I heard it about a half-hour ago.
Grace Lee Whitney is gone too.
I'm sitting here typing away, wondering how in the hell am I going to write about this extraordinary woman.
This woman, who suffered so many setbacks in her life and career, who was abruptly shown the door during her short stint on Star Trek after a horrific sexual assault by a producer, whose self-destructive path of alcoholism, drugs and sex almost killed her, had not only managed to pull herself out of her own personal abyss and rescue herself from almost certain doom, she managed to thrive--and thrive she did--living to the age of 85 years.
Grace was not a woman who held anything back, as was proof of her heartbreaking autobiography The Longest Trek. Her account of being adopted as a newborn infant, and of being seen as a bastard by the members of the community in which she grew up, of feeling adrift and rootless not knowing her real parents, and the rejection of biological family members when she was finally able to find them and make contact, are just some of the heartbreaking snapshots of a life of many small tragedies. She really goes into detail about her failed marriages, career opportunities missed, and difficult relationships.
This was not a woman who glamorized her addictions. This was not a woman who thought that her addictions made her edgy and iconoclastic. While people like Amy Winehouse and Jim Morrison wrapped themselves in a cloak of self-delusional worship of their bombastic rocker nihilism, Grace never romanticized her addictions and saw them for what they were--means to cover up and make her forget her own sense of anger, inadequacies, and frustrations for the injustices that had been done to her.
Grace Lee Whitney came from a place of truth. The book is not an easy read, and at times I had to put it down and take a breather. But, the more I read and the more breathers I had to take, the more I found myself in awe of this woman. The fact that she was able to rescue herself and then ultimately turn around and form her own outreach circles, helping other women lost in addiction and despair, in prison and even in her own living room, made her one amazing spirit.
Grace Lee Whitney pulled herself out of the dirt and shined like a diamond! If that sounds corny to you,
you're entitled to your opinion.
Grace Lee Whitney was an opportunity lost as far as possible stars was concerned. I say this because the heads of the studios could have made her a star, and didn't because she wouldn't play the Hollywood game of sleeping around. I always thought that she would have made a fantastic Hitchcock Blonde! Don't you think so?
There is a quote that was said by a certain young actress back in the late Seventies(or was it the early Eighties?) that I think is fitting for a woman who fought her demons and never looked back. It is here:
"I have always considered myself to be the pillar in my life."
Grace Lee Whitney could very well have said that about herself, I think.
To Grace, I wish you Godspeed on your next extraordinary journey. You are seated now with your fellow angels.
Bless you, love.
Grace Lee Whitney