Grace Lee Whitney played Yeoman Rand on the original Star Trek series. The producers hoped to interject some sexual tension into Captain Kirk's shipboard life. They wrote in the character, and hired Grace to play the part in a beehive hairdo that would've made the B-52's proud.

In reality, Grace had a very difficult life. Even while she was working on Star Trek, she was addicted to drugs and alcohol. She showed up on the set several times drunk and stoned. After the series ended, Grace spiraled down, eventually ending up becoming a prostitute.

Today, Grace is totally clean and a ball of energy. I had the pleasure of meeting her in Pasadena at a Star Trek convention. She is straightforward about her past, and she is a testament to the power of the human spirit. She's a great motivational speaker.

I asked her to sign a photo for a friend who was still going through the rehab process. She took the time to write a personal letter, two paragraphs long, encouraging my friend to stick with rehab. Grace is one classy woman.

Update: Grace Lee Whitney died on May 1, 2015 of natural causes, at her home in Coarsegold, California.

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