Elinor Donahue remembers working on the original series episode Metamorphosis very clearly.
The actress took on the role of Federation Commissioner Nancy Hedford even though Donahue was basically retired from acting. “I was in one of my retired periods,” she said. “After The Andy Griffith Show, for all intents and purposes, I retired. I’d stepped back from the business, I guess I’d say, rather than completely retired. I wanted to have a private life, which I’d not had for a long, long time.”
But “Gene Roddenberry called me and told me that he had a new show called Star Trek and he asked me if I’d heard of it,” explained Donahue. “I told him, ‘No.’ He told me a little bit about it and he said, ‘I’d love for you to play a role on it. Would you be interested?’ I said, ‘Of course.’ So that was how it came about.”
The role of Hedford was fun for Donahue. “I’d never read anything quite like that and had never played that kind of role before,” she said. “That wasn’t what I was known for. I was known for kind of Happy Sam parts or the sweet lady next door, or whatever. But this was different. It was interesting in that respect.”
Donahue got along well with the cast and was even invited to a “Kirk, Spock and Doc” barbecue. “It was good,” said Donahue. “The food was good. They were always on a diet, I think. I was never a big eater, myself. They had someone, I don’t know who, do the cooking, and he’d cook liver or little bits of meat on a little hibachi. There’d be some vegetable, too, but it was all tiny little bites of food. And it was perfectly satisfying. Everybody would take their plate and sit down and eat, and nobody talked much. And that was the end of that.”
Who were Donahue’s favorite cast members? “I can tell you that DeForest Kelly was a sweetheart,” she said. “He was just the sweetest. I quite loved him. Glenn Corbett was also a sweetheart, very professional…My sense was that Glenn was the same way, kind of a quiet, private person. He was very loving. You can tell in a person’s eyes when they’re nice and loving. And he was a professional, knew his lines, did his work.”
Donahue will be attending the 50th Anniversary Las Vegas convention this summer.