Monday, May 4, 2015

Grace Lee Whitney—In Memoriam

Grace Lee Whitney: 1930 – 2015

Grace Lee Whitney was more commonly known to fans as Yeoman Rand from the old Star Trek (though she became Lieutenant Rand for the movies and one episode of Star Trek: Voyager.) I strongly recommend her autobiography, The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy.

The cover shows them holding flashlights, since the prop department hadn’t issued them phasers yet. She covers other tidbits of insider information like that.

Even if you’re lukewarm about Star Trek, she has funny stories about Hollywood. She was an extra in Some Like it Hot, starring Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe. She describes what an airhead Marilyn Monroe was, sometimes opening a drawer for no reason during filming because she had hidden a page of the script there to read.

What she mainly wanted to be known for was how she survived addiction to alcohol and drugs. Her autobiography is brutally realistic about how she hit rock bottom as an addict. She actually reached the stage where she could not get drunk no matter how much she drank, and could not get sober when she stopped. Her friends in Alcoholics Anonymous warned her that was the final stage before death.

I’m glad she penned such an honest chronicle of her life, and I’m amazed she lived to age eighty-five.
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