DeForest Kelley: A Harvest of Memories, My Life and Times with a Remarkable Gentleman Actor

My remarkable guest today is Kristine M. Smith, author of The Enduring Legacy of DeForest Kelley: Actor, Healer, Friend, and DeForest Kelley: A Harvest of Memories, My Life and Times with a Remarkable Gentleman Actor. And she writes a blog with a perfect name: Almost Famous by De’s Fault. How cool is that? Kristine talks about writing a personal memoir:

It’s funny. No one showed me how to write a personal memoir before I sat down to write one.  I hadn’t studied the genre, and although I had read numerous memoirs over the years, that hardly qualified (or qualifies) me as an expert in the field. So please accept everything I say with a grain of salt.  What success I’ve had with my memoir may have had as much to do with “luck” (a sad, secular substitution for what is actually “unrecognized divine intervention”!) as it did with anything else.

The memoir I wrote had a built-in niche audience: STAR TREK. 

The STAR TREK aspect of my story began in earnest on May 4, 1968 the day I met actor DeForest Kelley, who portrayed Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy on the original series.   I was so impressed with his graciousness and appreciation for his fans that I went home and wrote an article about meeting him for my creative writing class.  My teacher thought it was so good that he insisted I should send it to Mr. Kelley for him to read and enjoy.  Oh, boy, that was nerve-wracking!  I wasn’t in the habit of writing to TV stars.

When De and his wife Carolyn read it, they, too, thought it was exceptional and forwarded it to a New York publisher with a suggestion that it might make a good piece for their magazine, TV STAR PARADE. When the publisher agreed, De wrote me a letter letting me know I was about to become a published author.

My parents had to peel me off the ceiling for a week.

Over the course of the next thirty years, the Kelleys and I established an on-again, off-again correspondence, and I continued to flail away at my typewriter, since the Kelleys and the publisher had convinced me that I did, indeed, know how to string words together to good effect.

I kept notebook journals, of course.  (Doesn’t every writer? If you don’t, start now. The reason will become clear momentarily.) As I accrued experiences with the Kelleys, every detail of our interactions went into scores of notebooks. Over time, I segued from a giddy fan to a point where the Kelleys began to encourage me to move to Hollywood and find a place in the entertainment industry where I might be able to utilize my writing skills in a major (lucrative) way. 

They helped me get my foot in the door in the entertainment industry, helped me find a landlord who would allow me to keep my hand-raised serval “son” (a knee-high African wildcat) in the backyard of the house I rented, and continued to encourage me in every way, all without any thought of paybacks or rewards.  (It took me a while to realize that they truly were as benevolent as they seemed. I don’t trust very easily, especially when it comes to denizens of Hollywood!)

Toward the end of De’s life, I became his personal assistant and caregiver. He was already hospitalized and would never again leave the hospital except for brief forays to visit his bank, doctors and home. Mrs. Kelley, his usual helpmate, was already hospitalized with a broken leg. 

All of this, too, went into my journals, sometimes only in “talking points” because I was so exhausted (after fourteen and sixteen hour days near the end) from the stress and busy-ness of being their almost-constant companion, helper and confidant.  My hours were my choice, not a demand of theirs.  It was my way of paying them back in some small way for the thirty-plus years of devotion and encouragement they had extended to me.

A few weeks before De passed away, he gave me permission to write his biography, or a memoir, or anything else I wanted to do with the story of our association.  I handed off the biography to Terry Lee Rioux, a tried-and-true historian (now a history professor at Lamar University) whom I had met at a STAR TREK convention several years earlier, because I’m an anecdotal writer, not a researcher or interviewer.

After De passed away, I served Carolyn for another eight months.  I pondered writing a book, but figured I probably didn’t have much of significance to say except for how wonderful they were and how much I loved them. End of story. (?)

Then Terry Rioux came to Hollywood to do research at various regional motion picture libraries in preparation for writing De’s biography and to interview De’s co-stars, producers, writers, friends – and me.  At one point she asked me, “How did you go from being a fan on the outermost regions of fandom to being at his bedside when he died?”

I was speechless.  I had no answer.  

