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A celebration tribute on De's birthday

Today would have been the 90th birthday of Jackson DeForest Kelley, had he lived. In spirit of tribute, I have put together this picspam of some of my favourite De images, and scattered through a few choice quotations and stories from his biographies that really make me smile, or make me fall in love with him that little bit more.

(Incredibly image heavy, but worth it, for the love of De)

Pre Star Trek

De, in Fear in the Night

In one of his many Westerns.

Star Trek eras

'Shatner later recalled [on meeting De]..."I was an admirer of his work. I had seen him in several things. I always loved the way he looked. I wanted to look like him, with his hair combed that way and his lean build and his unique way of talking."'

'Kelley remembered: "[During filming the first episode] Leonard Nimoy and I went to lunch...and Leonard had his ears on, which at the time he was not too keen about [and] was very worried about it, and he was telling me that he was concerned...and sometimes felt like a rabbit. We had a bunch of celery sticks and carrot sticks that were on the table, so I picked up a couple of carrot sticks and handed them to Leonard. He said, 'De, don't ever do that to me again.' But those ears finally became a very important thing to him, didn't they?"'

Kelley, recalling Shatner: '"We had our difference here and there, but we had this thing going, and no matter what we thought of the other one, he could look at me in a certain way, or do something and crack me up completely." Bill had the power of mirth, and DeForest was helpless against it. It was a kind of medicine Kelley sorely needed for his melancholy. He loved to laugh, and Shatner was a laugh riot. His comedic spell over De made Bill Shatner unique and irreplaceable in DeForest's life.'

'"After each days shooting, we're tired. We just want to go home, have dinner, and relax before going to bed. We're usually asleep by nine o'clock, because we have to be in make-up at the crack of dawn. Lenny has a trick he sometimes pulls. He calls Bill and me at about eight-thirty and reminds us to go beddy-bye."'

"The other cast members weren’t slouches either. One day, during a particularly intense confrontation between McCoy and Spock, DeForest Kelley leaned forward and kissed Leonard Nimoy on the nose. Leonard just stared at him, shocked, then realized what he had done and broke up.

But it didn’t end there. They couldn’t do a retake. Every time Leonard got close to DeForest and looked him in the eye, he broke up laughing again. And the effect was contagious. Pretty soon no one on the set could keep a straight face. Leonard and De were too conscious of their nose-to-nose position, they couldn’t stay in character long enough to do the shot. Finally, Joe Pevney, the director, gave up. They had to move to another set and pick up some other shots"

'Kelley recalls: "When I was doing the series, I was quite a bit huskier...and Shatner was always with the barbells, and he'd come in [flexing and posing], and every day when I got off, I'd go and take the makeup off, and you strip to the waist and get all this stuff off. I'd come back through. He'd be sitting in his little chair, you know...I'd flex, and I'd walk by him every day. One day he says "Look, cracker-ass, why don't you knock that off?"...I called him bubble-butt."'

'One publicity release declared that "unlike Nimoy and Shatner, Kelley has not cut a record." The fellows were doing all that they could to promote Star Trek and themselves, but Kelley wasn't going to be a part of it. He thought about making records. "If he [McCoy[ did, I'm sure the kids would buy it just to have something from one of the three of us. The other day, I kidded Nimoy on the set by telling him that I was going to make a record. I was going to call it 'Sounds from Sickbay' and it would consist of grunts and groans."'

'In those moments, there was intimacy, howling humor, the love among actors, the acknowledgement of their loves passing before our eyes.

'Kelley didn't skirt the issue [of the film's lukewarm reception and the blame being placed on Shatner]; he was a stalwart friend to Shatner...it seems that Shatner thought he had failed where others had succeeded valiently; the years of the "cosmic clown" were upon him. He was most harsh with his own image. He lampooned everything he was and did. His lampoon of Trek and Trekkers was a mild joust that fans would not forgive him for, but they seemed neither to know nor care that he was hardest on himself. Fortunately, Kelley did know, and he did care. Shatner-bashing could only go so far in Kelley's company, and then a small growl or a look would put an end to it. At conventions, he often ended his light hearted razzing of Shatner with a statement of his love.'

'In a mood of celebration, Roddenbury made a gift of the year's blooper reel for the Christmas party of 1967. "We worked terribly long hours, and Star Trek was a very difficult show to do at that time, and I don't know, we just more or less exploded in one way or another." Kelley was embarrassed. Roddenbury was not only awate of Kelley and Majel Barrett's rather earthy outtakes, but Roddenbury was by then Barrett's lover, and Kelley was a little crimson when those takes were in the blooper reel. "We could have been blackmailed," he recalled, but he was guilty of little more than cracking up and being the frequent target of Shatner's habit of kissing men on the mouth.' (Target. Right :P)

'During these nights [they shot all night long] Shatner and Kelley got to know each other better than they ever had...it seems however, that Shatner found out what it was with Kelley during those long nights and days of shooting. From then on, there was an undeniable devotion in Shatner's already high regard for his older brother.'

Post Star Trek, At home, and with Carolyn

'As his friend Leonard Nimoy recalls, 'He was always older and wiser than the rest of us." Kelley found the human dance all very fascinating...there were occassional gatherings at the Nimoy home. Kelley would drink his vodka with a little water and a twist...and observed all these human passions and dynamics to his heart's content, then head home to Greenleaf and Carolyn, Myrtle, and Cheers.'

