Happy birthday, De! And what could have been: your career as a model

Here it is — another Jan. 20, and you longtime Treklanders know what that means:

Another homage to my guy, my original Star Trek fave, Dr. McCoy’s own DeForest Kelley, on his memorial birthday. Happy 103rd!

I’ve done this ever since we started Trekland back in the Fallow Times, in 2009 — and I’ve usually shared a rarer shot of De from his pre- and non-McCoy roles and moments.* I always wanted to equalize out how Kirk and Spock always got all the attention — at least in the early years — among the ”holy trinity” of Trek.

But nothing is set in stone, and thankfully Star Trek has swung back since the Aughts — not only into mere existence, but into outright “bustin’ out all over.” Nearly every week of the year!

So we have so many new and more recent fans, all finding new faves in all the flavors of recent series, that it’s already a new layer on top of all the legacy heroes from “the Berman era.”

So ALL that to say … when people ask me my fave these days, I just stick with De. I mean, I *know* a lot of these folks, or I’m in the process of meeting our newest talents. So many of them are well-rounded incredible forces for good, well worth knowing outside the stage. As was De.

I mean, how can you even pick a favorite these days, and after 55 years?

So this year—nope, not a shot from his rogue’s gallery of Western baddies: How about De the model instead? (Full shot below!)

At least that’s what Paramount was going for when they teamed up to plop De into a photo shoot with some starlets in early 1946, since his very first Paramount film Fear In The Night (currently free on Amazon Prime!) was yet to debut in the next year— his first of 119 non-Trek film and TV roles).

So why not team him up here in this goofy shoot co-sponsored by Catalina and other designers with Gail Russell, her own film Calcutta then on the eve of its premiere… in what would be a tragic life.

But this isn’t even a Catalina ad! It’s just all part of the studio PR machine cranking out imagery for its newest signed actors, back in the old “studio system” of exclusive actor contracts, and “young” ones like returning veteran De (here at 27) were all too happy to get their launch support.


(The fact that he was already nearly two years into a happy lifelong marriage with wife Caroline didn’t need to be mentioned in the star tabloids, of course!)


*And thanks to the interwebs, once I post them they’re suddenly not so rare!

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