I finally responded, “That’s something De would have to answer. I have no idea how that happened.”  Terry insisted, carefully and pointedly, “You know the answer.  Just connect the dots.  I need to know the answer – and so do you.”

Wow. What an assignment!

Then she said, “I think you somehow became the daughter they never had.”

I started bawling, right there in the restaurant. “Oh, no! Don’t say that!  If that’s true, I didn’t do enough for them.

Terry said, “You did everything you could, everything they would allow you to do for them.”

That was true . . .

Then I remembered the journals – six large plastic bins, sitting out in the garage, crammed with my journals, with the entire adventure, from beginning to end!!!

I dug them all out, laid them out in order, and began the journey anew, connecting the dots, following the crumbs. There were hundreds of small details I had completely forgotten about.  It was like discovering a gold mine!

I watched as a cordial first meeting morphed into an association, then built to become a familiar, comfortable relationship. Then I watched as the relationship swelled into agape love, trust, and mutual support.

That’s when I knew I had to write the memoir, and that’s when I knew I could write it, that I had enough material for it. 

Had Terry not asked me the one question about the Kelleys that I could not answer without researching and writing a book, I never would have written it – would never have remembered all those journals tucked away in the garage!

So I became my own historian.  I became a memoir writer.  It took three solid months of 12-14 hour days, six days a week.  It took lots of guts to go over the last months again and put them down in a way that would inform without half killing the reader.

But it resurrected the man, and – in conjunction with Terry’s bio – it has extended his legacy far beyond what fans would otherwise be able to learn about him.

So, to me, writing a memoir is all about diving into journals we’ve written and culling from them the nuggets that resurrect a place, a time, and the crucial people who helped mold us into what we have become, whether for good or for ill.

If you do the task well, the person or people you resurrect don’t have to be TV stars and the times you depict don’t have to be historical in nature.  All that needs to happen is that the reader connects, lives with you in your past for a time, and comes out changed in many of the same ways that your history has changed you. The reader “gets” you, your times and your loved ones (and others) in ways they never did before.  That’s the essence of a good memoir.

Kristine has agreed to answer questions and respond to comments, so feel free to leave a comment for Kristine. And don’t forget to check back later for her responses.

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47 Responses to “DeForest Kelley: A Harvest of Memories, My Life and Times with a Remarkable Gentleman Actor”

  1. otherlisa Says:

    Kristine, what a lovely article! And it is heartening to hear that someone I watched on TV for years and always enjoyed was as kind a person in real life as he seemed to be on television.

    Sometimes we don’t choose our families; they choose us.

  2. Laurie Foston Says:

    Kristine, I read your memoirs and I have to say that I shed some tears over it. Maybe that was not your intentions but to share the joy of the people whose lives were affected by DeForest Kelley was very moving.

    The man on the screen seemed no different than the one described in your memoirs.

    I don’t know if June Lowry cast him in that role or not but he has the gentle look of a healer. He never lost that on the screen, even when he picked at Spock. He brought outer space back down to Earth with his characterization of a country doctor on a spaceship.

    When I heard of his passing I felt a lump in my throat because of the personal bonds to Star Trek that he helped form among the fans. For lack of a better analogy I can only compare Deforest Kelley with the turpentine that lends itself a medium for the oil paint to adhere to the canvas. The show would not have been received as well without him. God bless you for your recognition and memoirs of a special man, and your labor of love.

  3. Rod Marsden Says:

    Kelley was one of my heroes growing up. I am glad he and his wife were well cared for going into old age. Still it is difficult to imagine him old. I would rather remember him as he was tearing through the galaxy annoying Spok (Nimoy) when given half the chance and making my laugh. Yes I did hear he was a real gentleman. I remain an Aussie Star trek fan!

  4. Cheryl Brooks Says:

    I loved everyone on Star Trek, but the way Bones and Spock picked on each other was always so much fun. I saw the new Star Trek movie a few nights ago, and thought that Karl Urban did a terrific job playing McCoy, but the original is always best. Thanks for sharing these memories with the rest of his fans.

