DeForest Kelley’s Assistant Talks New Book and Karl Urban

Kristine M. Smith was a fan who became a friend and personal assistant to to DeForest Kelley, the original Dr. McCoy. Smith has already written one memoir on Kelley, and in an interview with the Australian Newsletter SciFi Reporter she announced she is working on another where she wants fan to submit stories. Smith also opined on how new Dr. McCoy, Karl Urban as some big shoes to fill.

Smith on Urban:

The Sci Fi Reporter: Karl Urban is to play Dr McCoy in the upcoming Star Trek film, is there an aspect of Dr McCoy you would like to see portrayed?

Kristine M Smith: Karl has very large shoes to fill. Trying to capture the essence of McCoy again will be quite a daunting task because he was subtly and not so subtly, so many things to so many people… Bones was all over the place as a character… from tender to tough to humorous to haunting, from confused and nervous to utterly prepared to die to save someone else. I pray Urban has the time of his life, because I know De did in the role.

Smith on her new Kelley memoir:

SFR: Are you currently working on any new projects Kris?

KS: Yes, I am working on two books. The first is another DeForest Kelley book titled THE ENDURING LEGACY OF DeFOREST KELLEY: ACTOR, HEALER, FRIEND. I am seeking submissions from friends, fans and co-workers who knew or met De for this volume, because I envision the book as a “keepsake memento” from the people who knew De (or who just loved him and/or interacted with him from afar) to De’s newest fans, those that fell for him as a result of the re-mastered and re-released original series episodes. The new fans never had a chance to see him on stage, or to meet him or to read an interview with him in a magazine, so this new book is my attempt to get those of us who knew or heard or saw him to be able to confirm that he was genuinely as wonderful human being as people say he was. I’ve already received about a dozen submissions and several of them have had me in tears… It will be a fantastic book, and I encourage more submissions. The deadline to submit is March 5, 2009. And don’t worry if you’re not a writer, if you do want to submit a remembrance or anecdote. I will edit and we’ll work on it together until you feel it’s exactly the way it should be from your perspective.
Send your submissions to me at KRISTINEMSMITH AT MSN DOT COM.

The rest of the interview with Smith can be found in the latest SciFi Reporter Newsletter The SciFi Reporter is put out by Terra Nova Events, for more info visit their site.

You can also visit Smith’s blog.

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i love bones!!!! hes me in ten years

#2, aye.

Bones is my my future, Sulu is my wallpaper on my computer.

He was a wonderful actor and a very kind and gracious person

Good luck Karl! Huge shoes to fill.

DK as Bones is legend, especially at 137 years old!

we miss you De!! he is going to be a tough act to follow and as she says his character was all over the place. theres never been that much in the way of interviews and he seemed to be a very quiet and gentle man.

i think karl urban has a lot of respect for deforest and the bones character so im optimistic that he can to some extent recreate and add something else. i hope de is happy with this. i wonder what he would make of it!


I saw him in Raintree County the other day. It was really weird not seeing him in a Starfleet uniform, but in a Confederate one. His southern accent really shined in this one. All around great performance for him even though his screen time was short.

RIP De Kelley, you were a true southern gentleman!

I was lucky enough to see him in Oakland, California many years back, and De was just as sweet and nice as everyone says. I was also lucky enough to get his autograph! Bones was the glue that held the three of them together, keeping things grounded with a compassionate humanitarian anchor. Dammit, Jim!

I miss De….the classiest actor to ever set foot on the Enterprise….

Wish I could’ve met him. He’s my favourite. We love you, De. RIP. :'(

De Kelley was, from what I gather, the one universally popular actor on the Star Trek set, the guy who got along famously with everyone from “The Shat” to Walter Koenig. Even the cantakerous Harlan Ellison once allowed that McCoy was the one Enterprise crew member he’d enjoy having a drink with (except that Ellison doesn’t drink).

When he passed, Majel Barett was inconsolable, stating “Aside from Gene, this is the greatest loss Star Trek will ever have.”

He was a true Southern gentleman, in the best sense of both words.

De deserves every honor.

Kristine Smith’s book on De Kelly was unreadable, UN-READ-ABLE .
It is too bad that she did not employ a professional writer. De Kelly was such a private man and to have the only biography on him be hers is a real shame.

#13 Actually, there’s another biography of De Kelley around, wich I’m lucky enough to own. “From Sawdust to Stardust” by Terry Lee Rioux. I strongly recommend it to all the McCoy and Kelley fans out there. Very well written, very touching (especially the end), and very enlightening.

I haven’t read the biography by Smith, don’t know if I ever will. I’m very content with Rioux’s bio of De.

As for Karl Urban having big shoes to fill, well, I think he will be awesome :-)

Great actor who made Bones a great character. I hope Urban can capture everything we love about this iconic role.

#2 “Bones is my future”

Hey, eventually we ALL turn into bones, don’t we?

Wish I had met DeForest Kelley, but I was out of fandom until after his death…oh well, didn’t hinder me to become an obsessed fan (see my URL) :) Let’s hope the new book will be good, because I’ll surely buy it.