"Carolyn began to speak of a favourite model of hers, Iman...Iman would be appearing in the next film with De, and Carolyn related that De worked until 11pm with Iman one night - 'or so he SAYS he was working!' De lifted his eyeglasses up at that point, arched his eyebrows and winked dramatically, joking, 'I've got to keep these old engines primed, you know!'"

'He asked Kris to get his phone book out of her bags. Call Bill. He got hold of Bill's assistant and told her about the cancer. Bill had known but told no one. De's privacy being legend, Bill respected it. Bill wasn't expected back in town for a few days, so his assistant took a message. Kris recalled that De expressed his wonder about Bill, so much life, so much fear of illness and dyning...De's compassionate response to their discomfort was to also ignore the approaching departure. Bill had called his assistant right back - he was coming, let De know. De was pleased. When Bill called back a few days later to finalize his plans, he was glad of itl. Kris remembers he said, "That would be great. I love you, Bill." Kris took Shatner's day off to ensure they had all the privacy they needed. De told Kris later that they spoke about ideas for original cast movies and such things; De kept the future at arm's length to have his present minutes with Bill unshadowed.'

And after his death, Anja recalls Bill at the Pasadena convention.'Anja wrote "Well I have to thank Bill Shatner, because he was very kind when he told us about DeForest, and read one of his poems (even though I had never heard someone reading such a long poem in such a short time. Bill said that he visited De at the hospital and told him, "De, don't die! But if you die - give me your hair!" That's very typical for Bill. He hides his sorrow behind jokes. I learned to know Bill...to know him is as hard as to like him...Sometims it's too difficult to get him. He's a man with a thousand faces. But we saw his sorrow, and we heard it through the jokes he made. And later when we got our autographs from him, we saw it in his eyes."'

Time is really
The blink of an eye
Where do they go
Those who die?
What is below?
What is above?
What is in store
For those we love?
All that's been written
And all that's been said
Still does not answer
What happens to the dead?

(crossposted to ontd_startrek and shatnoy_rpf)


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 20th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
Hey, that was quick :)

This is a fine tribute.
Jan. 20th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
I'm nothing if not speedy. Sometimes :P

Thank you ♥ For the love and memory of De, I'd do anything, really.
Samantha Judd
Mar. 13th, 2011 04:57 am (UTC)
De Kelley
Wow, finally someone who shares the same love and devotion I do to such a sweet and wonderfull human being. De kelley was truly my hero, in more ways than one. He inspired me to pick up the broken pieces of my life and put them back together again, on my own. I'am now a CNA despite the fact that I am deaf. And that is all thanks to De Kelley. I didn't really know who he was until after his unfortunate passing, but I fell in love with his character Dr. McCoy from Star Trek, who became sort of like the father I never had, as well as Mr. Spock. People think I am strange because of this, but it's a different kind of love, one that I am glad not to be the only one sharing that feeling. It is truly an awful loss, but his spirit is still here with us, even those of us who never knew him personally. He still touched our hearts, and changed our lives. Your tribute was beautiful, and moving.
Jan. 21st, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)
a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man :)
Jan. 20th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
Yes. Yes. Yes. Thank you for posting this here.
The story with De kissing Len is so cute! :)
I also love the picture with him in the blue shirt and his turtle. I never saw that one before. His smile is gorgeous.

Btw. he definitely was the cutest teen ever. ;)
Jan. 20th, 2010 08:31 pm (UTC)
It was no problem, I've been wanting to make a post like this for a while now, and today seemed the perfect day to do it.

He certainly was pretty cute :D

Jan. 20th, 2010 08:05 pm (UTC)
Definite blinky-tears happening here.

He was such a beautiful person, I'm glad you've helped us celebrate his birthday. What a touching and funny tribute! I particularly love the cracker-ass bit XD

Thanks for this, bb <3
Jan. 20th, 2010 08:35 pm (UTC)

He truely was. I've been thinking about how to celebrate his birthday for days, and I'm glad everyone seems to have appreciated this.

Jan. 20th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
Jan. 20th, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC)
...how had I not seen this gif before?

Jan. 20th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
Dunno. Stole it from some ontd_startrek post.
It's cute, isn't it :)
Jan. 20th, 2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
It is cute, and I now have it saved :D
Jan. 20th, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Wonderful, Jackie... just wonderful! Thanks so much for remembering De in this heartfelt and lovely way.
Jan. 21st, 2010 04:13 am (UTC)
This was a beautiful tribute to a wonderful human being - De.
Thank you so much for doing this and sharing it with us.
Jan. 21st, 2010 04:23 am (UTC)
This is wonderful! Thanks for putting this together! ♥
Jan. 22nd, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC)
Oh my god, this is amazing. I know I'm late on this one, but I just love this so much! Saving to memories - thanks so much for sharing this.
Jan. 26th, 2010 01:34 am (UTC)
Thanks for the beautiful tribute. So many lovely pics of the gracious gent who gave us so many delightful moments to remember.
Nov. 19th, 2010 04:22 am (UTC)
Lovely tribute
Thanks for posting these. I love the GIFs.
Apr. 13th, 2011 07:11 am (UTC)
This blog is bookmarked! I really love the stuff you have put here.

Apr. 13th, 2011 09:57 pm (UTC)
Very intereresting reading. thx

Jul. 13th, 2011 03:19 am (UTC)
I know this is very late, but this is a lovely post. I don't know much about him yet but it seems DeForest was a wonderful, huge-hearted person ♥

If you don't mind, which books did these quotes come from? I'd love to read them myself.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )