Creation Entertainment joins with Star Trek fans around the world in mourning the loss of the beloved DeForest Kelley, who has been part of our lives for so long. Not only did we enjoy his work in the classic television series and later features, but we had the exceptional opportunity to get to know De through his many appearances on our stages.

Here, Adam and Gary, co-owners of Creation Entertainment share some thoughts about the man and his legacy.

Saying goodbye to DeForest Kelley is something I'm not ready for, yet, despite his physical passing, so instead I choose to celebrate the life of an accomplished actor, entertainer and humanitarian.

As an actor, of course, DeForest was the Paramount Cowboy - literally and figuratively, over several decades. His longtime associate A. C. Lyles has helped coordinate a tribute to De to be held on the Paramount lot. We loved him, of course, because he was Bones - lovable, ornery Bones, trusted confidant and associate of James T. Kirk on board Starship Enterprise. I remember the nights, so long ago now, when Dad and I sat back and let Star Trek- the FIRST Star Trek- transport us to the future. Bones was always a special favorite. Whether it was backing up his Captain or picking a fight with Spock, he never disappointed. But there was a problem. It seemed Bones would never get the girl! Spock and Kirk especially hogged all the foxy intergalactic alien babes for themselves. Bones got the leftovers, like Nancy, the Salt Sucker from M 113! No justice!

Through the Classic Star Trek years we watched De admiringly, particularly enjoying his contributions to the films. During this time our company, Creation Entertainment, grew to become the major producer of Star Trek themed events domestically. It was a heady time for us, our love for Star Trek coinciding with the great convention push that at its peak was drawing hundreds of thousands of people annually. Gene Roddenberry's passing seemed like the end of an era to us, but De's passing, too, is a major passage in our lives.

Speaking of Gene, it was a great honor to have Gene come to salute DeForest when we put together our special tribute evening for De. Both Gene and Bill were on hand to toast DeForest's tremendous contribution. In retrospect I realize De was a magnet who drew people to his warmth and honesty.

We coproduce the Hollywood Charity Horse Show with our stalwart Captain Bill Shatner every April in Burbank, California. Deforest was a frequent guest of the Horseshow. One time we brought De in on a wagon train with flailing Clydesdale horses that tore around the arena while De bravely stood up, waving in an oscillating motion like a bucking bronco. Another time, he and Bill were part of a cosmic fantasy where they helped save Earth from tough guy aliens right inside the Equidome. To see Bill and De ham it up to benefit kids is an intensely rewarding experience.

Then there was the time in Georgetown, De. Carolyn, Lori (my wife) and me, enjoying margueritas with the Kelleys like they were normal human beings. But of course they were public figures, so they had to balance their social existence with the restraint that comes with celebrity (for one's own sanity). What really impressed me was how De could get us into Houstons with a whisper into the maitre d's ear when everyone else waits one hour MINIMUM to get into that place!

Which brings us to the subject of Carolyn, she of the fine calligraphy and warm heart, the constant companion over 54 years of marriage. I have a tree that Carolyn and De gave me: It's growing strong and tall. A reminder that the important things in life are often measured over the long haul and the effort put in, that being good and true to your mate lays down roots that run deep. So Carolyn will carry on De's legacy.

I love Bill Shatner, but he used to torment poor De. Bill would never let De go about being too old, and he used public and private venues to mercilessly (and lovingly) play with De's head. The classic story is the toaster at craft services during the last Trek film where De would toast his English Muffins. De would load the toaster with the muffins and wait joyously for the hot bread to pop out. Shatner would have Kelley distracted so he could sneak the muffin out of the toaster. So when De returned to the toaster and it popped up- nothing! Of course Bill used to harass Leonard over his bicycle, proving that to be loved by big Bill, is to be sabotaged by him!

Also of note was the Kelley's tremendous commitment to animal rights, years before the trendy animal rights groups appeared. For over 30 years they have supported North Shore Animal League, a not for profit animal shelter on Long Island's North Shore. One of two Kelley memorial funds set up will benefit the League. The person to contact if you are interested in making donations to this worthwhile cause:

Marge Stein DeForest Kelley Memorial Fund
North Shore Animal League
16 South St.
Port Washington, NY 11050

By the way, not surprisingly, DeForest was developing a Fellowship fund at a medical school - the prestigious Harvard Medical School, to be exact. Donations and information concerning making donations can be directed there to:

Mr. Timothy Welch DeForest Kelley Fellowhip Fund
Harvard Medical School
25 Shattuck St. # 306 A
Boston, Ma 02115

A review of the Kelleys' impact on us would not be complete without an acknowledgment of their extended family, which included Fancy, their beloved dog; the giant box turtle that lived in their backyard for years; picture perfect rose bushes; and most importantly, the members of the DeForest Kelley Fan Club, that great bunch of folks including Kris Smith who have looked out for the Kelleys over the years.

