What was DeForest Kelley's Net Worth?
DeForest Kelley was an American actor, singer, screenwriter, and poet who had a net worth equal to $5 million at the time of his death in 1999. Kelley was best known for starring as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy on "Star Trek: The Original Series" (1966–1969), and he reprised his role in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (1979), "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" (1982), "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" (1984), "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" (1986), "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" (1989), "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" (1991), and "Star Trek: The Animated Series" (1973–1974). DeForest had more than 130 acting credits to his name, including the films "Tension at Table Rock" (1956), "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" (1957), and "Night of the Lepus" (1972) and the television series "You Are There" (1953–1956), "Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre" (1956–1960), and "Bonanza" (1961–1966). Sadly, Kelley died of stomach cancer in June 1999.
DeForest Kelley was born Jackson DeForest Kelley on January 20, 1920, in Toccoa, Georgia. He was delivered by his uncle at the home of his parents, Clora and Ernest David Kelley. Ernest was a Baptist minister, and Kelley named Bones' father "David" after him. DeForest was named after Lee de Forest, an inventor and electronics engineer. Kelley grew up with older brother Ernest and was deeply involved with his father's church in Conyers. He began singing at an early age and would often perform solos during church services. DeForest later sang on local radio shows, leading to a performance with Lou Forbes at the Paramount Theater in Atlanta. The family moved to Decatur in 1934, and Kelley played on the baseball team at the Decatur Boys High School.
DeForest graduated in 1938 at just 16 years old, and the following year, he visited an uncle in Los Angeles and ended up staying for a year. After returning to Georgia, he told his parents that he was moving to L.A. to pursue an acting career. From March 1943 to January 1946, Kelley served in the U.S. Army Air Forces. During his time as a private first class in the First Motion Picture Unit in Culver City, he was spotted by a talent scout from Paramount Pictures while making a training film for the U.S. Navy. After his military service ended, DeForest was offered a seven-year contract by Paramount Pictures.
In 1945, Kelley appeared in the short film "Time to Kill," and he made his feature film debut in the 1947 film noir "Fear in the Night." That year he also starred in "Variety Girl" and "Beyond Our Own" and guest-starred on "Public Prosecutor." DeForest appeared in the films "Canon City" (1948), "Duke of Chicago" (1949), and "Life of St. Paul Series" (1949), and he guest-starred on "The Lone Ranger" three times between 1949 and 1953. He had uncredited roles in the films "The Men" (1950), "Taxi" (1953), "Duffy of San Quentin" (1954), "House of Bamboo" (1955), "The View from Pompey's Head" (1955), and "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" (1956), and he co-starred with Angie Dickinson in 1956's "Tension at Table Rock." Kelley then starred as Morgan Earp, brother of Wyatt Earp, in 1957's "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" alongside Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. He appeared in nine episodes of "You Are There" from 1953 to 1956, and he guest-starred on "The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse" (1953), "Your Favorite Story" (1953–1954), "City Detective" (1953–1954), "Public Defender" (1954), "Mayor of the Town" (1954–1955), "Gunsmoke" (1956), "The Rough Riders" (1958), and "Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer" (1959).
DeForest appeared in the films "Tales of Wells Fargo" (1961), "Where Love Has Gone" (1964), "Marriage on the Rocks" (1965), "Apache Uprising" (1965), and "Waco" (1966), and he played Amos Troop in 1963's "Gunfight at Comanche Creek." From 1966 to 1969, he starred as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy on the NBC science-fiction series "Star Trek: The Original Series" alongside William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, and George Takei. The series aired 79 episodes over three seasons and spawned numerous feature films, TV series, and books. On the series, Kelley became known for the catchphrases "He's dead, Jim" and "I'm a doctor, not a…" He appeared in six "Star Trek" films, the 1991 short film "Star Trek Adventure," and the 1987 "Star Trek: The Next Generation" pilot, and he voiced Bones in 1973's "Star Trek: The Animated Series" and the video games "Star Trek: 25th Anniversary" (1992) and "Star Trek: Judgment Rites" (1993). After the cancellation of "Star Trek," DeForest appeared in the film "Night of the Lepus" (1972) and the TV movie "The Bull of the West" (1972), and he guest-starred on "Ironside" (1970), "The Silent Force" (1970), "Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law" (1971), "Room 222" (1971), "The ABC Afternoon Playbreak" (1973), "The Cowboys" (1974), and "The Littlest Hobo" (1981). Kelley's final role was Viking 1 in the 1998 animated musical film "The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars."
DeForest co-starred with actress Carolyn Dowling in a play in Long Beach in 1942, and they married on September 7, 1945. Kelley's "Star Trek" co-star Majel Barrett (who played Bones' assistant) described DeForest and Carolyn as "the most loving couple you've ever seen in your life."
Death and Legacy
In 1997, DeForest was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and on June 11, 1999, he passed away at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital at age 79 with Carolyn by his side. Kelley was cremated, and his remains were scattered over the Pacific Ocean. In a 1998 "Houston Chronicle" interview, DeForest spoke about the fact that Bones had inspired many people to become "all kinds of doctors who save lives." He stated, "That's something that very few people can say they've done. I'm proud to say that I have."
Awards and Honors
Kelley received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1991. Posthumously, he was honored with an In Memoriam Award at the 1999 Golden Boot Awards, and he was inducted into the Online Film & Television Association Hall of Fame in 2020.