  5. Susan Moore Says:

    Kristine,

    I along with millions of others grew up taking those journeys into the unknown with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. To see inside and be a part of Kelley’s life must of been a true blessing in the journey through the heart and soul that so many of us only caught on TV. He sounds like a remarkable human being and his absence in our world leaves a void that no one can fill. I look forward to meeting the man behind the character that I admired and enjoyed throughout my lifetime, and you so lovingly called a friend. Tell me where to find my copy of your remarkable story.

  6. Rie Sheridan Rose Says:

    Thanks for confirming everything I always knew about a man I never got the chance to meet. I always hoped to, but it wasn’t to be. I will be looking for your books, because I get the feeling, in some small way, it will be as if I did. What a wonderful gift to have been given. Thank you for sharing it with the world — that seems like a way to pass on the legacy.

  7. Brenda Lott Says:

    Great Post! I’m going to send to my nephew who went to see the new Star Trek movie last night. He’s a Trekie.

  8. GABixler Says:

    I loved the dry wit that Bones exhibited in the shows. Was he similar to his character in his own life?

    I have gotten to know Ruby Houldson-Moon from her similar experiences with Star Trek characters (that group with Bones). It seems that those individuals were a special group of actors that cared about their fans. Did you get to know any of the other stars?

    Thank you so much for sharing this blog today! I like to think that it is true that you were the daughter for them. Did you feel, after reviewing your journals and writing the book that, perhaps, this was exactly what you had become?

    Best,
    Glenda

  9. Roxanne Smolen Says:

    What a wonderful and emotional story. I would like to hear more on how you put the memoir together from your notes.

  10. Kristine M Smith Says:

    I’m not sure how this event interaction works, so I’ll see if I can answer the above comments this way…

    otherLisa: Yeah, sometimes the family members that God chooses for us after our birth become just as dear to us as the ones He chose for us before we were born. Mentors, teachers, friends… hold onto them all with both hands!

    Laurie: If you’ve just read the e-book, ENDURING LEGACY, you haven’t actually read the memoir yet! The memoir is DeFOREST KELLEY: A HARVEST OF MEMORIES. That’s a 244 page book. ENDURING LEGACY is a 61=page e-book and is largely written by other fans of De; I just formatted their essays into the book and wrote intros for each section. I’m glad you enjoyed the one you read! (Perhaps you have already read both and wer referring to both. If so, forgive me for trying to differentiate between the two!)

    GABixler: De’s wit was similar to McCoy’s but less caustic. Even his humor was wonderfully gentle, even when he was zinging someone. You could tell it was all delivered with immense love.

    I got to know Nichelle Nichols quite well, and I’m sure Grace Lee Whitney, Walter Koenig, Shatner and Takei would know me to see me (but might not remember “how” they know me until I mentioned De!).

    I met Nimoy just one, as a teenager, so doubt if he would recognize me (except as one of the speakers at De’s memorial service at Paramount)…

    I would like to believe that I became like a daughter to them. Terry thinks so. When/if you read HARVEST OF MEMORIES, you can decide that for yourself. In my heart-of-hearts, I certainly HOPE I became like a daughter to them, at least during the last few months of De’s life.

  11. Kristine M Smith Says:

    Roxane,

    It was just a matter of re-reading my journals and Kelley phone logs (thousands of pages, all told) and gleaning from them the anecdotes and stories that would resonate to other fans of the Kelleys. It was important to me to keep it rather like a personal journal, conversational, so that those who read the book would be able to feel they were there and living the story along with me. So it’s almost like a diary in spots. Actual conversations, activities, events.

    The first two thirds of the book is pretty much a laugh riot in many places; the last part deals with the hospital days but still includes a number of laugh-out-loud incidents.

  12. ~Sia McKye~ Says:

    Kristine, thank you for sharing, even in a small way here, the story of “De”. I love watching him as Bones and like Lisa, he was such a part of my growing up years.

    Trust is a funny thing, isn’t it? The Kelley’s, given their position in Hollywood, had reason to be cautious and so did you. I can understand the reticence in approaching famous people. For one, I don’t do the gushing fan thing and it sounds like you don’t either. But time proved that the trust given was justified and both you and the Kelley’s benefited from the friendship. How fortunate and rich all of you were for the friendship.

    I do like how you are honoring the relationship.

    I wish you the best with this. :-)

  13. Kristine M Smith Says:

    Sia,

    Thank you so much for the kind words.

    And as our favorite Vucan would say, “Live Long and Prosper” — (Jeremiah 29:11 New Vulcan Tanslation!) :)

  14. A. F. Stewart Says:

    Such a lovely article. I loved the recollections and the recounting of your writer’s journey.

  15. KristineMSmith Says:

    A.F.,

    Thanks so much. As Mark Twain said, I can live for a week on a compliment!

  16. Ian Says:

    Hey all.

    My name is Ian,

    I speak to Kris now and then, and happened to do a radio interview with her on Sunday.

    During the interview Kris shared some of her memories of DeForest Kelley, and we all generally had a good time.

    If you’d like to check the audio interview out you can listen to it at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/scifipulse

    Also, if you are a general fan of science fiction and fantasy TV, Movies, Comics and Games then check out the main site at http://scifipulse.net

  17. Kristine M Smith Says:

    For Susan Moore and anyone else wanting to know where to get copies of the books:

    Simply return to the beginning of this page, where Pat Bertram introduces me and mentions my books, then click on whichever of the two titles you want to get, A HARVEST OF MEMORIES (the memoir) or ENDURING LEGACY (fan essays intoduced by me for each section).

    Simple as that, thanks again to Pat! And Pat linked to the best site to get HARVEST OF MEMORIES at a discount, too — below Amazon’s prices — so you can get the hardbound for what the soft cover would cost you at Amazon! Just a heads up: many readers who get the softcover end up getting the hardbound later, too, so you may want to get the hardcover if you plan to share it with Trek friends and want it to stay in good shape!)

    The e-book version of HARVEST has all of the inside pix in living COLOR (De and my serval and me at Shambala, De and Carolyn, etc.) and you can do searches in it… so it may be worth the extra $4.95 to you to get that one as well.

  18. Kristine M Smith Says:

    Thank you, Brenda Lott and Others! Please do feel free to forward this Facebook event and/or info about my books to anyone else you know who might be interested. It’s hard to tell who’s a TREK/DE fan just by looking at them. There are many millions of “us” out there. Any help you can offer in getting the word out about the books is very much appreciated!

  19. LM Says:

    Just lovely, thank you so much!

  20. LisaHamner Says:

    Hi Kris,
    This was a lovely article. I enjoyed reading about your writer’s journey. I still am amazed at your memory! I think if it would have been me trying to write a memoir, it all would have been one giant blur to me.

    I commend you for your dilligent journal keeping and research of phone logs. Reading the book, I feel as if I am right there with you, experiencing things as you are. I have recomended “Harvest” to anybody I know and also the new e-book: “The Continuing Legacy”. I can just imagine that the process of writing of “Harvest of Memories” must have been an gutwrenching emotional time; many tears shed and many laughs while writing it.

    Gosh, you know, I always have questions to ask you about De, but I often forget them or are too chicken to ask. Sometimes they’re silly ones. What kind of a driver was he? Slow or fast? Did Carolyn tell him how to drive like many wives do? :) I’ve only met him in person once and he had such a soft voice, with these deep undertones, much different to McCoy. It threw me, as a kid! What were his favorite foods? What music did De like to listen to? I know ‘Twilight time’ was their theme song, but what other songs did they like? What was a typical weekend like for him? Did they socialize often? Did De do things like the dishes or laundry? :) Or did he mostly do the yardwork? See? These are silly questions but I think about stuff like this.

    You are the daughter that they never had, it is often tempting for you to wonder “why?”. I believe it was just meant to be. They were a very perceptive couple, they knew a good’un when they saw it. I know they were very private and they must of really loved you to allow you in. They saw something in you that was special. You were closer to them than many of us are to our own parents. That is a blessing and it was meant to be. I am glad of it because you are keeping their memory alive.
    You are a wonderful lady, Kris
    Lisa Hamner

  21. Kristine M Smith Says:

    Wow, Lisa! Thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot to me. I will treasure them.

    Now, let’s take your questions in order. (And by the way, there are no silly questions — other than “boxers or briefs?” LOL)

    What kind of a driver was he?

    He was a speed limit man on the rare occasions when he drove. Carolyn did most of the driving until they got much older. She was the only lead foot in the family, from what I learned (from her).

    Did Carolyn tell him how to drive like many wives do?

    Yes.

    What were his favorite foods?

    By the time I knew him and Carolyn well enough to become familiar with their eating habits, they were into a lot of frozen foods and his appetite was crummy because he was sickly. I can’t recall their favorite brand right now. If it comes to me, I’ll email you and let you know. When we went to dinner in Denver in 1988, I think De had steak or salmon and Carolyn had pasta. At Hamburger Hamlet (following the Shambala visit) we had steak and eggs.

    What music did De like to listen to?

    Big Band era songs. The Kelleys had their radio cued to Big Band era music on their Bose radio (a gift from a friend). They loved it because the Big Band era was the era in which they met, courted, and fell in love.

    I know ‘Twilight Time’ was their theme song, but what other songs did they like?

    Sinatra, Martin, Peggy Lee, Satchmo, all the classic “regulars” from that era…

    What was a typical weekend like for him?

    Hanging around the house reading or going after flowers for the yard and gardens. Many weekends they flew off for TREK convention appearances, or drove to Long Beach to visit long-time friends.

    Did they socialize often?

    No. Very rarely. I think Carolyn had a bit of a social anxiety disorder. She prefered staying close to home, but always accompanied him to conventions and was very gracious and friendly to his fans.

    Did De do things like the dishes or laundry?

    Yes and yes. At least, by the time I knew them really well, he did. Carolyn had severe-and-worsening rheumatoid arthritis and was quite compromised physically, so De did a lot of the household tasks.

    They never owned a microwave, a dishwasher, or a computer. (They did own a washer and dryer, thank God!) And he dead-headed their many rose bushes and washed the windows until he go too sick to do it anymore, too. I took over from there, after they called me in to help them. (Carolyn, giggling, made me promise her not to tell anyone that De washed their windows while they were still alive! I think she thought it would “cheapen” his legacy if the truth got out that he was a devoted home-tender! He certainly had the time, thanks to STAR TREK; he was semi-retired the last fifteen or twenty years of his life.)

    He loved his home, and it showed. It is a real shame that the new owners of the Kelley property razed their beloved home and built something else in its place.

  22. Julietwaldron Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this link with us, Pat, so that we could all come and read about Kirstine’s remarkable journey as a writer and as a friend and helper to the Kelleys.

    I was a fan from ’65 on, and just loved the character of “Bones,” even though he picked on Spock–as if emotional arguments were going to change a Vulcan’s mind!

    Now that my husband and I are oldies, we often quote a speech made by “Doc,” the one where he speaks of 20th Century medicine which “cut and sewed people like garments.” His delivery of those lines struck us powerfully back when we were college kids, and has new meaning to both of us in our 60’s, especially since we’ve both survived a lot of cutting and sewing.

    I was sure that lovely Georgia accent of Mr. Kelley’s was the real deal. It’s wonderful to know that he was indeed a “scholar and a gentleman” in real life. Best wishes–

  23. Sheila Deeth Says:

    What a lovely article! I loved Star Trek, and it’s fantastic to read how it changed your life. What a wonderful relationship to be able to write about.

  24. Susan Hanniford Crowley Says:

    I am truly speechless by your amazing experience. Thank you for sharing it.

  25. Mary Jo Robinson Says:

    Kris,
    from what I am reading here, your book will be a real treat once it gets in my mailbox….
    I too have been a long time fan of De’s…. I did not discover the show until late in it’s run, because we were on Okinawa until 1968. Which I believe was the last season…still the show was a sci-fi fans delight once we discovered it on our return to the US. I loved De from the beginning, mostly because he represented what I wanted to become…a physician. And he seemed to care deeply for the people whom he worked with…
    I do have a question for Kris…as a physician I pretty much am not happy with all the bios that state De died of “stomach cancer”. The official cause of death was ileocecal carcinoid with metastasis….which is small bowel malignancy ….it is what pathologists call a neuroendocrine carcinoma. Patients tend to live with carcinoid much longer than with stomach carcinoma, but it can still be just a fatal once it metastasizes. I understand De was diagnosed in 1996 with the carcinoid, but didn’t he also have a history of prior intestinal surgeries?
    Also I am so glad to read he loved his yard….like him I love roses….can you tell me which variety of rose was his favorite? If you know?
    Thanx Kris….

