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DeForest Kelley Up Close and Personal: A Harvest of Memories from the Fan Who Knew Him Best Paperback – December 23, 2015
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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About the Author
Author Kristine M. Smith has been a fan of DeForest Kelley for more than five decades. She has also meandered among his fans at numerous conventions and at individual and collective ceremonies honoring him and Star Trek. She writes: “I have witnessed first-hand the enormous love and the respect people have for De. And I continue to see how people have remained enchanted with him, even following his passing in 1999. Millions of people were immediately and acutely affected by his unanticipated death. Tens of thousands of them expressed outright anguish; feelings akin to losing one’s best friend or a family member. A single, cursory visit to just one of numerous DeForest Kelley websites (national and international) proves the veracity of this declaration. “Categorically and undeniably, De became—and will endure as—one of the most-loved and best-remembered personalities in the world. His Dr. McCoy is at the heart of Star Trek’s mythology, and Trek is a tenacious mythology which will last, in all likelihood, until the day humans forget how to aspire to a higher standard for themselves and their progeny. “De was my friend, but he was also my hero—one of very few heroes whose durability was sorely tested, yet found to be utterly reliable. I wrote this book to show how deeply De influenced my life and to remind you, his fans and friends, how seamlessly and comfortably he fitted into yours. “I undertook this endeavor for the millions of fans who never had the pleasure of meeting De ‘up close and personal.’ My sincerest goal for this book is that it will validate every intuition you ever had about DeForest Kelley being one of Hollywood’s ‘good guys.’” Kris’s freelance writing career was launched by DeForest Kelley in 1969. It was Kelley and his wife Carolyn who encouraged Kris to try Hollywood on for size, which she did from 1989 to 2003. Kris served as Mr. Kelley’s personal assistant and caregiver during the final months of his life and presented heartfelt sentiments about her mentor at Paramount Studios' memorial service for him in 1999. She has written two books about him.
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What this book is about is how a young woman met her idol and, without pushing the issue, became friends with Mr. Kelley and his wife, Carolyn; a friendship that lasted for over 30 years.
When Kristine was fifteen years old, she was introduced to Star Trek by her dad, who insisted on absolute silence in the house when the show was on. Here is where she first discovered and was most drawn to Dr. McCoy and the man that portrayed him, DeForest Kelley. Not long after, she learned that Mr. Kelley would be appearing at the Wenatchee (state of Washington) Apple Blossom Festival and made plans to go and meet the man that was rapidly becoming her idol. Upon arriving in Wenatchee, Kris and her friend who was along for moral support, shamelessly waited near the limousine that would carry Mr. Kelley and Carolyn through the parade for the festival. When the honored couple appeared and mounted the car, and after some screwing up of her courage and some encouragement from her friend, Kris finally approached and asked for an autograph. From that beginning, what follows is an amazing account, strictly from the author’s point of view, of what it was to be friends with Deforest and Carolyn Kelley.
There are numerous stories of encounters at conventions with some hilarious antics perpetrated against numerous people, including Mr. Kelley. There are accounts of meetings and even phone calls that happened over the years. While many celebrities seem to be up so high that they are unreachable, Kristine’s account of their friendship brings the star that is DeForest Kelley down to Earth in such a way that as I read on, I felt as though I also was getting to know him as well. And what a treasure the man was.
What I learned about Mr. Kelley and Carolyn is that while he was a huge star and a fine actor, he was also a wonderful human being that cared about people and that he appreciated all of the love and admiration he received from fans. He reciprocated the feelings for him in the warmest possible ways as the masses of his admirers descended upon him at numerous opportunities. All the while, as far as he was concerned, acting was how he made his living, and to the people he touched, he remained just a regular guy.
I give my highest recommendations for reading DeForest Kelley: Up Close and Personal no matter what the reason; whether you are a Trekkie looking to learn more about a key cast member, or just someone looking to read a good book. Mostly what you will learn is about what true friendship means.
I am a fan of Star Trek original series and I have just been rewatching it on Netflix and reading books about the making of the series and about the actors. I read DeForest Kelleys biography From Sawdust to Stardust and it made me sad. Not because of his death really, but because the biography gave an impression that he was disappointed with his career and that he felt he wasn’t appreciated as an actor. Everything I have read tells me that he was a nice and gentle man, and unfortunately success often calls for selfishness, ruthless behavior and taking advantage of other people.
He is, of course, still famous, at least among Star Trek fans. He probably couldn’t imagine that his photo would be on a Canadian stamp almost 20 years after his death.
Kris’s book showed that he had a happy marriage and that the Kelleys still loved each other after 50 years of marriage. They seem such a sweet old couple. It is also great that he had close friends who were willing to take care of him and help him and just visit him when he was ill. Too many old people are left alone to lie in hospitals and retirement homes waiting for death. Most of us recognize at some state in our lives that relationships with other people are more important than work, and DeForest Kelley was certainly loved by his friends and fans.