DeForest Kelley: Up Close and Personal Reviews

This book gives a beautiful insight to just what wonderful human beings DeForest and Carolyn Kelley were and how much love filled their hearts. Kristine gives a very detailed account of her friendship with the Kelleys, making the reader feel as though they're living right through her memories. It made me laugh, it made my heart break with tears, and it made me love DeForest more than I thought possible. The devotion Kristine gave to not only caring for DeForest, but also his his wife Carolyn, is nothing short of amazing. There are so many touching moments in this book that it's impossible not to become emotional. Kelley never did get to write an autobiography, but I feel this book is the closest thing to one I could ever hope for. This is a must-read for any Star Trek fan, and especially for any DeForest fan out there. – Heather Brown

I got it Monday night and by Wednesday night I had read it from cover to cover. A delightful book. I have been a Trekker since the beginning. I have books by all the original stars. Kris' book is by far the best I have seen. I was really involved with the story content. I was with Kris through all the ups and downs. This is the one book that had me crying by the end. DeForest Kelley was one of my favorites! A truly kind and compassionate man. I loved getting to know him as Kris did. Kris's book made the experience real for me. – Mickey C. Bishop

I think many of us have no real conception of what kind of people movie and television stars are, how they live, or what kinds of friends they have. Our views are jaded by the seemingly never-ending sensational bits that come out of Hollywood, tales of excess well beyond any the rest of us can imagine much less indulge in. Many stars have wild reputations, which are often deserved. Many times I have read about the behavior of some of our biggest stars and thought how stupid they must be to squander what they have been so fortunate to obtain, that fame and fortune seems so wasted on them.

Then there are the very few actors who have the reputation of quiet dignity and warm graciousness; actors that we respect not just for their acting ability but for their humanity. DeForest Kelly was one of those actors.

In all the years I have been a Star Trek fan (over 30), I have never read or heard so much as a rumor that DeForest Kelly was anything except a complete gentleman, a kind and caring individual for whom the role of Dr. McCoy was a natural. This despite the fact that he was, for years, typecast as a villain.

Kristine M. Smith's book gives us a look into the lives of Mr. Kelly and his wife Carolyn from the perspective of a fan turned friend turned aide and confidant. Along the way, Ms. Smith shares aspects of her life as well, which is appropriate considering the intertwining of her life with the Kelly's.

I found the book to be a page-turner, and could not put it down once I started reading it. --Ronald R. Allen Jr.

Whether you are a DeForest Kelley fan who followed him to Star Trek, or admirer Dr.Leonard McCoy and followed him into the helping professions as I did, to truly get to know this quietly courageous and dedicated "country doctor" you have to read Kristine Smith's "A Harvest Of Memories". In it you will meet a man who possessed that extremely rare kind of courage, someone who dared to be who he really was, without the protective shell that most of us use. In an often heartbreaking universe Mr. Kelley was strong enough and brave enough to remain kind, compassionate, and caring to his fellow man [and animals !]. His only protective "shield" was the love of his wife of over fifty years, his few close friends, and the deep affection of his legion of fans. Kris Smith's book shows us a man with inherent goodness and human decency, in a profession not known for those qualities, who did indeed survive and prosper.

Reading this moving and heartfelt memoir I came to understand why Dr. Leonard McCoy's compassion, humanity, and fervent commitment to his patients [and his friends: "Dammit Jim..."] had always seemed so very real. It's because they were real; they were the mirror reflections of the man standing firmly behind the image of Dr. McCoy. In "Harvest" you get to meet him in an up close and personal way that few were privileged to experience, for he was a very private man. He would not write his own autobiography, although many of the Star Trek cast did.....Somehow that is not surprising. This book is not a biography. It is much more personal than that. In the newly released "From Sawdust To Stardust" Terry Lee Rioux calls Kris Smith DeForest and Carolyn Kelley's daughter. As this memoir unfolds you will see why. And you'll watch a very special relationship develop, over time and distance, joy and trial, triumph and tragedy, all the way to the very edge of that "Undiscovered Country". For those of us who have accompanied a loved one on the first part of that final journey, Kris' description of the love, pain, sorrow and joy, will ring very will the ultimate decision to love someone enough to let them go on ahead.

Thus, if you would like to meet and get to know DeForest Kelley....or Leonard H. should really read both books: "A Harvest Of Memories" and "From Sawdust To Stardust". They allowed me to meet one of the role models of my youth [for the good doctor was an empathetic and caring counselor long before starships carried a mental health crew]. I read Kris' memoir first....I was hooked.....And I agree with Mr. Spock regarding the future: "There are always possibilities." ["He's not dead Jim."] – B.R Walker

I have a copy of this book, and I have read it many times. This book has become one of my favorites. I laughed and cried through out this book as I've read it. It's very heartwarming, sad and heartbreaking in the end. Actually Hollywood should make a movie about this book. I know I would buy a ticket to see it. Great job Ms. Kristine. - Diane R. McAdams

This is the most real book I have read in years. In the 1960s, I saw DeKelley in a lot of westerns, but it was StarTrek that I loved. This book by Kris Smith is just so cool on so many levels as you not only get a look into the life of De, but you get Kris, her serval cat, De’s wife, and many more who knew him, and the more you learn about him, the more you not only realize why you loved him, but you see why everyone who really knew him loved, respected him, will think of him often, and will miss him sorely. Kristine Smith wrote a great book. If you loved De, you will love this too, so get it,read it, and SMILE. -- J.R.Love

I picked up this book, like many others, because I wanted to learn more about De Kelley, a long-time favorite of mine. I have to admit as I started it, I wasn't sure what to expect because it was written very much from a fan's POV and I wasn't interested in another fan mag...but I kept reading, and I thought it was really neat because this fan became close to the Kelley's, who had no children of their own, and ended up as De's caregiver when he died. The author shared the good times and the bad, even the uncomfortable moments...and she was someone I think we could all relate too. This book gave me an in-depth knowledge of the wonderful man De was...a fresh break from "the usual" in Hollywood. Towards the end, I found the book mirroring my own life as my grand-father, whom raised me, was dying of cancer. This book helped me know what to expect as I acted as a caregiver of sorts to my papa. I finished the book about a month or so before my papa died and I truly believed it helped give me strength and I wasn't alone in the world in what I was going through. It became just as much a book about dealing with the loss of a loved one from cancer as it did an ode to De Kelley. I think the author said it best when she said "caring for a loved one who is dying is the most unsettling but at the same time most rewarding thing a person can do." - Stacey L. Cook

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


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!)


Nick Charles