  26. Pat Bertram Says:

    Thank you all for stopping by. Laurie Foston suggested I ask Kristine to be a guest, and I am delighted that she did. I was expecting a dry article about writing a memoir (or keeping notebooks, and was speechless when I read this story. Thank you, Kristine, for accepting my invitation. I wish you all the best.

  27. Elaine Charton Says:

    What a wonderful and truly moving story. It is so nice to know that the character we saw was not that much different in real life. You were blessed to know them and they were equally blessed to have you in thier lives.

  28. mary jo Robinson Says:

    Kris you don’t have to answer about the medical background…non-medical affairs should be the topic here….
    So tell us about De’s cars….He hated to buy new one’s???
    He sounds like he was not mechanically or electronically inclined….
    on another note…there is a video floating around the net that shows him dissing Shatner’s singing( not that Shatner could sing!!!!)and it is hilarious..?? Typical McCoy but I think it is also typical De. Any idea who taped that?
    MJ

  29. otherlisa Says:

    Oh, btw, I just saw the new Star Trek movie. Karl Urban did Deforest Kelley proud! He even wore a pinky ring. Quite a lovely tribute!

  30. Kristine M Smith Says:

    otherLisa:

    Yes, I noticed (the second time I saw it) that Karl wore a pinky ring. How cool is that? He knew that ring was special to De. (It was De’s mother’s.)

    Mary Jo:

    I believe one of De’s Long Beach folks taped him “dissing” (with love, humor and in McCoy fashion) Shatner’s “singing.” It looks like their (Long Beach) home in the background… but I’m not absoluely sure.

    De’s cars: He had a ’68 Thunderbird from ’67 until 1991 when it started giving them reliability problems, then he got a new Lexus, which he and Carolyn had until their deaths. I don’t think he hated car shopping. They were just frugal folks and “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” Plus, he loved that old ‘bird with a passion. He kept it in showroom quality every year he had it.

    Roses: He never mentioned his favorite types of roses. He had a bunch of different varieties in all different colors. He and Carolyn were quite the fans of Harry & David, so I think they perhaps got some roses from that (Oregon) company. But he also bought locally at farmers markets and nurseries.

    Medical maladies: De had one surgery prior to his terminal diagnosis in 1996 (1988, as I recall). It’s mentioned very briefly in my memoir, without further detail.) He had about a foot of his bowel removed at that time and reported it as a “collapsed colon.” (Symptoms: He was passing air instead of urine — painlessly — and thought it was quite odd, as it had never happened before. Carolyn insisted that he call a doctor and they had him come in immediately for surgery!) IF he received a dire diagnosis then, he never breathed a word of it, and Carolyn told me that when they were told (in 1996? In 1988? not sure) that “these things grow so slowly that he’ll probably die of old age before it gets him.” That’s what they were told — OR what they chose to tell me. (I was also caring for my mother from ’96-’98 — Mom had terminal brain cancer for two years and died just eight months before De did — and I know they kept De’s terminal diagnosis from me until they absolutely had to tell me because they felt I had enough on my plate.)

    Pat: I am so glad my article surprised and thrilled you, and that so many others have found it of value and significance. Thanks again, so much, for inviting me to participate. And thanks to Laurie for suggesting to Pat that I write something for this blog. It has been an honor and a real pleasure!

    I hope my story encourages others to keep journals religiously so that when they write a memoir they can gve it the detail and nuances that they would otherwise never remember to put into it. It makes all the difference!

  31. joylene Says:

    Wonderful post. I’m really looking forward to reading more. I’m also a big Star-Trekkie. Thanks, Kristine. I love learning new stuff.

