12 Actors Who Screwed Up Their Big TV Chances By Getting Fired

11. Grace Lee Whitney - Star Trek

Star Trek has a complicated production history but, by 1966, a permanent cast was in place including actress Grace Lee Whitney, who played Yeoman Janice Rand, James T. Kirk's space-age secretary and potential sexy love interest. But Whitney ultimately only appeared in eight episodes of the show before being fired. Creator Gene Roddenberry claimed Whitney was fired due to budget cutback. Whitney claimed that, as one of three female cast members, one had to be fired and, since the other two were an African-American woman and Roddenberry's wife respectively, she was the natural choice. Whitney has also claimed that she was sexually assaulted by an unnamed executive on the show and that she was fired a few days after the incident. Others have pointed to Whitney's abuse of alcohol and diet pills as factors for her firing. In any case, bitter over being fired from Star Trek, Whitney's alcohol abuse deepened after her departure from Star Trek, but she eventually sought treatment and was invited back to the Star Trek universe for the 1979 film Star Trek: The Motion Picture; the damage to her career had been done, however, and she's never been remembered in the same light as her more famous co-stars. She subsequently appeared in three more of the Star Trek films and an episode of Star Trek: Voyager.
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Christopher A. Rothbauer is a freelance writer who specializes in nostalgic television and B-movies. His current project is the blog Saved by the Bell...Reviewed!, which reviews every episode of the Saved by the Bell franchise one week at a time. He lives in the southern Indiana suburbs of Louisville, Kentucky.