Star Trek actor DeForest Kelley, who passed away in 1999, is finally going to space for real – thanks to the love of a very special Star Trek fan.
Kristine M. Smith of Tacoma was given a lock of the actor’s hair after he passed away. And when she heard that the ashes of fellow Star Trek alum were headed to space, she knew Kelley should take that ride alongside them.
And so Kelley joins castmates Nichelle Nichols (Uhura), and James Doohan (Scotty), along with Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, his wife Majel, and special effects wizard Douglas Trumbull in a trip to space – the final frontier.
You’re probably wondering how Smith came into possession of Dr. McCoy’s hair.
When Star Trek debuted on network television, Smith was in high-school, with all those high-school feelings. And she found a character she could relate to in one Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. She wrote him fan letters, and he replied. Ultimately, the correspondence would lead to a life-long friendship with Kelley and his wife, Caroyln.
Smith wrote about Kelley in her book, “DeForest Kelley: Up Close and Personal; A Harvest of Memories from the Fan That Knew Him Best.”
Smith was there when Kelley passed away, and his widow Carolyn wanted her to have a lock of his hair.
Now flash forward a couple of decades to when Smith heard that Celestis, an organization that specializes in “memorial space flights” was sending the ashes of Star Trek cast and crew members into space, she contacted the company, and gave them half of her lock of DeForest Kelley’s hair.
In a statement Smith said, “I donated the lock of hair so De could join his shipmates on their eternal journey into interstellar space. The mission just didn’t feel complete without Dr. McCoy aboard. I think De would have loved to ‘go hopping galaxies’ again with his cast and crew mates. So, ‘Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning!”
On their website, Celestis says that “the Enterprise Flight ™ will launch from planet Earth” before the end of the year, “and travel beyond the Earth-Moon system, beyond the James Webb telescope, and into interplanetary deep space – where it will join the other planets, moons, comets, and asteroids in our solar system on a never-ending journey through the cosmos.”
What a great final chapter in the story of the real life Dr. McCoy: DeForest Kelley.
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