Grace Lee Whitney Biography

Grace Lee Whitney, born Mary Ann Chase, was an American actress and singer best known for her iconic role as Janice Rand in the beloved science fiction series ‘Star Trek.’ From her early days as a ‘girl singer’ at Detroit’s WJR Radio to her breakthrough role in ‘Star Trek,’ Whitney’s talent and passion for acting were evident. She went on to appear in various films and even pursued a career in music, performing as a singer with the band Star. Whitney’s contributions to the entertainment industry continue to be celebrated and cherished by fans worldwide.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Mary Ann Chase
  • Died At Age: 85
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Jack Dale (m. 1965–1991), Sydney Stevan Dweck (m. 1954–1966)
    • Children: Scott and Jonathan Dweck
  • Born Country: United States
  • Singers
  • Actresses
  • Height: 5’8″ (173 cm), 5’8″ Females
  • Died on: May 1, 2015
  • Place of death: Coarsegold, California, United States
  • Cause of Death: Natural Causes
  • City: Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • U.S. State: Michigan

Childhood & Early Life

Grace Lee Whitney was born Mary Ann Chase on April 1, 1930, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She was adopted by the Whitney family at a young age and her name was changed to Grace Elaine. From a young age, Grace showed an interest in acting and began singing and taking dancing lessons. She performed on stage during her school years and also started writing song lyrics. At the age of 14, she began her professional singing career at WJR Radio in Detroit. She moved to Chicago after high school and worked as a model while pursuing her singing career. She also joined a band named Prevue.


Grace developed an interest in acting and moved to New York, where she appeared in the Broadway play “Top Banana.” She made her screen debut in the film adaptation of “Top Banana” and also appeared in the Off-Broadway play “The Threepenny Opera.” She took a break from acting and focused on her singing career before moving to Los Angeles. In the 1960s, she joined various bands and orchestras and sang as the lead singer with the band Star. She continued her television career with guest roles in series such as “Peter Loves Mary” and “The Roaring 20s.” She appeared in more than a dozen television series, mostly in small or guest roles.

In 1963, Grace received a major film break when she was cast in the supporting role of Kiki the Cossack in the film “Irma la Douce.” The success of the film led to her breakthrough television role as Yeoman Janice Rand in the first season of “Star Trek.” She reprised her role in the following three “Star Trek” films and also appeared in the series “Star Trek: Voyager.” Apart from “Star Trek,” Grace had limited work and mostly played guest roles in series such as “Diagnosis Murder.” She also wrote songs based on the “Star Trek” franchise.

Family & Personal Life

Grace Lee Whitney wrote her autobiography titled “The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy,” in which she opened up about her struggles with alcoholism, drug abuse, and addiction to marijuana. She overcame her addictions but they had a negative impact on her acting career. She was married twice, first to Sydney Stevan Dweck from 1954 to 1966, and then to Jack Dale from 1970 to 1991. She had two sons from her first marriage. Grace passed away on May 1, 2015, at the age of 85, in Coarsegold.

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