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 Samantha Pitts:


Hello Kris,

Within the past week, I’ve both read and listened to your wonderful memoir of DeForest Kelley. I read with an intensity of focus, slaking a thirst I didn’t really know I had. So many things about this experience provoked a deep sense of gratitude that prompts me to write a few words of thanks. Your words pulled me in and I was there. The magical almost fairy tale account of your meeting with the Kelley’s and the evolving relationship with them. Getting to really know DeForest and having my perception of what kind of person he was validated. Discovering the gem that was Carolyn. The humor, wit and shenanigans from you and the gang of the DKFC and the Kelley’s themselves. The absolute love, the respect, and sheer tenderness woven throughout. And, so much more that I don’t quite have the words to express everything right now. But it seems important to at least let you know. So instead of being asleep in bed by now I am still up finishing this note to say thank you , thank you, thank you for sharing.

Warm regards,

Samantha Pitts




Please follow and like us: