Grace Lee Whitney - The Year After Leaving TOS

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by AtoZ, Jun 8, 2013.

  1. AtoZ

    AtoZ Commander Red Shirt

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    Thank you for taking the time to provide us with this rare 1st hand insight and for the glimpse back to an event that holds happy memories.

    I have a friend who has for years worked closely with the comic cons and Star Trek conventions up here in Toronto. He also does all sorts of book signing events and sports memorabilia. He is an encyclopedia of insight into many we've watched on TOS/TNG/ENT and a host of other old iconic shows. He is able to gel well and quickly with many of the performers, having gained their trust given his role of security/chaperone, but unfortunately he does not recall having ever dealt with GLW.

    Your recollections of Grace are indeed grand. Its good to know that her kind spirit and humility resonate clearly with those she comes into contact with, and I find it refreshing that those (like yourself) that have met her find her to be down to earth, without all of the baggage one would expect from somebody who has touched a degree of fame and notoriety (not to mention all of her personal struggles).
     
  2. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Was just reading in New Scientist that editing software may soon be available so that you can scene select and create 'bespoke' episodes featuring your favourite characters. Won't be long before I can edit Rand into every episode mwa ha haa.
     
  3. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Forgive the thread bump, but I've been looking around for a discussion of this book. I read it recently, and am curious to know what other fans think of it.

    I found it quite sad in terms of what the studio "suits" did to her, and parts of the book are nauseatingly preachy.
     
  4. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I enjoyed her portrayal of Rand but I felt she had little to work with. The character itself was not a good one in my opinion. But this is no fault of Grace's, the problem was in the writing. I just don't think she was a compelling character.

    I am not really sure if the big 3 would have been Kirk/Spock/Rand but I do think both Grace and Deforest were thought of as larger supporting characters than Sulu, Uhura, and Chapel in the 1st season. There is obviously a lot of Kirk/Rand in season 1 which was dropped for more Kirk/other women.

    As for Grace being let go what I read was she was sexually assaulted by a paramount executive. No word on who this executive was. Clearly it was extremely hard to be a woman in the business back then.

    Anyways Grace was making the rounds in the unemployment lines when Deforest Kelley spotted her (even he had to pick up unemployment checks after Trek was over) and apparently told her fans were asking about her at conventions and so she started to attend and I guess came back into the Star Trek family.
     
  5. toonloon

    toonloon Captain Captain

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    There was a British TV show called "Bring Back Star Trek" in which Grace blamed her character getting written out on positive discrimination, or, as you say in America, affirmative action.

    If I'm honest, it made uncomfortable viewing for me.
     
  6. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    Huh? How would that have worked? She wasn't replaced by anyone. No one got her job. They eliminated the part all together.
     
  7. bbailey861

    bbailey861 Admiral Premium Member

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    It has been some time since I have picked GLW's book up off the shelf, but I recall enjoying the read. She went through a lot of ordeals and recalls many events that I had no idea about. It is gratifying to see that she has persevered and appears to be doing all right.
     
  8. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Does anyone know if Yeoman Rand was named after Shatner's first wife, Gloria Rand, or if that was just pure coincidence?
     
  9. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Coincidence. Similarly, Leonard McCoy and Leonard Nimoy - and Mark Lenard. Similarly, DeForest Kelley and Trek's research advisors, Kellum deForest Research and Rand Corporation. Similarly, Kirk means "church", and there was also Nurse Chapel.
     
  10. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    The recurring cast got smaller by one to save money. Grace thought that her primary competitor benefited from being African American.

    She could be partly right, in that the show might have found it awkward to eliminate its only black actor. But a much greater factor was the way Grace's minority competitor would strip naked and hide under the executive producer's desk to perform oral sex, and gush about how much she loved him. Little did Grace know, there was simply no way to compete with that.
     
  11. AtoZ

    AtoZ Commander Red Shirt

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    Agree
     
  12. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Nichols was only paid a fraction of Whitney's per episode salary (which was comparable to DeForest Kelley's), and only employed as a day player, not a regular. Whitney's release obviously didn't come down to any single issue, it I doubt it had much of anything to do with race.
     
  13. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    If Whitney was being paid like a lead, when the show clearly had no intention of letting her play a lead, and she didn't have the race thing going for her, and she was the only recurring actress not "sleeping" with GR, then how the hell did she last 13 episodes?

    Whitney's fate was probably sealed before they wrapped on her second episode.
     
  14. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Like all the regulars, she had a contract for X out of 13 episodes. In her case, at least 7 out of 13. At the end of that 13 episode production cycle, the studio could opt to renew the contract for another 13 episodes, or release the actor from the contract. In Whitney's case, she was released.

    The studio couldn't release the actor before then without eating their salary for that production cycle, which Star Trek clearly could not afford to do.
     
  15. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    She was intended to be a secondary lead like Kelley, which is why she had "Randcentric" episodes like Enemy With In, Charlie X and Miri. Whitney and Kelley get the same type of billing. When they let her go, her part went to one off characters like Helen Noel not Uhura. Whitney and Kelley get the same type of billing.
     
  16. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Yep, the original scripts for "Dagger of the Mind" and "The Galileo Seven" supposedly featured Rand rather than Noel and Mears. Whitney calls those episodes her "least favorite".
     
  17. mb22

    mb22 Commander Red Shirt

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    Whitney was still part of the cast when "Dagger of the Mind" was filmed. I guess they were rethinking her role even then.
     
  18. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Yep. They were definitely regretting putting her on the 13-week contract, and for playing the Kirk/Rand attraction too strong, too often, too early. Also, she was struggling with her addiction to diet pills and she wasn't very well.
     
  19. mb22

    mb22 Commander Red Shirt

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    I guess it was too late to rewrite the "Miri" script (Rand's last major episode and filmed right after "Dagger").
     
  20. Tulin

    Tulin Vice Admiral Admiral

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    COMPLETELY off topic but when I look at your photo, I just imagine you talk like Ed Wynn.