And let's not forget De's love of poetry, that late in life propelled him into three poetry cycles: Big Bird's Dream, The Dream Goes On, and The Dream Forever, which was a work in progress. What a thrill it was for us to package and produce the print version of those poems. De signed and personalized a bunch and we sold them as a limited edition in the 80s (I think!). I had fun picking old photos with Carolyn from De's contract days at Par for the collections. She even did the gorgeous calligraphy for the works.

This past April, it was the week before Grand Slam. I knew things were tenuous with De, but he didn't let on how serious his condition had become. I get a phone call from Bill Shatner, saying "De is very sick, in the hospital. He'll never make it to Grand Slam." Sure enough, I called De at the hospital, and in a faint voice he admitted that, yes, he wanted desperately to come, but no, he couldn't do it. My heart sank, knowing that this might be the last time I would talk to him. That turned out to be true.

He's now gone to that wagon train in the sky, and he's probably eating baked beans with Gene Roddenberry by a campfire somewhere. So let's all raise a glass high in the air and toast you, Jackson DeForest Kelley. May God rest your soul. We're gonna miss you. - Adam Malin

Over the past 30 years we've had the opportunity to present hundreds of celebrities to the public but it is relatively easy to say that DeForest really stood out for me.

We have all read the autobiographies of the rest of the original series cast and know that they were a particularly dysfunctional family group. Still, no one ever had a harsh word for De and I think, in many respects, he was the most treasured member of the cast for many of us.

Two special memories for me...

Some years ago we had the pleasure of presenting De, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy on stage together. It was to be a "royal" occasion and fans were coming from all over to be witness to the event. I thought it would be cool to write a skit that would introduce the three that would play off their legendary characters and personal friendship.

I figured it was probably going to be more of fun thing for me because there was the little matter of getting these three "biggies" to agree to what I had wrote. Sure enough, one by one, they agreed and the performance got the audience laughing in all the right places. But more than the actual performance, the incident that happened before is what touched me the most. DeForest made it a point to seek me out and tell me that he and the others really thought the piece was great. God, that meant an awful lot to me, and I now realize that I was the last writer that wrote dialogue for these three legends that were part of my childhood. To me, despite all the other casts that followed, nothing touches the work those three did in the feature films after all those years of the audience getting to know the characters and actors so deeply.

One other incident that stands out about De happened when I was hosting an appearance by him at an out of town convention and his plane arrived a couple of hours prior to his set schedule time. He arrived at the venue and while some other guests want to go right on, DeForest understood that the scheduled events built to his appearance.

He took the opportunity to stroll around town and grabbed a young Creation staffer to keep him company. This guy, new to Creation, didn't really know anything about Star Trek or De's show biz career and they spent the next hour talking about anything but. Despite a 50 year age difference, the Creation staffer told me that DeForest was just a wonderful, caring nice man. Indeed.

Oh, here's the piece that I wrote. As you can see I gave De the last word.

EMCEE: Ladies and Gentlemen, DeForest Kelley.

KELLEY enters.

KELLEY: One of the greatest things about STAR TREK is the close friendships I've made over the past 30 years. So now, it's my great pleasure to introduce the star of STAR TREK, a gentleman whose success is unparalleled: an actor, writer, director. He's starred in many TV series and films, recorded albums as a singer, and also is a proud grandfather. Best of all, he's my closest personal friend....

SHATNER & NIMOY BOTH ENTER from opposite wings.

SHATNER: Leonard, what are you doing out here?

NIMOY: De just introduced me.

SHATNER: What are you talking about? He introduced ME! (grabs intro speech off De's podium) See it says, "An actor...."

NIMOY SHRUGS shoulders and looks at audience

SHATNER (continuing) "...... a writer....."

NIMOY picks up his book "I AM SPOCK' off stage table and shows audience.

SHATNER picks up a BOX of his books and shows audience.

SHATNER (continuing) ".....a director...."

SHATNER holds up FIVE FINGERS and points to them with the other hand.

NIMOY holds up BOTH hands towards audience, one with THREE FINGERS, one with FOUR and raises eyebrow.

SHATNER (continuing) De said "... a star of many TV series and films...."




SHATNER: Because you left out ZOMBIES OF THE STRATOSPHERE. (hold for laugh) "... recorded albums as a singer....."?

NIMOY: Let's skip that.

SHATNER (looking at paper) ".... proud grandfather...."

SHATNER pulls out little photo out of is pocket and shows audience.

NIMOY picks up huge POSTERBOARD on stage, turns it over to reveal a HUGE BLOW-UP of his many grandchildren!

KELLEY (incredulous) I can't believe you guys would be arguing over this. If you don't stop, I'm going to write my book about what really happened over all those years.

NIMOY and SHATNER put their hands over their mouths.

KELLEY: Finally, after all these years I get the last word. Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of my equally brilliant, equally best friends, thank you for being with us today. - Gary Berman

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