Grace Lee Whitney, 85, most famous for portraying Yeoman Janice Rand on the original series of “Star Trek,” died this weekend in the town of Coarsegold, California, her family confirmed. No cause of death was reported. Whitney, a recovering alcoholic, spent the last 35 years of her life helping others with addiction problems, often at women’s correctional facilities or the Salvation Army, her family said. They said she was credited with having helped thousands of people successfully complete 12-step addiction programs.
Whitney was born Mary Ann Chase in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1930, and was raised by an adoptive family. After several years as a dancer with big bands, she was cast as Janice Rand, a Star Fleet yeoman who was personal assistant to William Shatner’s Capt. James T. Kirk, in the first season of the original 1966-to-1969 run of “Star Trek.” When the series was reborn as a movie franchise in 1979, Whitney returned, now promoted to chief petty officer, in “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” She appeared again in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), with another promotion, as Lieutenant (JG) Janice Rand. Five years later, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the franchise, she returned to Star Trek in 1996 in the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Flashback” along with George Takei. She has filmed roles in two Internet Star Trek episodes: “Star Trek: New Voyages” and “Star Trek: Of Gods and Men” (reprising her role as Janice Rand in both). “New Voyages” premiered on August 24, 2007. “Of Gods and Men” made its debut in late 2007.
For other roles she was in the movies Top Banana (1954), Some Like It Hot (1959) and was credited as Tracey Phillips in the 1962 drama A Public Affair, and as Texas Rose in the western The Man from Galveston (1963) with Jeffrey Hunter. Billy Wilder then gave her the featured role of “Kiki the Cossack” in the 1963 film Irma la Douce with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon. In the 1960s and 1970s, Whitney sang with a number of orchestras and bands, including the Keith Williams Orchestra. Later, she concentrated on jazz/pop vocalizing while fronting for the band Star. In the 1970s, with her then-husband, Jack Dale, she wrote a number of Star Trek-related songs
Grace Lee Whitney (born Mary Ann Chase; April 1, 1930 – May 1, 2015)