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  • Whitney Lee Grace

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Grace Lee Whitney (1930)

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  Summary  

Grace Lee Whitney, also known as Ruth Whitney and Lee Whitney is an American actress and entertainer. She is best known for playing the role of Janice Rand on the Star Trek television series and subsequent films.

  Biography  

 early life
Whitney was born as Mary Ann Chase in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She was adopted by the Whitney family who named her Grace Elaine Whitney. After she moved out, she began to call herself Lee Whitney, and eventually, she became known as Grace Lee Whitney. Whitney started her entertainment career as a "girl singer" on Detroit's WJR radio at the age of fourteen. In her late teens, she moved to Chicago and started to open in nightclubs for such luminaries as Billie Holiday and Buddy Rich, and toured with the Spike Jones and Fred Waring Bands.

 career
 Theater
Whitney debuted on Broadway in Top Banana with Phil Silvers and Kaye Ballard where she played Miss Holland. Following the successful run of the show, she joined the cast in Hollywood where she recreated the role in the 1954 movie of the same name. While in Los Angeles, Whitney auditioned and was cast in the starring role of Lucy Brown in the national tour of The Threepenny Opera, taking over the role from Bea Arthur who played the part in New York off-Broadway.

 Film highlights
Whitney was cast as a member of the all-female band in Billy Wilder's classic comedy Some Like It Hot, released in 1959. She shared several scenes with Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Marilyn Monroe, including the famed "upper berth" sequence. In her memoir, The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy, she maintains that as one of the only girls in the band with a speaking role, Billy Wilder hired her specifically for the role of Rosella. Various credit sources have listed another actress in the role, even though she is directly addressed by the name Rosella in two different scenes in the film; the first by band leader Sweet Sue , and the second by a fellow band member.

Whitney had uncredited roles in House of Wax with Vincent Price, The Naked and the Dead with Cliff Robertson, Pocketful of Miracles with Bette Davis and Glenn Ford, and Critic's Choice with Bob Hope and Lucille Ball. Whitney appeared in the credited role of Tracey Phillips in the 1962 drama A Public Affair. Billy Wilder subsequently gave her the featured role of "Kiki the Cossack" in the 1963 film Irma la Douce with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon.

 Television
Whitney has made more than a hundred television appearances since her television debut in Cowboy G-Men in 1953. She appeared on episodes of Wagon Train, Gunsmoke, Bat Masterson, The Rifleman, 77 Sunset Strip, Bewitched, Mike Hammer, Batman, The Untouchables, and Hawaiian Eye.

She appeared in an episode of The Outer Limits, "Controlled Experiment", co-starring Barry Morse and Carroll O'Connor. In the late 1960s, Whitney appeared as guest star on Mannix, Death Valley Days, The Big Valley, and The Virginian. In 1962 she appeared in "The Rifleman" in the episode "The Tin Horn" as Rose Keeler. Also in 1964 she played the Marilyn Monroe lookalike character Babs Livingston on Bewitched in the episode "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog". 1970s roles included The Bold Ones, Cannon, and Hart to Hart. In 1983, she had a small part in the television film, The Kid with the 200 IQ with Gary Coleman. In 1998, she appeared on an episode of Diagnosis: Murder, which reunited her with her old Star Trek cast-mates George Takei, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett Roddenberry.

 Music
In the 1960s and 1970s, Whitney sang with a number of orchestras and bands, including the Keith Williams Orchestra. Later, she concentrated on jazz/pop vocalizing while fronting for the band "Star". In the 1970s, with her then-husband, Jack Dale, she wrote a number of Star Trek-related songs. A 45 rpm record was released in 1976 with the songs Disco Trekkin’ and Star Child . She recorded such tunes as Charlie X, Miri, Enemy Within, and USS Enterprise. Many of these songs were released in the 1990s in cassette tape format: Light at the End of the Tunnel in 1996 and Yeoman Rand Sings! in 1999.

 Books
Whitney's autobiography, The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy, was released in 1998 (ISBN 1-884956-05-X). The book delves into her hiring and firing from Star Trek, her fight and eventual victory over alcohol and substance dependence, particularly marijuana.

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Grace Lee Whitney", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.