Jackson DeForest Kelley (January 20, 1920 – June 11, 1999), known to his friends and colleagues as "De,” was an American actor, poet, and singer. He was best known for his roles in Westerns and as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy of the USS Enterprise in the television and motion picture series Star Trek (1966–1991).
Born in Toccoa, Georgia, Kelley was raised in Atlanta and Conyers, where he first used his talents in the church choir. Later, a radio performance on stage at WSB earned him an engagement with Lew Forbes and his orchestra at the Atlanta Paramount Theater.
After moving to California as a young man, he joined the Long Beach Theater Group. During WW II, a Paramount talent scout noticed him in a Navy training film. This resulted in a screen test and a contract. DeForest remained with Paramount for 2 ½ years, making his motion picture debut in Fear in the Night.
Among his hundreds of performances are Gunfight at the OK Corral, Raintree County, Warlock, Where Love Has Gone, The Law and Jake Wade, and a myriad of television appearances including Schlitz Theatre, Playhouse 90, Zane Grey Theater, Rawhide, and Bonanza.
Kelley made his debut in the Star Trek television series in 1966. He gave freely of his time and talents to humanitarian efforts, including many hospital visits to children and veterans.
De served during WWII in the Army Air Corps in Roswell, New Mexico, and at Fort Roach in Culver City, CA, where he made training films to educate service members and helped create a huge relief map of targeted areas to help pilots navigate precisely to their destinations.
On September 7th, 1945, he married Carolyn Meagher Dowling. They were married 54 years until De’s passing in 1999. They had no children.
Among the awards De received were the Gene Roddenberry Award and the Golden Boot Award.
A confirmed animal lover, Kelley’s favorite animal charities were The North Shore Animal League in Port Washington, NY, and Shambala/The ROAR Foundation in Acton, CA. He also contributed to veterans groups and children’s hospitals.
Everyone who knew De loved him without limit. He was as much a personal treasure as he was an international treasure.
“I have deep feelings for the welfare and comfort of others.” – DeForest Kelley.
De’s star is located at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard.
For further information, two books about De are available:
Memoir: DeForest Kelley Up Close and Personal: A Harvest of Memories from the Fan Who Knew Him Best by Kris M. Smith
Authorized Biography: From Sawdust to Stardust - The Biography of DeForest Kelley, Star Trek's Dr. McCoy
DeForest Kelley Star Ceremony Videos:
Part Three https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPigLowpS_M
Link to the Tribute that was shown at De’s MEMORIAL SERVICE AT PARAMOUNT 1999: https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video;_ylt=AwrgwOnH8ftiLVsEWG.JzbkF?p=youtube+deforest+kelley+tribute&type=E210US105G91596&fr=mcafee&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Ai%2Cm%3Apivot#id=1&vid=b3ad24a154ff69a2c63fbb4ddef1c268&action=view
The first two portraits of Kelley are by William Dow.
DeForest Kelley Tribute (Video credit: Kris M. Smith)
Poems by De
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.
The sun is bright
The air is clear
Just when you feel
Your time is near
The days go by so terribly fast
I feel each one will be my last
Is this the way,
The older we grow?
Who can say?
How do we know?
Maybe that’s the way
With we who wait…
We see the beauty—much too late.