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1920-1999

"He's really not dead as long as we remember him."
--Dr. Leonard H. McCoy
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan


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Actor DeForest Kelley Dead at 79
By LYNN ELBER AP Television Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Actor DeForest Kelley, who as crusty Dr. Leonard "Bones'' McCoy on "Star Trek'' brought a country flavor to outer space, died June 11, 1999. He was 79.

Kelley died after an extended illness, said Carol Pfannkuche, spokeswoman for the Motion Picture and Television Country Home and Hospital, a retirement facility, in suburban Woodland Hills.

"He represented humanity and it fitted him well,'' said Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock on the science fiction saga. "He was a decent, loving, caring partner and will be deeply missed.''

The conflict between McCoy's all-too-human character and Spock's cold logic provided grist for many of the lighthearted moments in the television series and "Star Trek'' movies.

His Dr. McCoy was one of a colorful crew of 23rd-century space travelers that helped make the original "Star Trek'' television series a lasting cult favorite, although the program aired only from 1966-69 on NBC.

The "Star Trek'' phenomenon lived on in feature films and in a series of TV spin-offs, including "Star Trek: The Next Generation.''

"I'm just a country doctor!'' McCoy would exclaim when called on to cope with the other-worldly illnesses and calamities that beset the USS Enterprise, but he would always come through for his captain.

Kelley, born Jan. 20, 1920, in Atlanta, played supporting roles in a number of movies, including "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit'' (1956), "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral'' (1957), "Raintree County'' (1957), and "Apache Uprising'' (1966).

His part in "Star Trek'' brought Kelley out of relative obscurity and into the popular culture limelight. He played in six of the sci-fi films, including "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country'' in 1991.

Kelley didn't object to being typecast as McCoy.

"He loved it. He loved that series so much,'' said A.C. Lyles, a friend and longtime Paramount Studios producer who knew Kelley for five decades.

Lyles recalled how Kelley went up for a leading role in "This Gun for Hire'' in 1940, losing out to Alan Ladd but gaining a Paramount contract and regular roles in Westerns.

"I always used him as a heavy, a mean man, and he was marvelous at that,'' Lyles said. In real life, Kelley was known for his great sense of humor and his skill at growing roses, his friend said.

In addition to "Star Trek,'' he made appearances on dozens of television shows, including "Gunsmoke'' and "Bonanza.''

Kelley is survived by his wife of nearly 55 years, Carolyn.


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