Here’s to you, De! *toasts*

Oh man. What she said in the second quote, about the new fans who never got a chance to meet him or even see him on stage, that really hits home. McCoy is far and away my favorite Star trek character, and sometimes it just comes over me what a loss it was that I didn’t know sooner just what I was missing. Now that I do know, it’s too late to do anything. There’s nothing I can do, and it’s just sad. I’d like to read either of DeForest Kelley’s bios someday, maybe try and get them from the library. At least it’s something. :(

And godspeed to Karl Urban, he really does have a heck of a job in front of him. It’s nice that everyone seems to be warming up to him, if the thread the other day is any indication. I remember how at first, he was one of the choices that left people scratching their heads but it seems like he’s much more accepted now. Hope he’s encouraged, too.

#2, I’ve got McCoy as my desktop picture. :)

‘Hey, eventually we ALL turn into bones, don’t we?’


I will never forget the adrenaline rush I experienced when he turned up in the TNG pilot. From that moment on I was hooked.

I never met the man but from everything I have read, he seemed like a real class act. We salute you out here in the midwest, sir!

Another remarkable De Kelley detail, he was married to his wife Carolyn for 54 years until his death. Apparently he enjoyed reporting updates to Shatner and Nimoy: same wife!


And they both probably replied: “Lucky bastard!”

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

this new book is NOT CANNON!!!!!

well if karl can be 25% as good as dee i will be happy. de was a class act all around and i loved him in startrek. i loved his acting as the bad guy in the old westerns he played. he was an amazing actor and a great human and an ambassador for all thats good in people. rip dee we all miss you.

yes – we all miss you!!!

My first book on De, DeForest Kelley: A Harvest of Memories, is not a biography. It’s a personal memoir. I apologize to all those who bought the book thinking it was a biography. I took great pains in interviews to be sure the interviewer called it a memoir, but a few insisted on continuing to call it a biography. Those who were disappointed in the book were the ones expecting a bio. FROM SAWDUST TO STARDUST, by Terry Rioux, is the real bio. My book is a series of anecdotes about my association with the Kelleys. Most of the reviewers at Amazon gave it 5-star reviews. You can find out more about it at:

Again, I apologize to anyone who was disappointed by my effort to memorlialize De in the best way I knew how.

I think this guy seemed to be such a genuine individual who comes into your life every now and then!! People who knew him said that he really was like that.

A Harvest of Memories – The Book review can be read by visiting and click on the interviews tab.

All the best from Downunder!

Starship Mawson
Australian Star Trek fan club

To read the full interview with Kristine Smith in the latest issue of The Sci Fi Reporter – Australia’s Sci Fi E- Newsletter..

You can subscribe (it’s free!) by contacting or visit

I’m sure Karl will bring his own take on Bones McCoy.

Face it, each character is reborn in a new actor. If you want DeForest (which is fine & great) rent a vid.

He was probably my favorite character growing up with Star Trek because he was perhaps the most human, strong, yet vulnerable.

Karl Urban & Chris Pine are not playing Kelley & Shatner.

Respect the past. Embrace the future.

– Bones was all over the place as a character… from tender to tough to humorous to haunting, from confused and nervous to utterly prepared to die to save someone else. –

This is a perfect characterization. Kirk, Spock, and Bones are equally essential characters, and Kelley always delivered brilliantly and in the most memorable way.

Kristine, thanks a lot for sharing your memories with us!

my favorite character in Star Trek and although i never had the privilege to meet him personally, my friends had and said he was a beautiful person. we miss you!!!

Karl Urban Played a malevolent Caesar on Xena for 6 years and he did it well!,…. then he played Eomer in The Lord of The Rings trilogy well, a rather small and thankless part though it made of him compared to the Books,
but I liked him, and most especially as the “baddy” he played on Xena!, which is not unlike how Deforest Kelly played the “baddy” in the westerns,
of the 1950’s, before he played “the good guy” on Star Trek in the late sixties through STVI TUC in the early 1990’s!

So I am very hopeful indeed about Karl Urban, he has range and great skills as an actor!


Don’t take to heart any rude criticism from people here, a few are of the type that care nothing to snipe at others behind their anonimity. Personal insights from a close friend are more important than a slickly-written manuscript, and it never hurts to have more than one book on a beloved person like De.

Dear Ms Smith,

I am so sorry I was confusing your book with Terry Rioux’s bio on Deforest Kelly. I have not read your book. It was my mistake in getting the two books confused. I will certainly check it out as I am a big Fan of De’s work and would enjoying reading a your accounts of working with him and Carolyn.

Again I am so sorry to have confused your book with Terry Rioux’s biography.


Dr. McCoy’s sarcasm was very funny! In ST6, even when on trial with General Chang he got in a few quick oneliners. No one was funnier in ST3 than him. TOS always had him going toe to toe with Kirk verbally and convincingly. WHen Kirk was being a prick, Bones always leaned into him. Superior officer or not!!

My son and I met Mr. Kelly at a Star Trek convention in Chicago around the time Star Trek VI came out. (maybe a year or so… I don’t remember).

