Grace Lee Whitney was an American actress and singer, born in Michigan, US. She was a blue eyed and blonde beauty who sparkles like a star grabbing attention quickly. Traces of her appearance leaked into the theatres, televisions, films, music and writing. Her heavy footprints have revamped multitudes of life which otherwise would have been engulfed within the perils of substance abuse and addiction. In symphony with Winston Churchill’s words, Grace has proved that “All men make mistakes but only wise men learn from their mistakes.” She is different in the sense that her flaws were not only learnt by her but have disguised itself into a blessing for many.
Grace was born as Marry Anne Chase. Later, the Whitney family adopted and renamed her Grace Lee Whitney.
Grace started singing at the age of fourteen on Detroit’s WJR radio. She proceeded to then hit the stages of night clubs like Billie Holidays and Buddy Rich in her teens, her imprints slowly started scattering throughout the world when she begun touring with the Spike Jones and Fred Waring bands. After joining the Star Trek she formed a singing group called the “Star” and voiced out her singing at Star Trek conventions.
Lee Whitney stole the audiences with her starring as Janice Rand in the infamous science entertainment fiction ‘Star Trek’. This television show paved the way for Grace’s first appearance as a lead female character as early as 1966. It was this series featuring life at outer space and the adventures human beings were encountering. As the series continued, she popped up one fine day to announce her termination in the first half of the first season owing to some sexual assaults she faced within the team.
Apart from Star Trek, Whitney appeared in hundreds of TV shows starting with Cowboy G-Men in 1953 she made more than a hundred television appearances following her television debut in Cowboy G-Men in 1953 her acting career carried on with the episodes of The Real McCoys, Wagon Train, The Islanders, Hennesey, The Roaring 20s, Gunsmoke, Bat Masterson, The Rifleman, 77 Sunset Strip, Bewitched, Mike Hammer,Batman, The Untouchables, and Hawaiian Eye.
In the year 1960 she played in The Outer Limits and in 1964 she enacted a character similar to that of Marilyn Monroe. In 1998, she appeared in the episodes of Diagnosis of Murder which turned out to be a reunion with the Star Trek team.
Star trek then resurfaced Whitney in their film version of the series in the year 1970, considering the mounting pressure from her fan conventions. The films turned out at various phases of time and Whitney had to redo her presence in the years 1993 and 1995.
Following this she featured in other films such as Some like it Hot, House of Wax, Top Banana, The Naked and the dead, the pocket full of miracles and The Man from Galveston.
In theatre, Whitney managed to hit a jackpot by debuting on Broadway in Top Banana in which she played the role of Miss Holland. She then continued to cast in Hollywood where she recreated the same movie in 1954. Her appearance then colored the stages of the play The Threepenny Opera casting her in the character of Lucy Brown.
She authored her autobiography “The Longest Trek: My tour of the galaxy” where she recounts her experiences that made her struck between the claws of drug abuse and addiction. Following this she played a pivotal role in greening many lives shadowing them to depart from drug abuse.
Moving herself to California in the year 1993, Whitney pursued her fellowship work in Fresno and Madera Counties where she helped pulling out people from addiction. She dedicatedly immersed herself into this mighty act and admitted calling herself more as an addiction survivor than a Star Trek cast member.
Whitney mothered two sons Scott and Jonathan Dweck from her second spouse Sydney Steven Dweck. By late 2011, Whitney moved to a 30-acre property with a running creek choosing to care for her grandchildren.
With international day against drug abuse on June 26th, it is high time we begin remembering the shadows of Grace Whitney and her magical deeds in lieu of her demise on May 1st 2015.