|De in a shoot for TV Guide: June 1968, post-S2|
De passed away 15 years ago today, on June 11, 1999, at age 79, of stomach cancer—an affliction known only to a few (and certainly not me). Caring for his beloved and ailing wife Carolyn, it was De instead who passed away first—and, likewise, preceded all his Trek colleagues from their TV crew. After Gene's death in 1991, it was Jimmy who followed next in 2005 and then Majel in late 2008.
As for De... well, I can't believe it's already been five years now, but I've been blogging long enough that it was actually the tenth anniversary of his passing when I shared the story of how I learned the news of his death—in a typically Star Trek way: at a convention.
De's subsequent memorial at Paramount, and our DFK tribute issue of Communicator—the favorite of my eight years as managing editor—are bittersweet memories, too. The recent passing of his friend and Paramount icon A.C. Lyles, who prompted De's last public appearance eight months before his death and talked of him in our DFK issue, revived many of those memories and feelings as well. Of course, playing McCoy twice for Star Trek Continues in a serious vein, after years of "party impersonations" in fun, felt like it brought me even closer to what made De tick—if you didn't have a clue from Terry Rioux's long-awaited 2005 biography, From Sawdust to Stardust.
So... it's 15 years since we lost De. If you're as big a fan as I am, you should know that his longtime assistant and author, Kris Smith, is taking part in a typically open online tribute to De that you too can attend this Saturday at 5:30 pm PT/ 8:30 ET on Google+ . I'm going to "attend" as well during the hour, and potentially other Trek notables.
You can even submit questions for the virtual panel at the Q&A app at the Google+ group created for the event by fan Brandon Cowles: the "In Memory and Honor of DeForest Kelley" Facebook page.
As with a trial run last week, the whole thing will also be streamed live on YouTube here and then recorded for download later.
Come over Saturday and bask in some memories and reflected glow of the great and humble De himself... or catch it when you can.