Grace Lee Whitney Talks Trek At Book Signing

By Caillan
June 30, 2002 - 2:45 PM

Grace Lee Whitney (Janice Rand) shared her memories of Trek with fans during an appearance last week at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Fresno, California.

While promoting her book 'The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy', Whitney spoke of her Original Series experiences, including the on-set rivalries and her personal anguish at being let go after half a season, according to a report by TrekToday visitor 'Gelpack'.

The actress was originally cast in the pilot of Gene Roddenberry's Police Story. During test screenings, the audience was able to press buttons to indicate whether they liked the actor on screen, and Whitney scored highly - "the bells were ringing," she said. Although Police Story was not successful, it was then that Roddenberry earmarked her for Star Trek.

When the role of Yeoman Janice Rand was initially created, her relationship to Captain Kirk was likened to Kitty and Matt Dillon from the popular Gunsmoke series. Asked about William Shatner's (James T. Kirk) reputation for being egotistical, Whitney said he was under a lot of pressure because he was in almost every scene. She added that Shatner was very "possessive" of his lines, and often fought with Leonard Nimoy (Spock), although the two have become firm friends since.

Whitney's stint on Star Trek came to an end when she was fired after drinking too much the night before filming an episode. "I wanted to kill myself," she said, recalling her anguish at being forced to leave the series. This was compounded by the fact that it was difficult for her to watch another actress reciting the lines meant for her character.

The actress later returned to the Trek fold for four of the feature films, as well as the Voyager episode 'Flashback.' Whitney is still passionate about her association with the franchise - she owns over one hundred Trek shirts, and had to build an extra room to accommodate all her memorabilia including tricorders, phasers, and valuable caricatures of the Original Series crew.

When one fan mentioned they weren't too fond of Enterprise, Whitney said they should give it time, because "no one could really get into the first season" of The Next Generation either. Regarding the current state of the Trek franchise, the actress did say she was angry that "the powers that be are trying to take Roddenberry away from Trek because they make less money off Roddenberry created ideas."

Despite her past troubles, Whitney said she was happy with her life, and "glad that I'm a recovered alcoholic," because she has learned so much.

Several photos from the event can be found below - click for larger images:

'Grace Lee Whitney' book signing - Courtesy of 'Gelpack'
'Grace Lee Whitney' book signing - Courtesy of 'Gelpack'
'Grace Lee Whitney' book signing - Courtesy of 'Gelpack'
'Grace Lee Whitney' book signing - Courtesy of 'Gelpack'

Thanks to 'Gelpack' for this!

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