  32. mary jo robinson Says:

    Kris,
    Wow..you really did have a lot on your plate…your mom and then De?
    I expect your book in the mail anytime…I will look forward to reading it! Thanx for being so nice to let us read about your story…and the journals comment is very valid…I regret not doing that as I try to write my own family history after the recent death of my mother.

  33. Laurie Foston Says:

    I found the introductory so heart-warming that I had to get the novel length book.

    I try to read a book a week but am having a hard time because I am editing on my own work right now and starting up a new project/venture.

    I find that reading the work of others and editing in a public forum helps hone my skills as a writer. I have two novels bookmarked, and one text. One of them is Pat’s (My sister stole it at one point) and the other is by Bonnie Toews.

    Silly me, I went to Star Trek Wiki TOS to see if your book is already externally linked (and it is) because the personal details are pertinent to the Star Trek Wiki editors for accuracy in that media. I had the chance to get to a ST Convention but there was a UFO Convention competing against ST in Eureka Springs, Arkansas at the time. (I liked writing about extraordinary topics) I decided to go for the UFO Convention as the occasion to attend a ST Convention would present itself more often than a UFO Convention. That turned out to be only half true, as life is too short, but the TOS actors were not at the ST Convention.

    Meanwhile, I’ll look forward to reading “The Harvest of Memories” closely to see if I can find something the Star Trek Wiki editors missed. I know I am going to enjoy it. Your book did a service for the Wiki community of editors in their quest to define ST TOS as well as to the memories of DeForest Kelley and his fans.

    My opinion is that the people who would feel honored to have the privilege to show some form of gratitude to any actor of that series must, should, and probably do feel comforted to know that there is someone who cared for this actor whose legacy lives on; and that she willingly shares, laboring on next to people seeking more details with which to keep the legacy alive.

    http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/DeForest_Kelley:_A_Harvest_of_Memories

  34. Linda J. Alexander Says:

    I may be the only person here who wasn’t a real Star Trek fan. Not that I didn’t like it but I just never got into it. I will say, though, I’m a great fan & admirer of those actors of yesterday who created characterizations that’ll forever live on. Actors who were known but may not have received the full-blown attention due for their great contribution to the public entertainment arena. DeForest Kelly is, in my mind, one of these people.

    And you, Ms. Smith, ARE an exceptional writer. One has to only go thru your notes here to be certain of that. What struck me most, though, is the gentleness of your writing. It has such a touching poignance. Considering your determination of that quality in the Kellys, I’m not surprised. Clearly, like attracts like, & your persona must have been a balm, & a draw, to this wonderful couple.

    As author of 5 books, including a Hollywood bio, & an unabashed researcher of what makes people tick–I now must put your memoir on my reading list. Doesn’t matter what I do or don’t know about Star Trek because you have intrigued me w/just your commentary here.

    I’m so glad I read this today!

  35. Adina Says:

    Wonderful article , full of insights .
    I would love one day to write a biographical book but right now the task seems Sisyphean .

  36. Christine Husom Says:

    Very touching words and some wonderful advice! How fortunate to have the experiences you did with the Kelleys and then to share them with the rest of the world is a real tribute. Thank you!

  37. Kristine M Smith Says:

    Linda,

    I think you’ll be cheered to read HARVST OF MEMORIES (the memoir) because there is very little in it that is TREK-related (except for a couple of fun-filled conventions and two historic Hollywood ceremonies as the crew of the Enterprise gets their handprints and signatures placed into cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theater and as De gets his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame). You won’t find yourself floundering at all, as you might during ENDURING LEGACY in a few spots where fans talk about individual episodes. Then again, their insightful. wonderful comments might entice you to take in the episodes they mention, and others, so that you can enjoy their insights as well as your own while you watch! You just never know what can happen when you enter the STAR TREK world. (That’s an understatement, coming from me!)

    Thanks so much, to all, for the kind words and comments. I’m so grateful to Pat and Laurie for giving me the opportunity to step outside the TREK box and interact with people from all walks of life, including so many other authors. It has been a real pleasure and I hope you’ll continue to follow along via my blog at http://almostfamousbydesfault.blogspot.com.

