Grace Lee Whitney did her own stunts, often to her detriment

Star Trek: The Original Series had one heck of a stunt woman in Grace Lee Whitney.

Sci Fi
Sci Fi / Sebastian Artz/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

If you've seen Star Trek: The Original Series, it's a good chance you saw Grace Lee Whitney. Whitney famously played Yeomen Janice Rand and debuted with the franchise with the 1966 episode "The Man Trap", which featured the hideous Salt Vampire. It was an early but iconic episode that helped propel Star Trek and Whitney into fame.

She would feature heavily during the first season, before appearing in several of the first few films. She would ultimately return to the franchise in an episode of Voyager, which would feature several other characters from the older series returning for a one-off episode, chief among them being George Takei as Captain Hikaru Sulu.

Whitney's time on Star Trek may not have been a long one, but her impact was, as she was not only a very popular figure in the series, especially for how short her run was, but she was also not just an actress. Whitney wouldn't just feature in the show as a character but as a stunt woman as well.

She did a lot of her own stunts, a rarity back in the 1960s, and sometimes doing your own stunts could lead to some bruises. In a throwback interview with TrekMovie.com that Slashfilms dug up, the late Whitney talked about how hard it was for her to do her own stunts from time to time. Namely, for the episode "The Enemy Within", where Kirk is split into two and has an evil doppelganger.

In the interview, Whitney spoke about working with Kirk actor William Shatner;

"It was very difficult. ['Star Trek' creator Gene] Roddenberry was there and he wanted it to be real but glamorous. And I thought 'how can you do that?' I was very black and blue for a while. Shatner threw me around for a while and I did all my stunts. We did many takes. Then to make it even harder, afterwards I had to do just the opposite scene when I go cry to Spock. But I was very happy with the work." 

The episode is one of the best that Star Trek ever produced and a lot of it has to do with the physical acting by almost everyone involved, Shatner and Whitney included. While it may have left her with a few bruises, that episode isn't as good without Whitney's commitment.

The Top 100 episodes in Star Trek franchise history according to metrics. dark. Next. The Top 100 episodes in Star Trek franchise history according to metrics