty who acted out scenes for many different Star Trek moments, but as she has passed away at the age of 85, it is being said that her life off screen was a glorious one.
Grace one stated in an interview that she was excitedly living with her kids and taking care of her grandchildren, stating that her family was sure to take care of her as she “moved through life to [her] home in heaven.” Grace believed that she would be blessing the heavens one day and now it appears that she will do just that. As she struggled much in her life, she also overcame many things for which she was proud. In her final years she spent her time carting around her grandchildren, line dancing, going to the gym, and just overall living her life.
Though Whitney was an alcoholic, struggling for many years of her life, she spent the final 35 years of her life helping others who were also struggling with alcohol. Her family credited her with helping thousands of people to successfully complete their 12-step addiction programs. In her lifetime she also graced Star Trek fans with her presence at conventions. Her autobiography was title, “The Longest Trek,” appropriately.
Through the course of her Star Trek career, Whitney’s character Janice Rand went from Yeoman to Lieutenant. She played Rand, on and off, in various Star Trek movies from the year 1966 to 1991. Sources state that Whitney closely identified with her character and found it easy to represent Rand. Though many fans of Star Trek are saddened by Whitney’s death and remember her as the character she played in the infamous movies, Whitney’s family has stated that she does not want to be remembered at her funeral as the characters she played in her movies, but rather as a survivor of addiction.
Besides Star Trek, Grace played in many other movies and even had appearances on popular shows, such as Bewitched, but she believed that her most important story is the one she overcame in real life. Though a cause of death has not been revealed, Grace was able to pass in her home, peacefully, at the age of 85, and though Star Trek fans and movie fans will remember her for her roles on film, those who she helped save from addiction, just by being there, will remember her the most. Grace passed away on May 1, surrounded by family and friends. Condolences to Whitney’s family; may she rest in peace.
Opinion by Crystal Boulware