Jackson DeForest Kelley was born on 20 January 1920, in Toccoa, Georgia USA, and was a singer, actor, poet, and screenwriter, probably best known for being part of the television and film series “Star Trek” as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. All of his efforts helped put his net worth to where it was prior to his passing.
How rich was DeForest Kelley? As of early-2017, sources estimate a net worth that was at $5 million, earned through a successful career in acting which spanned over 50 years, and more than 100 titles on the big screen and TV, all of which helped ensure the position of his wealth.
DeForest Kelley Net Worth $5 million
At a young age, DeForest was already developing his musical talents and it led to him appearing on the radio station WSB AM. He got regular radio work, and this would earn him an engagement with Lew Forbes. In 1934, Kelley attended Decatur Boys High School and would play with the school’s baseball team. He also played other sports, but spent his free time working. In 1943, he enlisted in the US Army Air Forces during World War II, and was assigned to the First Motion Picture Unit, which convinced him to pursue a career in acting. He was then discovered by Paramount Pictures while doing a US Navy training film.
Kelley’s first feature film would be the low budget “Fear in the Night”, but which became a hit. He started gaining popularity, and he would be cast in “Variety Girl” , so starting to increase his net worth. He got a role in “You Are There” and would then appear in an episode of “The Lone Ranger”, followed by a string of projects including “Warlock”, “Raintree County” and “The Silent Service” in which he played the lead role of a submarine captain in World War II. In 1955, he appeared in “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” before becoming part of the film “You Are There”. Other projects he was part of include “The Fugitive”, “Route 66” and “Perry Mason”. He mostly played villains, but he showcased an extensive list of differing acting credits.
He was offered the role of Spock in “Star Trek” but refused it, opting instead to play Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy” from 1966 to 1968. He would then reprise the role in “Star Trek: The Animated Series” as well as the first six “Star Trek” films from 1979 to 1991. He also had a cameo appearance in the first episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. Thanks to the popularity of the show, his net worth increased significantly, and he became one of the stars of the show.
After “Star Trek’, Kelley fell into typecasting and had very few appearances in other films and series. Despite this, he still earned a significant amount of money thanks to various “Star Trek” projects. Later in life, he also focused on writing poetry books. He started a series entitled “The Big Bird’s Dream”, but which he didn’t get to finish.
For his personal life, DeForest was married to Carolyn Dowling from 1945 until his passing in 1999 from stomach cancer. He was cremated and his ashes was spread in the Pacific Ocean. In an interview, he stated that it was good to hear that many fans were inspired to become doctors thanks to his portrayal of Dr. McCoy.
The American Ephemeris for the 20th Century shows that the sun did not enter the star sign Aquarius until 8:04 am Greenwich Mean Time, January 21st 1920. This would mean that a birth date of Jan. 20th, 1920 Eastern Standard Time (Toccoa, GA, USA) at any point in the day would make DeForest Kelley a Capricorn, and not an Aquarius.
Pictured as the character Dr. Leonard McCoy on one of a set of five Canadian commemorative postage stamps celebrating the 50th anniversary of the television series Star Trek (1966), issued May 5, 2016. Price on day of issue was 85¢. Other stamps in the set honored William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, James Doohan and John Colicos.
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on December 18, 1991.
He was an extremely low-key and private individual who preferred not to seek leading roles and not to be involved in the Hollywood lifestyle.
When Star Trek (1966) first aired, he had - unlike most of his co-stars - already been a professional actor for more than 20 years (although he did not look that at the time, he was more than a decade older than most of the cast).
He was very shy by nature and did not like appearing at conventions or doing television interviews.
He was very happy to learn in later years that his character Dr. McCoy had inspired many young people to become physicians.
He was the most well-liked of the Star Trek (1966) cast and the only one that no one had a feud with at any point.
He had English and Scots-Irish (Northern Irish) ancestry.
He had originally wanted to be a doctor.
The oldest cast member of the original Star Trek (1966) series.
Attended and graduated from Decatur High School in Decatur, Georgia (1936).
Inspired many fans to take up medicine. He and his wife visited one of them after graduating from medical school, after receiving an invitation.
Had a great love of poetry, both reading and writing that. Later in life, he used to charm Star Trek convention audiences with three poems about Gene Roddenberry ("The Great Bird of the Galaxy") and the Star Trek franchise. They were called "The Big Bird's Dream", "The Dream Goes On" and "The Dream Forever".
The tagline "I'm a doctor, not a..." has been quoted in almost every incarnation of Star Trek (1966) on film and television.
Shortly after Mr. Kelley's passing, "He's dead, Jim" was forever memorialized by being added in tribute to Dr. McCoy for two 1999 video games: StarCraft: Brood War (1998) and Shatner-oids, a spoof of the classic Atari game "Asteroids".
A veteran of television and film Westerns, he has portrayed two different participants in the legendary 1881 O.K. Corral gunfight between the Earps and the Clantons. In 1955, he played Ike Clanton in an episode of the television series You Are There (1953), and in 1957, he played Morgan Earp in the film Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957). On Star Trek (1966), the USS Enterprise away team beam onto a planet and he again finds himself at the O.K. Corral, playing Tom McLaury.
Was the first primary cast member from the original Star Trek (1966) series to pass away.
He told close friends that he always felt more comfortable in Westerns than science fiction.
Reportedly disliked doing Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973) because he was never recording his lines at the same time as William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. Kelley did not like this because he never got to interact with them and develop any rapport, which made reading his lines all the more difficult.
Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy on Star Trek (1966) and six of the Star Trek films
Catchphrase: "It's worse than that, he's dead, Jim!" (When Captain Kirk inquired as to the health status of a being or patient who was in bad shape)
Catchphrase: "I'm a Doctor, not a..." said whenever McCoy was forced to do something he was unfamiliar with.
[to William Shatner, on his deathbed] Let's make just one more Star Trek movie! I sure miss making those movies!
I thoroughly enjoyed those years. I liked Westerns for two reasons: First, it took the actor outside. They were all very physical at that time and not limited to a stage. Second, they paid my rent an awful lot.
I'm very grateful for the career that I've had. And I'm very grateful for the experiences that Star Trek has afforded me along with my past background. When I look back and think how fortunate I've been to work with some wonderful people and had some marvelous experiences, then I can look at Star Trek and think it's almost like the cream on the coffee. I don't approach it as anything but a magnificent plus.
[on the Star Trek (1966) fans] They're the most devoted group of people and contrary to what people think, they don't have antennae coming out of their heads.
[on his life] I'd wanted to become a doctor and couldn't - yet became the best known doctor in the galaxy.
[on why he chose to play Dr. McCoy instead of Mr. Spock on Star Trek (1966)] I wouldn't have been anywhere near Leonard Nimoy. He's marvelous.