#M(ichigan)M(ovie)H(istory), On this day, April 1, 1930, actor Grace Lee Whitney was born

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Grace_lee_whitney_sfconIt was on this day, April 1, 1930, American actress and singer Grace Lee Whitney was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Originally Mary Ann Chase, she was adopted by the Whitney family who changed her name to Grace Elaine.

Whitney started her entertainment career as a “girl singer” on Detroit’s WJR radio at the age of fourteen. After she left home, she began to call herself Lee Whitney, eventually becoming known as Grace Lee Whitney.

In her late teens, Whitney moved to Chicago and where she opened in nightclubs for Billie Holiday and Buddy Rich, and toured with the Spike Jones and Fred Waring Bands

Whitney was best known for her role as Janice Rand, the personal assistant to Captain James T. Kirk on the original Star Trek television series and subsequent Star Trek television series and films.

In films, Whitney reprized her role as Janice Rand, who had received a promotion to chief petty officer in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). She also appeared in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), with another promotion, as Lieutenant Commander Janice Rand.

Five years later, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the franchise, she returned in the 1996 Star Trek: Voyager episode “Flashback”, along with George Takei. She reprized her role in two internet Star Trek episodes: “Star Trek: New Voyages” and “Star Trek: Of Gods and Men”. “New Voyages” premiered on August 24, 2007, while “Of Gods and Men” made its debut in late 2007.

For more on Grace Lee Whitney and her complete filmography.

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