Dr. Leonard Horatio McCoy (DeForest Kelley)

Discussion in 'The Original Series (TOS)' started by Dave, Jun 2, 2001.

  1.  
    Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    Dr. Leonard Horatio McCoy.

    Dr. Leonard Horatio McCoy.

    Chief medical officer aboard the original starship Enterprise under the command of Captain James Kirk, who gave him the nickname "Bones". As of 2267, McCoy had earned the Legion of Honour, and had been decorated by Starfleet surgeons.

    He attended the University of Mississippi on Earth. While a student there, he met and had a romance with Emony Dax while she was visiting Earth around 2245 to judge a gymnastics competition. McCoy had been romantically involved with the future Nancy Crater.

    An unofficial backstory never aired was that McCoy had been married and later undured a bitter divorce, the emotional aftermath of which drove him to leave a private medical practise and join Starfleet. This story was to have been called 'Joanna' and feature McCoy's now-grown daughter, but it was heavily re-written as 'The Way to Eden' instead.

    Early in McCoy's medical career, sometime after he earned his medical degree, his father David, was struck with a terrible fatal illness. Faced with the prospect of his father suffering a terrible, lingering, painful death, McCoy mercifully "pulled the plug" on him, allowing him to die. He was horrified when, shortly thereafter, a cure was discovered for the affliction.

    In 2253, McCoy developed a neurosurgical technique to repair a damaged celebral cortex. He also wrote, what would become a classic 24th Century medical text, entitled 'Comparitive Alien Physiology'.

    He was briefly stationed on planet Capella IV prior to being assigned to the Enterprise in 2266. In 2268, McCoy was diagnosed with terminal Xenopolycythemia but was cured with Yonadan medical knowledge. He retired from Starfleet in 2270, but returned at Kirk's request in 2271. He was wrongly convicted for the murder of Klingon Chancellor Gorkon in 2293, along with Kirk, a conviction later overturned. He was scheduled to retire shortly after the Khitomer Conference, but either changed his mind or later returned to starfleet. As a retired Starfleet admiral, McCoy made an inspection tour of the Enterprise-D in 2364 at the age of 137.
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    Highlander II

    Highlander II There can be only one!! Staff Member

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    i know you posted this a while ago, but just thought i'd make an observation/ask a question --

    is it a rule somewhere that Starfleet doctors who end up as 'major characters' on the shows must have turned to medicine after some tragic medical 'happening' in their childhood/earlier years?? referring to McCoy (which i didn't know) and Bashir - the thing about the herb nearby on the planet --- (don't know about the others - well, on VOY the doc is a hologram, so maybe he doesn't count) --- just a curiosity ----
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    Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    You could be right.

    In 'The Arsenal of Freedom' TNG we learnt that at some point early in her life, Beverly Crusher was with her grandmother at the Arvada colony, and helped care for the survivors of a terrible tragedy after medical supplies ran out.

    Anyone know about Pulaski??
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    Highlander II

    Highlander II There can be only one!! Staff Member

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    don't know much about Pulaski -- but she wasn't on very long --

    however --

    i have another TOS question - and it relates to McCoy --

    why was he on the bridge so much?? doens't he have other things to do in sickbay? none of the other doctors spent so much time on the bridge/in ops --- was McCoy just special, or did they not want to film in sickbay unless someone needed to be in sickbay????

    just one of those things i noticed -- and it's not just in the show - it was in the movies too --- weird --
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    Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    The real reason: he was one of the trio of characters which gave the show it's main character interactions, which everyone enjoyed so much, so they needed to be together as much as possible.

    You don't want to hear that. You want to know why he follows Kirk around as if Kirk has an incurable disease that needs constant attention, or why he walks all the way to the bridge to say something, when he could just use the com system?
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    Highlander II

    Highlander II There can be only one!! Staff Member

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    that would be affirmative --

    i know the 'real' reason --

    but, i wanna know the *real* reason -- why the hell did he have to be there all the time?? what is WITH that?? not that i mind - it means that McCoy is in a lot of shots - tho w/ a lot of lines that could have been said by someone else - and he's there to distract one from Kirk --- but - he doesn't need to be there -- it's really weird ----

    so - do you have an answer besides the 'official tv' answer???? ;)
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    Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    He had a phobia of hypo-sprays?

    He had a tricordrazine allergy?

    He wanted to give Nurse Chapel and Spock some space?
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    Highlander II

    Highlander II There can be only one!! Staff Member

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    too funny ---

    but - um - no --

    tho the Chapel/Spock thing is funny ---

    can we fabricate a 'believable' reason for why he would have been there so much???
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    Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    Maybe he just thought that whatever casualities or space plague was going to hit them, he would hear about it first if he was on the bridge.
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    Archimedes

    Archimedes New Member

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    Damn it, Jim, I'm a doctor not a biographer!
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    doc123

    doc123 Doc

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    ....speaking of Deforest Kelly's biography....Kelley ("Bones" McCoy) was the only cast member of the original Star Trek series to have never dictated his autobiography.....some trivia...

    ----Played one of the Earp brothers in the Film Gunfight at the O.K. Corral(1957)
    ----Before landing the role of Dr. McCoy, he was offered the choice to play Mr.Spock
    ----The Tagline "I'm a doctor, not a..." has been quoted in almost every incarnation of Star Trek on film and television
    ----(to William Shatner, on his deathbed) Let's make just one more Star Trek movie! I sure miss making those movies!


    .....i will be going over his biography further in the itunes podcast episode 14: Heroes of Science Fiction and Fantasy along with: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King/ Babylon 5's pilot: The Gathering/ Star Trek: The Original Series: Errand of Mercy/ Comic Section: The Hulk/ Book Review: The Jackal of Nar by John Marco/ Others Section: An officer and a Gentleman(1982)....for a quick link to itunes or just to listen at your computer www.heroesofsciencefictionandfantasy also on this podcast overviews of many science fiction podcasts including 3 Star Trek podcasts
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    clovis-man

    clovis-man Prehistoric Irish Cynic

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    Some additional putative trivia: According to an article I read many years ago, Deforest Kelly was once considered to be an up and coming candidate for a "leading man" type studio contract, back in the days when careers were made or broken by all powerful types like Mayer & Warner. Only one problem: he was beaten out by a guy named Alan Ladd.

    Regards,

    Jim
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    Daisy-Boo

    Daisy-Boo Purr-fectly crazy

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    Reading that brought tears to my eyes. Kelley strikes me as a man a person would have been honoured to have as a friend.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
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    paranoid marvin

    paranoid marvin Run VT Erroll!

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    Kirk trusted his judgement and his company. Just as a ship's surgeon might spend time on the bridge with the captain of a ship when not required in sickbay , so was McCoy. Don't forget as well that although his title was 'Doctor' he wasn't in caring day-to -day for patients , that's the nurses role. He also would have been required on many 'away' missions and therefore would need to be appraised on the situation ; and what better place than on the bridge?

    I think what's more curious is the ship's captain being at the forefront of every away mission ; it's highly unlikely he would have survived for as long as he did being in the first line of encounters on alien worlds.
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    Daisy-Boo

    Daisy-Boo Purr-fectly crazy

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    You're absolutely right about Kirk trusting McCoy's judgement. McCoy and Spock complimented each other perfectly - Spock with his logic and McCoy with his passion and no-nonsense attitude. Each gave Kirk something different and together all three of them made an inimitable team.

    As for Kirk always leading the away teams - that wasn't the prudent thing for a captain to do but I attributed his actions to Kirk having an enormous ego and a constant thirst for adventure. The day-to-day minutiae of running the ship didn't fire him up and he trusted his crew to do what needed to be done. I think Kirk was a old-school swashbuckling adventurer.
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    Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    The thread is about McCoy not Kirk, but I'd agree that Kirk went on all the Landing Parties/Away Teams simply because he wanted to and he could. He did have a big ego, and he couldn't resist being 'in charge'. Look at how he treats Captain Decker in the first film, he gives him the ship then acts like a bully and takes it back. However, ship's missions were meant to be mainly diplomatic. You could argue that Starfleet is actually a military Navy, but it wasn't designed to be. I think in a diplomatic mission it is important to meet face-to-face with the most senior person. You want to see the Ambassador not his assistant.

    As for McCoy and Spock being different sides of a coin, giving counsel to Kirk, then I think you have that spot on.
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    Daisy-Boo

    Daisy-Boo Purr-fectly crazy

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    Yes I know the thread is about McCoy. I was just responding to the comment you made about the captain always leading away teams.
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    Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    I wasn't chiding you, I was just apologising before taking the thread even further off-topic. It was the paranoid android who mentioned it, not me.
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    Daisy-Boo

    Daisy-Boo Purr-fectly crazy

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    :( My apologies. My reply was not polite. I've been on edge all week and I unfairly expressed my irritation at you when you didn't deserve it.
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    clovis-man

    clovis-man Prehistoric Irish Cynic

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    McCoy, Kirk and Spock were always on the away teams because Kelley, Shatner and Nimoy were the stars of the show. You may recall the episode when the AI introduced into the Enterprise vetoed such participation on the basis of "nonessential personnel". We all know how that turned out.;)

    Personaly, I felt the whole thing worked just because of the contrasts in the characters' personalities. Who cares if they're doctors, skippers or science officers. McCoy's ying to Spock's yang was priceless.

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