DeForest Kelley Up Close and Personal: A Harvest of Memories from the Fan Who Knew Him Best
If not for a question I couldn’t answer back in 2000, this book probably would never have been written.
When DeForest Kelley’s biographer Terry Lee Rioux asked me, “How did you go from being a fan—on the outermost reaches of fandom—to being at Mr. Kelley’s bedside when he died?” I was struck speechless. Finally, I responded, “I have no idea. That’s something only De could answer. I can’t speak for him.”
Terry persisted: “You know the answer. You just have to connect the dots…”
The question pestered me. My 30-plus year association with DeForest Kelley had all just seemed so miraculous to me. That’s because I still hadn’t come to grips with the reality that De and Carolyn Kelley weren’t just being kind to one of their most ardent fans. I had become a friend.
Terry’s question led me to re-visit the scores of journals and four behemoth three-ring binders that I had filled with the conversations I had painstakingly recorded after each visit and call. You wouldn’t think—as crazy about the Kelley's as I was—that I would have forgotten a single moment. But I had.
This is how I discovered, for the very first time, the path that our friendship took.
My hope is that my memories will bring you as close to meeting “the real McCoy” up close and personal as I was blessed to experience.
Email from recent reader Nick Charles:
Hi there Kris,
I just wanted to touch base with you to tell you what a wonderful job you did with your "up close and personal" book. I just finished it in one sitting...and I'm not the fastest reader. And I came away with the feeling that I was on your adventure with you and the Kelleys. He truly was an amazing individual, as you are.
What happened with Carolyn after De passed? I just felt as if I got to know them both posthumously....and yea, I cried several times. It is a credit to your story telling thru good and not so good times.
I relate so much to loss of your mother....I had a similar situation with my mom and it brought back a lot of memories.
I know you've heard it before but it bears repeating.....thank you for all you did for the Kelley's and for putting in such a fabulous book!
Since I've read your book I found a couple of interviews with you on different podcasts and YouTube sites. You are just incredible! I loved hearing your recounts of some of your experiences with the Kelley's. You do have a talent to tell stories with enthusiasm and energy that almost makes it seem as if it just happened and the Kelley's are still with us. (I kind of think they still are in a way...."they're really not dead as long as we remember them"...paraphrasing from ST II)
You know you really are an angel. The Kelley's were correct. It struck me when I heard you say something like, "the Kelley's did so much for me, how could I ever repay them, but helping them at the end of their lives was a way to do that". It did bring a tear to my eyes. They were very lucky to have had you in their corner....and you were pretty lucky too I guess.
I did read Terry's book, ("Sawdust to Stardust") which I thought did a wonderful job, I just wanted your take on Carolyn and Myrtle.
I'm also going to check out Yellow Balloon Publications. (I feel a bit obsessed at this point!)