'Star Trek' actress Grace Lee Whitney dies at 85

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'Star Trek' Actress Grace Lee Whitney Dies at 85


LOS ANGELES (AP) - Grace Lee Whitney, who played Captain Kirk's assistant on the original "Star Trek" series, has died. She was 85.

Whitney died of natural causes Friday in her home in the Central California town of Coarsegold, about 50 miles north of Fresno, her son Jonathan Dweck said on Sunday.

Whitney played Yeoman Janice Rand in the first eight episodes before being written out of the series. In her 1998 autobiography "The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy," she wrote that her acting career largely came to an end and she became an alcoholic.

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'Star Trek' actress Grace Lee Whitney dies at 85
LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 12: Actress Grace Lee Whitney participates in the 11th Annual Official Star Trek Convention - day 4 held at the Rio Suites and Hotel on August 12, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
American actresses Grace Lee Whitney, as Yeoman Janice Rand, and Nichelle Nichols, as Lieutenant Uhura, at the controls of the Starship Enterprise in 'The Man Trap,' the premiere episode of 'Star Trek,' which aired on September 8, 1966. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
(L-R) DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Persis Khambatta, Walter Koenig, Grace Lee Whitney and James Doohan (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Grace Lee Whitney, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, Walter Koenig, George Takei and James Doohan (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 15: Grace Lee Whitney as Yeoman Janice Rand in and Robert Walker Jr. as Charlie Evans in the STAR TREK episode, 'Charlie X.' Season 1, episode, 2. Original air date September 15, 1966. Image is a screen grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
DeForest Kelley, center, who plays Dr. ''Bones'' McCoy in the Star Trek series and motion pictures, poses with Star Trek cast members, from left, Grace lee Whitney, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, and Walter Koenig after receiving a star in the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, Calif. on Dec. 18, 1991. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, file)
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and date Grace Lee Whitney attending 'USO Gala Honoring James Doolittle' on April 21, 1981 at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 15: Robert Walker Jr. as Charlie Evans Grace Lee Whitney as Yeoman Janice Rand in in the STAR TREK episode, 'Charlie X.' Season 1, episode, 2. Original air date September 15, 1966. Image is a screen grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
American actors (left to right) Lee Meriwether, as Lisa Carson, Grace Lee Whitney as Neila and Burt Ward as Robin, in 'Batman's Waterloo', an episode in the TV series 'Batman', 1967. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
American actress Grace Lee Whitney, circa 1967. She is best known for her role as Yeoman Janice Rand in the TV science fiction series 'Star Trek'. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 15: Robert Walker Jr. as Charlie Evans and Grace Lee Whitney as Yeoman Janice Rand in in the STAR TREK episode, 'Charlie X.' Season 1, episode, 2. Original air date September 15, 1966. Image is a screen grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
DECEMBER 7: Actors George Takei, James Doohan, Grace Lee Whitney, Nichelle Nichols, Stephen Collins, DeForest Kelley, Majel Barrett, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Persis Khambatta, Walter Koenig pose for a portrait during the filming of the movie 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture' which was released December 27, 1979 in the United States. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 15: Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, Nichelle Nichols as Lieutenant Uhura, Grace Lee Whitney as Yeoman Janice Rand inin the STAR TREK episode, 'Charlie X.' Season 1, episode, 2. Original air date September 15, 1966. Image is a screen grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - AUGUST 11: Actress Grace Lee Whitney, who played Janice Rand in the original 'Star Trek' television series and films, and actor Robert Walker Jr,. who played the character Charlie Evans in the original 'Star Trek' series, pose after speaking at the Star Trek convention at the Las Vegas Hilton August 11, 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Walter Koenig, George Takei, Grace Lee Whitney, Nichelle Nichols and James Doohan at the 7021 Hollywood Blvd in Hollywood, California (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)
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She wrote that she struggled with her addiction for many years before getting treatment and regaining her career with the help of Leonard Nimoy, who starred as Spock in the series.

She returned for the movie franchise, reprising her role in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture," ''Star Trek III: The Search for Spock," ''Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" and "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country."

Dweck said his mother would have liked to be remembered more as a successful survivor of addiction than for her "Star Trek" fame. She dedicated the last 35 years of her life helping people with addiction problems, some of whom she met at "Star Trek" conventions, he said.

"Over time, she became appreciative of her short time on 'Star Trek' because she developed meaningful relationships with the fans, Leonard Nimoy and other cast members," Dweck said.

Besides Jonathan, she was survived by her other son, Scott Dweck.

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