Net Worth Revealed

DeForest Kelley’s Birthday, Family, Bio

DeForest Kelley: A TV Actor Born Under the Sign of Aquarius

DeForest Kelley, a well-known TV actor, was born on January 20, 1920, in Toccoa, GA. Throughout his career, Kelley became famous for his portrayal of Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy on the hit television series Star Trek.

This article will delve into the life of DeForest Kelley, from his early years to his rise to TV stardom. Join us as we uncover the intriguing story of this talented actor.


DeForest Kelley, born in Toccoa, GA, was a TV actor who captivated audiences with his role as Dr. McCoy on Star Trek. With his memorable catchphrase, “I’m a doctor, not a [insert random object here],” Kelley etched himself in the annals of television history.

But who was the man behind the iconic character? Let’s learn more about his life.

1. Early Life

Kelley grew up in Toccoa, a small town in Georgia.

Born into a family of Baptist ministers, he initially had dreams of becoming a doctor. However, fate had other plans for him.

Even as a young boy, Kelley discovered his love for performing and would often entertain his friends and family with his dramatic flair. Little did he know that this passion would shape his future.

2. The Path to Stardom

In pursuit of his dream, Kelley moved to California.

He began his acting career in the early 1940s, making his debut on Broadway in a production of “Macbeth.” Soon after, he transitioned to the silver screen, appearing in films such as “Fear in the Night” and “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.” However, it wasn’t until 1966 that Kelley’s career experienced a significant turning point. 3.

Star Trek: A Breakthrough Role

Kelley’s big break came when he was cast as Dr. McCoy in the science fiction series Star Trek. Initially, the character of Dr. McCoy was intended to be a minor role.

However, Kelley’s portrayal of the gruff yet compassionate doctor struck a chord with audiences. His chemistry with co-stars William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy brought the character to life, making Dr. McCoy one of the most beloved characters in the Star Trek franchise.

4. Legacy and Awards

Kelley’s contributions to the world of television did not go unnoticed.

With his role on Star Trek, he became a household name and a fan favorite. Throughout his career, he received critical acclaim and numerous awards for his performances.

In 1991, he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, immortalizing his legacy in the entertainment industry.

Before Fame

Before gracing the small screen as Dr. McCoy, DeForest Kelley faced numerous challenges and setbacks. Let’s take a closer look at the trials and tribulations he overcame on his journey to stardom.

1. Early Struggles

Like many aspiring actors, Kelley faced rejection and uncertainty early in his career.

Auditions came and went, with few opportunities for success. However, he refused to let this deter him.

Kelley’s resilience and unwavering determination fueled his desire to achieve greatness. 2.

Military Service

During World War II, Kelley served in the United States Army Air Forces. Stationed in Europe, he honed his acting skills by participating in various plays and performances with the Special Services branch of the military.

This experience not only allowed him to entertain fellow soldiers but also helped him develop his craft. 3.

A Second Chance

After returning from the war, Kelley resumed his pursuit of an acting career. Despite initial difficulties, his talent eventually caught the attention of casting directors.

His memorable performances on Broadway and in film paved the way for his breakthrough role on Star Trek.


DeForest Kelley, born under the sign of Aquarius, left an indelible mark on the world of television with his portrayal of Dr. McCoy. From his humble beginnings in Toccoa, GA, to his rise to stardom on Star Trek, Kelley’s journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring actors everywhere.

His talent, resilience, and dedication to his craft are qualities that can be admired by all. As we remember the iconic character of Dr. McCoy, let us also celebrate the life and legacy of the man behind the role: DeForest Kelley.


DeForest Kelley, famous for his role as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy on Star Trek, had a few interesting trivia facts surrounding his life and career. Let’s delve into some lesser-known facts about this talented TV actor.

1. Stage Name

Before settling on the name DeForest Kelley, the actor was born as Jackson DeForest Kelley.

He shortened his first name to DeForest during his early acting days, hoping that it would make him stand out in the entertainment industry. This decision proved to be a wise one, as DeForest Kelley became a name synonymous with quality acting and memorable TV performances.

2. Hidden Talent

Aside from his acting prowess, Kelley possessed another hidden talent he was an accomplished singer.

Although his singing abilities were not often showcased on screen, he occasionally gave live performances, impressing audiences with his melodic voice. His passion for singing further highlighted his versatility as a performer.

3. Star Trek Success

While DeForest Kelley’s portrayal of Dr. McCoy earned him immense recognition and fame, it took some convincing for him to accept the role.

When first approached to play the character, Kelley had reservations. However, after reading the script and considering the potential impact of the series, he realized that Star Trek presented a unique opportunity to be part of something groundbreaking.

Little did he know that his decision to join the cast would contribute to the show’s enduring success. 4.

A Lasting Impact

Kelley’s portrayal of Dr. McCoy left a lasting impact, but it extended beyond his work on Star Trek. He contributed significantly to the development of his character and even wrote dialogue for Dr. McCoy in several episodes.

Kelley’s insights and creative input added depth and authenticity to the beloved character, making him a vital contributor to the overall success of the series.

Family Life

Behind the camera and away from the spotlight, DeForest Kelley enjoyed a fulfilling family life. Let’s delve into the details of his personal life, exploring his relationships and the importance of family to the beloved TV actor.

1. Marriage and Children

Kelley married Carolyn Dowling in 1945, and the couple stayed together until Carolyn’s passing in 2003.

Their marriage was a testament to love and commitment, with Kelley often expressing his profound admiration for his wife. The couple did not have children of their own but shared a close bond with their extended family.

2. Love for Animals

Kelley had a deep love for animals, particularly cats.

Throughout his life, he owned several feline companions and even incorporated his love for cats into his portrayal of Dr. McCoy on Star Trek. His affection for animals extended beyond his own pets; he actively supported animal welfare causes and advocated for the humane treatment of all creatures.

3. Mentorship and Generosity

Kelley had a reputation for being approachable and kind-hearted.

Throughout his career, he mentored aspiring actors and offered guidance and support to young talents. He believed in the power of giving back and willingly shared his knowledge and experiences with others.

His generosity and willingness to help others left a lasting impact on those who had the privilege of working with him. 4.

Personal Interests

Outside of his acting career, Kelley had a variety of personal interests. He was an avid reader and enjoyed literature, particularly the works of renowned authors.

He also had a passion for photography and spent a significant amount of time capturing moments through the lens of his camera. These hobbies allowed him to find joy and fulfillment beyond the world of entertainment.


DeForest Kelley, a talented TV actor and beloved figure in the entertainment industry, had a few intriguing trivia facts and a fulfilling family life. From his decision to adopt a stage name to his hidden talent as a singer, Kelley’s life was filled with interesting tidbits.

Additionally, his strong marital bond, love for animals, and commitment to mentoring showcased his values and character. As we examine the life of DeForest Kelley, we gain a deeper understanding of the man behind the iconic character of Dr. McCoy.

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