DeForest Kelley from the fan who knew him best

One fan knew DeForest Kelley better than any other

DeForest Kelley will always be remembered as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy from Star Trek: The Original Series and the movies. Though his career spanned many decades and included parts in western films and television series including Bonanza and Gunsmoke, Star Trek fans will always associate him with the curmudgeonly doctor. But in real life, Kelley was far removed from the man who sparred with Mr. Spock and even challenged Captain Kirk from time to time. And no one knows that better than Kristine Smith.

Smith literally wrote the book on Kelley—DeForest Kelley—Up Close and Personal-A Harvest of Memories From the Fan Who Knew Him Best. What started out as a chance meeting in 1968 blossomed into a friendship with Kelley and his wife, Carolyn, that grew deeper and deeper until the day Kelley passed away in 1991.

Up Close and Personal is a raw, unfiltered look at the amazing relationship that happened between the couple and Smith. It includes the good, the bad, and the ugly, but it shows the real person who played Dr. McCoy and reveals the truth about how the actor felt about his fans and his life.

Kelley was a man of great spirit, a man who loved life, his wife, his roses, and his fans. He wrote poetry, enjoyed watching his turtle, Myrtle, meander around the backyard, and spent time with friends. And he attended as many conventions as he could, signed autographs, and never hesitated to share a smile.

DeForest Kelley and Kristine Smith. Image courtesy Kristine Smith

DeForest Kelley lived a life full of love

Kelley and his wife didn’t have children of their own, but they developed a parental-type of relationship with Smith, one that would evolve into a caretaker role when Carolyn broke her femur and Kelly was diagnosed with cancer. The moments of love shared between them all became that much more important.

Smith took care of the Kelleys’ house, Myrtle, their roses, and all of the necessities of life that don’t seem that important when you’re facing mortality. But Kelley insisted that nothing be overlooked, not even the carpets in the closets. And Smith did it all without complaint…out of love. Was there through thick and then. Through the moments when it looked like Kelley was rebounding and the dagger-in-the-heart moment when hope was dashed.

DeForest Kelley and Kristine Smith. Image courtesy Kristine Smith

Up Close and Personal takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride with a lot of laughter, raucous humor, and love right up until the devastating end when DeForest Kelley drew his last breath. And while that end will bring tears, this isn’t a sad story. It’s a story of a couple who opened their hearts to a fan who returned the love tenfold.

Read it. You won’t regret it.