    Incidentally, STARR TALK WITH SONNY STARR ( a golden oldies radio and Internet program) will be running a ten-minute interview with me on May 31st at 9 p.m. Pacific Time. If you miss it then, it will always be available in Sonny’s archives, so if it interests you at all, catch it when you can.

    My email address is KRISTINEMSMITH@MSN.COM if you want to contact me or write your own essay about De’s inlfuence on your life for the next edition of ENDURING LEGACY. The deadline for the second edition is March 5, 2012. Each edition will be 3-5 years apart…

    Thanks again, everyone!

    Live Long and Prosper…

  38. Mark Says:

    Kristine,

    Not sure if you would be interested in this, but I’d rather it be bought by a person that admired Kelley and his work. Back in 1986 DeForest Kelley donated a signed copy of “The Big Bird’s Dream” to a celebrity auction in NY. I bought it! And I’m selling it now on eBay and letting deForest Kelley fans know about it. Auction ends 7/26/10 or you can buy it now.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/STAR-TREK-Big-Birds-Dream-DeForest-Kelley-SIGNED-1977-/230501274526?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35aaf2539e

  39. mary tim crowley Says:

    thank you for the tory of mr. kelley. he had a brother. did he have any children and is he or are they alive . o watched dtar trek in the early days and was delighted it was put on again lately on cbs reality and have found it on line too. but in all these times it was mr kelley whom i watched. i thought of him as good and since reaing your writings isee i was right . may he rest in peace. as i live in ireland and his name was kelley. was he of irish descent. i feel he was so brave to work for us even when he did not feel well. he had a talent that God gave him and used it to the full i am sure God said well done good and faithful servant now enter in to the home of my Father. od bless you

  40. Kritine M Smith Says:

    Hi Mary. Yes, De had a brother. Neither he or his brother are alive. His brother had two sons — Gene and Michael. Both live in Georgia last I heard. De wasn’T sure if he was of Irish or Scottish descent, but he figured Irish. Thanks for the questions. Visit my business website (http://kristinemsmith.biz) to find out where to get my most recent book about De, THE ENDURING LEGACY OF DeFOREST KELLEY: ACTOR, HEALER, FRIEND.

  41. margaret Says:

    Hello Kristine.

    What a gift you have!!

    I’m very sorry to hear that your mother passed away from brain cancer. I underwent a grueling 15 hour surgical procedure to remove a brain tumor. I have completely lost hearing inmy left ear and some facial nerve damage. Still, I am here, and grateful to God for my life. My question is this: Did De and Carolyn pray? Why did’nt they have any children?

    • Kritine M Smith Says:

      De and Carolyn both prayed, but not routinely. They didn’t have any children because Carolyn wasn’t able to. I heard from someone else (not her) that she had at least a partial hysterectomy before she met and married De. I have nothing to back up that specific claim, but I do know they both loved children… and children loved them! I know Carolyn had a lot of lower abdomen problems early on.

  42. Kritine M Smith Says:

    P.S. Margaret: You are in my prayers!!!

    • margaret Says:

      Kristine,

      I know my question about them praying is probably a little odd. I just was wondering how important that may have been to them because of De’s Southern Baptist upbringing. I don’t pray routinely either ;-)
      Thank you for your prayers. I’m doing well. AND REMEMBER… If you want to fill your heart up,you have to empty it out. The Kelley’s obviously understood this from what I have learned. THANK YOU for emptying your heart out by sharing your story. You can’t have a testimony without a test. You did good girl!

  43. Kritine M Smith Says:

    Thank you, Margaret. Much appreciated. Your comments make my heart smile!

    I don’t know if you’re interested, but I have an e-book out about De, too: The Enduring Legacy of DeForest Kelley: Actor, Healer, Friend. And a Christian title. And an upcoming bok about the serval I shared my life with for 17+ years. You can find out more about all this at my business and book website here: kristinemsmith.biz.

    • margaret Says:

      I will surely take time to visit your business website. In fact, I will do just that next week when I have some alone time in Maui next week. That will be sooooo nice. Wyoming is cold this spring. I need warmth and sun. Have a blessed week.

  44. Kritine M Smith Says:

    Tell me about it! We’re cold here in WA State too… Brrrr!


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