Grace Lee Whitney has died at 85.
The actress, who was best known for playing Yeoman Janice Rand on the original series of Star Trek, passed away at her home in Coarsegold, California on Friday, the official Star Trek website has announced. Grace first shot to fame when she was cast as Captain Kirk’s (William Shatner) personal assistant in the first series of the show, but was dropped from the sci-fi drama after just eight episodes leading her to turn to alcohol and drugs.
The actress went on to help other people with addiction problems, by visiting women’s prisons and working with the Salvation Army, with her family telling NBC she would have wanted to be remembered as ”a successful survivor of addiction” rather than her fame from the show.
After overcoming her addiction, she returned for the movie franchise with the help of Leonard Nimoy – who played Mr. Spock – and appeared in 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
Having started out as a singer and a dancer, Grace – whose real name was Mary Ann Chase – made regular appearances at Star Trek conventions around the world in her later years, and released her autobiography The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy in 1998.