(written from a Production point of view)
Grace Lee Whitney (born 1 April 1930; age 85) was featured on Star Trek as Yeoman Janice Rand under Captain James T. Kirk (TOS) and as communications officer under Captain Hikaru Sulu. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country). She was born Mary Ann Chase, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
A prolific actress in the 1950s and 1960s, Whitney debuted on the Broadway stage in "Top Banana" before going on to appear in the 1954 motion picture of the same name. She worked with Jeffrey Hunter in the film The Man from Galveston (1963). Whitney guested on several well-known television series including Bewitched, Batman, "Cimmaron Strip", "The Virginian", Mannix, and Gene Roddenberry's own Police Story, co-starring DeForest Kelley. She also appeared alongside her TOS co-star George Takei in a 1998 episode of Diagnosis: Murder.
Intended to appear in far more episodes than she ultimately did, Whitney's Yeoman Rand was often written out of episodes due to the actress' struggle with alcohol, weight, and drug issues. In her autobiography, The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy, Whitney describes two incidents in which she was sexually assaulted by members of the Star Trek production team, neither of whom is identified by name. Replaced by Dr. Helen Noel in "Dagger of the Mind", Whitney was ultimately fired, appearing only in the background of her final episode, "The Conscience of the King". According to Inside Star Trek, Whitney slid deeper into addiction after being fired from the show.
Whitney enjoyed appearing in the Star Trek films that involved her. She said of her casting in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, "It gave me a feeling as if I had turned back my life ten years." (The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 55)
Whitney began her recovery in the 1980s and has gone on to appear in many more Star Trek productions, most recently the 2007 fan film Star Trek: Of Gods and Men and the Star Trek: New Voyages episode "World Enough and Time" (2007), in which she appeared alongside George Takei, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, James Cawley, Jeffery Quinn, and John Carrigan. The episode was directed by Marc Scott Zicree, written by Zicree and Michael Reaves, and stunt coordinated by Leslie Hoffman. In her appearance in the 2009 British programme, Bring Back... Star Trek, Grace suggested that bosses wanted to sack a female character in order to allow Kirk to pursue more romantic story lines. From the three female leads, Grace theorized that Majel would never have been sacked due to her relationship with Gene Roddenberry and that Nichelle would not be fired due to her ethnicity.
Star Trek appearances
- Star Trek movies:
- VOY: "Flashback"