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'Star Trek' actress Celeste Yarnall dies at 74 following cancer battle  1 Week ago

Source:   USA Today  

Actress Celeste Yarnall, who made memorable appearances on "Star Trek" and the 1968 Elvis Presley movie "Live a Little, Love a Little," died Sunday of cancer at her home in Westlake Village, California. She was 74.

The news of her death was first announced Tuesday on the official website of "Star Trek," where she had written about her four-year cancer battle. Her death was also confirmed by her husband, artist Nazim Nazim to People.

Although she appeared only once on the original series, she made an impression as crewmember Yeoman Martha Landon in the 1967 episode "The Apple." She remained a member of the "Star Trek" franchise, appearing at conventions.

At a 2012 "Star Trek" convention panel, Yarnell shared that creator Gene Roddenberry had been inclined to wait and cast her in a bigger role, but she said yes to the Landon role to pay her mortgage. 

"They said, 'Do you want to kiss Chekhov or do you want to kiss the captain?' she recalled. "I said, 'I'll kiss anybody so long as I can pay the rent!' "

A native of Long Beach, California, she was declared the "Most Promising New Star" of 1968 by the National Association of Theater Owners at that year's convention, known today as CinemaCon.

She appeared in two films that year: the cult classic "Eve" and "Live a Little, Love a Little," for which she joked she said she "got paid to kiss Elvis" and have him sing "A Little Less Conversation" to her.

She recalled a memorable story from that movie set in an interview with an Australian Elvis fan site.

"This was the week that Martin Luther King had been assassinated," she explained. "So here I am with one of the roles of a lifetime, meeting and working with Elvis in 'Live A Little, Love A Little', with this tragedy on television. So, we go back to his dressing room to have lunch. Elvis sang 'Amazing Grace' to me. And he sobbed in arms like a baby, because he was so, so devastated by Martin Luther King's assassination."

Yarnell, a self-professed practitioner of holistic health, was diagnosed with stage 3 primary peritoneal cancer, a relative of ovarian cancer, in 2014. Because it hadn't metastasized to any vital organs, she had emergency surgery that November, followed by six rounds of chemotherapy.

"What’s happening to me, it's crazy. It’s like an alien invasion," she wrote in a "Star Trek" blog post the following February. " So, yes, I had to be practical. And I just kept thinking about Steve Jobs. In my case, stage 3 was not the time for a strictly holistic attack; it was time for the big bomb because I’ve had one dropped on me. Holistic and Western treatments can be complementary."

Her first chemo session seemed straight out of science fiction: "The nurses get all suited up like they’re going to the moon." She also received experimental immunotherapy injections that she said "Star Trek" character Dr. McCoy would be impressed by.

Yarnall went into remission just in time to participate in the show's 50th anniversary in 2016 but her cancer later returned.

Her other TV credits include "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," "Hogan's Heroes," "Columbo" and more recently, "Melrose Place."

She was also one of 42 "Star Trek" alumni to participate in the 2018 sci-fi comedy film "Unbelievable!!!!!" and reunited with William Shatner for the 2012 documentary "Get a Life," exploring the cultural impact of "Star Trek."

 

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