What a gracious, kind and humorous man he was! I envy anyone who has half the charm he had. He spoke fondly of the entire cast and Gene Roddenberry… and especially of his wife. He had the audience in tears talking about his long and happy marriage.

Many may not know this, but he enjoyed writing poems… and the younger audience members probably never saw his numerous pre-TREK performances where he more often than not, was the bad guy… (you always knew who the bad guys were back then– they wore black). ;-)

They don’t make stars (and he would never call himself that) like him anymore.

Mr. Kelly was a great “heavy” and a lovable good guy, too.

BTW–Has anyone else noticed a Charlie Rose(PBS)/Dr. McCoy similarity?

34. Get a life pal.

Speak for yourself. This is TrekMovie … get with the views of ‘everyone’.

People respect Mr Kelley, can’t you read that.

Are you suggesting some are critical? I personally support the crew of the new movie. That includes all the respected / established actors and artists involved.

Some people speak like they ‘own’ things, Welcome to democracy friend.

How orginal. I pity people like you 39. If you truly respected the memory of Mr Kelley you would not post such a thing that we both know will only lead to hurt feelings and possible further flaming. Don’t understand why what you posted is such a problem? I wonder what you read in 34’s post (yes I read it twice trying to figure it out) that was so bad you had to finds fault with?

Now I fully expect you to post against me and attack me. Shame I don’t bother reading replies when I do post online. It has proven a waste of my time.

Bye Pal. And YOU get a life ok? You got off easy this time kid.

Did you reply to a subsequently deleted post? ‘Cause I can’t see anything in #34’s post that would prompt such a reaction.

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista :-|

#41–Wow. This is the LAST thread I would have guessed to be susceptible to harsh words or flaming. I hope that was the extent of it. Any thread dedicating to discussing such a man or a tribute to his work like this book does not deserve to be so disrespectfully polluted.

I miss the original “Bones”, and from what I have read—-so does everyone who knew DeForest Kelley, and the kind of man he was off camera. Watching “Where No Man Has Gone Before” always leaves me with the feeling that something is missing from the dynamics of the show. Figuring out what it is requires little effort…thank the stars that Gene recognized what was missing and found it in Mr. Kelley.

McCoy was the human soul of the big three, and we can all thank Mr. Kelley for bringing that to life as we continue to mourn his passing.

Sorry, I apologise for my very poor behaviour. Please consider removing my out-of-line comments. Sorry again.

Most important similarity between us all here is that we all love Star Trek and DeForest Kelley!

Best wishes to you all


I’m relieved and happy to hear that you confused my book (a memoir, DeFOREST KELLEY: A HARVEST OF MEMORIES) with Rioux’s (a biography, FROM SAWDUST TO STARDUST) and that you will NOW give my book a try. It’s very different and mostly lots of fun — except at the end, of course, where it’s sad (alas, no miracle recovery for our beloved De)!

That said, I do believe that Rioux’s book fills in so many blanks about De’s life and pre-Trek career struggles. I feel very strongly that reading both books gives fans as well-rounded a look at the man and his times as is possible to glean at this late date.

While Rioux’s book is much more scholarly and academic (she is an academic, a professor, after all), she did a terrific job of tying the available facts together into a cohesive narrative, in my opinion. Her tome, FROM SAWDUST TO STARDUST, isn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, to be considered easy reading — it takes patience and tenacity — where my book is a lark to read (except at the end, where living it out was as far from a lark as you can get)… but with the tenuous threads Rioux had to work with, she did an amazing job! She spent months traveling and researching in public and private libraries, and interviewing all who would agree to speak with her. The threads of Kelley’s life were not well-documented. (As one librarian told Rioux, genuinely good people don’t often have as much “detritus” in their files worth keeping around — no bad behaviors, drunken brawls, spouse abuse, ungentlemanly conduct, and the like — so they fly under the radar and their files remain slim.)

I’m very sorry you found her book “unreadable.” Others who have read it have delighted in it. Perhaps after you read mine you may want to give hers a go again and see if the new perspective and insights from mine make Rioux’s book more engaging than it seemed to be to you before.

It pains me when I learn that fans can leave “an encounter with De” (in book form) disappointed or unhappy. That is never the intent of any author. I can only pray that readers and fans will remember that and do their best to express their displeasure with less heat and more light. (In physician’s terms: “Do no harm.”) People’s feelings matter — and authors are people, too.

Rioux poured her heart and soul into her book, and I believe De would have loved the book and that he would have been astonished by all the subtle details and elements she was able to uncover. Some of it seems rather mystical, but being a spiritual man, De would have appreciated even that and been impressed. (The sun rotating across Myrtle the Turtle’s shell, for example, would have given him a grin a mile wide.)

Where one book misses the target and your expectations, another might be a bulls-eye, and may well encourage you to give the “disappointing” book a re-read to see what you missed the first time around.

Again, my thanks for allowing me (and others) to know that it was not my book that disappointed you. (At least, it hasn’t YET!)

God bless!

The actual deadline for the SECOND edition of ENDURING LEGACY is March 5, 2011. There is still time to contribute. Please let everyone know! Thanks!