January 20

DeForest Kelley

January 20, 1920 - Atlanta, Decatur

Star Trek only ran three years, but you can’t kill it with a phaser. Its characters are immortal as well. They have lived long, and prospered. One of them was DeForest Kelley, born in Atlanta in 1920 and a graduate of Decatur Boys High in 1938.

After a hitch in the Army Air Corps in World War II, he pursued an acting career. Kelley landed a contract with Paramount Studios and appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows. He played so many villains that he worried about being typecast; he finally was, but not as a villain.

His big break came in 1966 when he was cast in a science fiction TV pilot written by Gene Roddenberry called Star Trek. Kelley was Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy during the show’s three-year run, and reprised the role in six feature films, an animated series, and numberless sci-fi conventions. He inspired countless Trekkers to say what he always did: “I’m a doctor!”

The man who’ll be forever known to legions of fans as bones was born in Atlanta on January 20, 1920, Today in Georgia History.