Grace Lee Whitney, best known to generations of Trekkies around the globe for her performance as Yeoman Janice Rand on the original NBC TV series Star Trek, died on May 1, 2015 in the small town of Coarsegold, California. She was 85. At press time, no cause of death has been released.
During Star Trek‘s first season in 1966, Whitney starred as Captain Kirk’s personal assistant, with her short skirt, intricate blonde beehive, and space-age clipboard in tow, before she was let go, but she did return for the motion pictures. While during its original run the TV show struggled somewhat in the ratings, its afterlife in syndication strengthened and the series soon become one of the most popular, iconic, and profitable programs in television history, a fever pitch of success and adoration which continues to this day. The success was a catalyst of the transition of bringing the franchise and the characters to the silver screen in 1979, and Whitney’s portrayal of Rand saw her promoted to Chief Petty Officer. She had become a lieutenant by the time she made her last appearance in a Star Trek film, in the sixth installment, The Undiscovered Country, released in 1991.