Kirstie Alley, who passed away yesterday at 71, played a Vulcan on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
It was her first feature film role, and though she had little experience, Nicholas Meyer, who was the director of the Star Trek sequel, championed for her to be cast in the role. As the director told People when discussing the late actress, Alley nailed the audition, having enough intuition to do what the role called for.
"“I don’t think she was trying to be original, or as some might imprecisely call ‘kooky,’ but she nailed it. What was impressive about her reading was that she didn’t inject her own, as I called it, ‘merry personality’ into it. I don’t know if she had enough experience, but she had enough intuition to do what the role called for.”"
Kirstie Alley’s enthusiasm for her role in the Star Trek movie extended into after hours.
According to Meyer, Alley didn’t leave the role behind when she left the set each night. She was so thrilled to have been cast and to be a part of Star Trek that she wouldn’t take off the Vulcan ears.
"“She was so passionate or enthusiastic or entranced by the role — or she was an over sleeper — that she wore the ears to bed. She didn’t take them off.”"
Alley was also so overcome with emotion that she cried during the filming of Spock’s funeral. According to Meyer, William Shatner wasn’t too happy about that as he didn’t think Vulcans should cry. But Meyer told him that it would make the scene that much more powerful if the tears were left in. And Alley’s performance did help to wring every drop of emotion out of that scene.
Kirstie Alley was a credit to Star Trek, and it’s memories like this that will make rewatching her scenes a little bittersweet.