Sunday, May 03, 2015

Yeoman Rand

Part of an interview with late Grace Lee Whitney, of Star Trek fame (as Yeoman Rand):


Whitney: Well, being written out of Star Trek kicked in the emotional trauma of having been told when I was seven years old that I was adopted and that my parents were not my parents. I said, “Well, who are they?” They said, “We don’t know who your father is. We know that your mother gave you up for adoption because your father would not marry her.” And so I had rejection from the time I was seven years old, when my adoptive mother sat me on her lap and told me I was adopted. She thought she was doing the right thing. Later, a shrink told me that she’d (actually) set me adrift. What happened from the age of seven up to getting written out of Star Trek, I was able to function. But then being rejected from Star Trek and being thrown out of the show, it set me off. Of course, that was my perception. That was how I looked at it. And my perception was not correct. I was written out because of the show, because of the character, not because of me. I started drinking heavily after that. I used to go for a lot of counseling, and the counselors tried to get me to differentiate between the character of Janice Rand and Grace Lee Whitney, and I could not do it. I could not not be Janice Rand. It was Grace Lee Whitney that got fired. Janice Rand was just the character. It was me they didn’t like. They threw me out. Blah, blah, blah.
And I just about killed myself over that reject. And when I would go on interviews, I would smell of alcohol. I was very Lindsay Lohan-ish, very Charlie Sheen. I was lost. I was lost and I began to bottom out. It took me about 10 years after getting written out to come to my senses when I bottomed out. And bottoming out means I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and I had to get help. What happened was that I was down on Skid Row, on 6th and Main in L.A., looking for my lower companions to get some kind of help, when I was 12-stepped down there by a man from the Midnight Mission named Clancy, who is a guru in the 12-step program. His sponsee helped me get to my first 12-step meeting where God absolutely delivered me. There was no question. I could not not drink. I was using a lot of drugs from Dr. Feelgood. A lot of actors used the amphetamines from Dr. Feelgood to stay skinny, to function. It’s just insidious. Once you get into the drinking and using, it’s almost impossible to get out without the grace of God, which is what I give my credit to. Leonard Nimoy (who is also a recovering alcoholic) was so moved that he (later) wrote the forward to my book. But that’s how I began my recovery and my trek back to the studio to make amends, to do everything I’ve had to do there.
You wrote your memoir, The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy, in 1998. What did you learn about yourself from putting pen to paper like that?
Whitney: I learned what my own part was in all of the pain I’d suffered as a child and growing up. What was my part in all of this rejection? What was my part in getting written out of Trek? What was my part in ending up at downtown 6th and Main? It was my total admission of my part in everything. It was totally amazing. It was the grace of God, and I was able to write about where I turned left when I should have turned right. This is what every sober alcoholic has to learn, or we repeat the addiction. And I have to tell you, I went to 46 conventions in that one year. People loved the book.  

No comments:

Post a Comment