Grace Lee Whitney An actress who appeared in only eight episodes of the original “Star Trek,” but made shocking allegations of sexual assault during her tenure, has passed away at 85.
Captain Kirk’s former love interest Yeoman Janice Rand passed away peacefully at her home in California, according to her son Jonathan Dweck’s account to the Associated Press.
“Grace Lee Whitney eventually came to appreciate the short time she spent on ‘Star Trek’ because of the meaningful connections she formed with fans, Leonard Nimoy, and other cast members,” Dweck noted.
In 1998, Whitney expressed her excitement for the show when it aired its first episode. Born Mary Ann Chase in Ann Arbor, Mich. in 1930 as reported by NBC, Grace Lee Whitney had grown up with adoptive parents and was in the middle of a divorce when she landed a part on “Higher Power,” as she affectionately called it at that time.
“With Yeoman Janice Rand, I had my own character to explore and develop week after week,” she wrote in “The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy,” with Leonard Nimoy providing the foreword. “I was part of something wonderful and exciting called Star Trek.”
In 1966, Whitney participated in “The Enemy Within,” where she had to face off against Captain Kirk after a transporter malfunction split him into Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Wearing a red uniform with a short miniskirt and blonde hair styled into a beehive, Grace Lee Whitney battled against Evil Kirk’s unwanted affections. Kirk: “Don’t fight me, Janice!” Rand: “Call Mr. Spock!”
50 years later, Grace Lee Whitney made real-life allegations of sexual assault during her brief “Star Trek” career in her memoir. Whitney specifically named one TV executive she referred to only as “The Executive.”
“I tried to do what he asked of me, just so that it could be over with,” she wrote. “Deep down inside, I knew this meant the end for Star Trek; however, at that moment nothing else mattered – not my reputation, not my career, not even my role on Star Trek – everything that mattered was getting out alive from that room.”
In “The Longest Trek,” Whitney defied calls to identify herself as the executive. As a recovering alcoholic, she held herself “100 percent responsible” for placing herself in such an untenable situation.
“I have come to realize that once I take a drink, I no longer have control of what happens to me,” she wrote. “Most women should learn this lesson the hard way – there are predatory men out there.”
She stated: “This book is my story, not his
“I ran away from everything,” she wrote. “I hid from everything. The pain was so intense, I wanted to check it out. I wanted to die so badly that I tried drinking myself to death.”
Whitney continued her career on television and returned as Rand in the first “Star Trek” film, later reprising her role in some sequels and TV series. Grace Lee Whitney credits Nimoy as a major factor in helping kick-start her career.
“Leonard Nimoy was the one person who truly reached out to me after I was written off from ‘Star Trek,’ she wrote. “He understood exactly how much this hurt me.”
Whitney’s family wrote that Whitney would prefer to be remembered as an agent of healing rather than just another face on the bridge.
“Grace achieved 35 years of sobriety through the support of others, God, and Jesus,” her family said in a statement. They wanted her to be remembered as a “successful survivor of addiction,” they added.
“My condolences to the family of Grace,” he wrote. “She was a constant beacon of light throughout the years whenever our paths crossed.”