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The Death of DeForest Kelley
by Steve Lazarowitz

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DeForest Kelley
Today, Friday June 11th, 1999, DeForest Kelley passed away.

De played Dr. Leonard McCoy on the original Star Trek and if you've never had the privilege of meeting the man, he was one of the good ones. Dr. McCoy played the "conscience" of the USS Enterprise, and much of his warmth and old-fashioned values echoed the personality of the actor who played him.

In fact, arguably, Captain Kirk was the soul of the ship, Spock the brain, and McCoy was the heart. It was very likely the chemistry of this trio that made the original series the success that it was. While the original Trek only lasted three seasons, it spawned ten major motion pictures, an animated series and three sequel television series.

I never really thought about how I would feel when a member of the original cast passed on, or even that it might happen at some point, yet it was inevitable. Perhaps seeing them cheat death so often has left me unprepared for the eventually.

"He represented humanity and it
fitted him well" -- Leonard Nimoy
I watched Dr. McCoy die in the episode "Shore Leave" (which was written, incidentally, by one of SF's great authors -- Theodore Sturgeon), but of course, in the end, he made it back to the land of the living. It is hard to imagine it any other way for him.

Yet DeForest Kelley has left behind a legacy that few men can match, for indeed, how many people can claim to be so universally known and loved as the original crew of that long ago series?

Years will pass, and there will be new Star Trek's, but none will ever have that same meaning for me as the original and De, for being part of that, will always have a special place in my heart.

I will close with words that are more of a tribute to him than I could ever write.

"He's dead, Jim."

Steve Lazarowitz

Steve Lazarowitz reads and writes fantasy and SF. His work has been published in a number of online 'zines and he is the editor of the Dragonclaw Showcase. His short story anthology A Creative Edge: Tales of Speculation is due out from Twilight Times Books in 1999.

Copyright © 1999 by Steve Lazarowitz

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