Meeting the person behind Rand

“She was a sweetheart.” — George Hollo

Look at the photos from the convention and what stands out about Grace Lee Whitney is how gorgeous she was. Talk to people who were at the convention and what stands out is how personable she was. She made lasting impressions on a number of people.

Star Trek actor Grace Lee Whitney, in the convention green room, striking a pose in a long white dress.
Photo by Frank Goodman

“As a 13-year-old kid, the biggest draw was Grace Lee Whitney,” said George Hollo. “Wherever she was going — from the dealers’ room to where she signed autographs to where she would talk — I listened to whatever she was saying and then followed her back to the dealers’ room. The fact that she would smile and talk to me and remember me every time I came back was amazing. I must have gotten her autograph five or six times that weekend. 

“I actually met her in Texas before she passed away and we chatted about the Toronto convention, and she could not have been more gracious. She was a sweetheart.”

Photo from Mike Makkreel: “Grace Lee said ‘Ohh, you’re so cute. Come around here and sit on my lap.’ Wow, I was so shy. She hugged me and signed a photo for me.”

Amy Mark’s visit to Toronto with her friend Jacqueline Lichtenberg kicked off a decades-long friendship. “I met Grace Lee Whitney that weekend and we became friends. We went shopping and she bought me a perfume she was wearing, because I had fallen in love with it.”

A couple of years later, Mark flew west for a visit. “I went to California and she took me to Paramount before they announced the first Star Trek movie. She showed me the set. She said, ‘Do you think they would build this if they were not making a movie?’” 

The cover of Star Trek actor Grace Lee Whitney's book, The Longest Trek

She also told Mark that she had been involved with some of the cast during that first part of season one and about the sexual assault that took place in one of the studio buildings. But she did not relate any details beyond what she included in her book, The Longest Trek. “One of the reasons she was let go from the show was she wouldn’t play ball with someone higher up. She never said who, she never named names, but she said that’s why they let her go.”

Whitney also talked about that assault with Frank Goodman. He was the convention photographer and so he spent a fair bit of time with her. 

“One evening, she talked about what happened on the set. The person who supported her was Leonard Nimoy. I did not ask her who the guy was, and she did not say. 

“At the end, she wanted to give me a signed 8×10 and when she was finished writing it she was crying. I will always remember that.”

A lovely headshot of Star Trek actor Grace Lee Whitney, signed by the actor:
"To Frank, with love, Grace Lee Whitney"

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