Valor Baum, who played Daras in the “Star Trek: The Original Series” episode “Patterns of Force,” has died at the age of 80, according to an obituary in the Marin Independent Journal. According to the newspaper, the actress — who used the stage name Valora Noland throughout her short acting career and Valora Tree during her time as a writer — died on March 27, 2022, in Sebastopol, CA where she lived for many years.
Daras, in Baum’s sole episode of “Star Trek,” was an Ekosian female posing as a Nazi Party Secretary while actually working with the Zeon underground to thwart Deputy Fuhrer Melakon (Skip Homeier) and his regime. Melakon planned to deploy the Final Decision to eradicate all Zeons who had populated the planet Ekos. She joined forces with Kirk, Spock, and fellow Nazi resistance figures Isak (Richard Evans) and his brother, Abrom (Will Wintersole), to take on Melakon. According to Memory Alpha, Baum filmed her scenes for “Patterns of Force” on Thursday, November 30, 1967, and between Monday, December 4, 1967, and Wednesday, December 6, 1967, at Desilu Stage 9 and Stage 10.
Baum in ‘Patterns of Force’
The Marin Independent Journal obituary states that Baum was born in Seattle, Washington, on December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and was named Valor by her mother, who’d been inspired by a Winston Churchill speech that she listened to on the radio just prior to Valor’s birth. The obituary further states that Baum’s father, Franz Baum, Sr., was a distinguished painter in the German Expressionist school, and that Baum decided in 1959 to pursue acting, enrolling in the Pasadena Playhouse, choosing the stage name “Valora Noland,” and moving to Hollywood.
The Internet Movie Database lists 18 acting credits for Baum. Among them are a 1961 episode of “The Rifleman,” followed by “Dr. Kildare,” “Beach Party,” “Muscle Beach Party,” “Sex and the College Girl,” “The Donna Reed Show,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” the John Wayne-Kirk Douglas film “The War Wagon,” and “Mannix.” Vincent McEveety, who directed Baum’s episode of “Mannix,” also directed her next acting effort, which was “Patterns of Force,” her “Star Trek” episode. According to the Internet Movie Database, her final credit was the 1970 film “Up Your Teddy Bear,” which co-starred fellow “Star Trek” guest stars Julie Newmar and Angelique Pettyjohn. Baum must is credited with appearing in a flashback in the movie, and must have filmed her scene long before the film’s release as a biography on her Amazon.com page notes that she dropped out of acting in 1968.
In an interview with “The Desert Sun” that ran on April 28, 1967, Baum — who was then still called Valora Noland — explained that she won her role in “The War Wagon” when she decided months beforehand to be herself and not try to be like Elizabeth Taylor, Julie Andrews, Doris Day, or Marilyn Monroe. “That wasn’t an easy decision to make,” she said. “There had been five years of agents telling me to be like this actress or that actress. I’d go out on interviews and I’d do screen tests knowing that a producer or director had a definite physical image in mind. So I’d be everybody but myself. One day a sex kitten, next day a glamour girl. And whenever some new actress would break through, I’d try to model myself after her. After a while, I almost forgot who I really was.
“Through it all, I knew it was basically wrong for any human being to keep re-making himself,” she continued. “But it’s part of the game in Hollywood. I tried to become whatever producers were looking for until one day I simply got tired of it. I’d be myself and if I couldn’t make it as myself, then I’d give up acting.”
That meant, according to the article, dressing simply, no frills or furbelows, wearing sandals, staying away from hairdressers, and presenting a clear, shining face to Hollywood. Soon enough, at the Universal City Studios commissary, producer Marvin Schwartz approached her as she ate lunch with actor Linden Chiles. According to the article, Schwartz asked if she were an actress, as he could see her playing a specific role in “The War Wagon.”
“Here I’d been beating my head against the hard walls of Hollywood and out of the blue, in a studio commissary, of all places, a producer came to me,” Baum said. “He had no definite actress in mind. Just a concept of what the girl in the picture should look like. And I got the part.”
She Became a Photographer & Author
“The War Wagon” opened on May 27, 1967, according to the Internet Movie Database. She acted in only a few more projects, including “Star Trek,” before she quit the business. According to the Amazon.com biography on her author page, Baum studied and practiced astrology for a brief time after leaving acting behind. She then developed an interest in photography and contributed to group exhibitions, held four solo exhibitions, sold prints at galleries, and had some of her work displayed in newspapers and magazines. Also, according to her Amazon biography, she hosted jazz and classical music programs for two radio stations in the 1980s. Baum, as Valora Tree, wrote two books, “Horse Stories,” about her beloved, hand-raised Arabian stallion, and “Water Lily Ponds,” a volume of poetry described as “humorous, serious, and anti-war, arranged in three sections.”
Baum, according to the Marin Independent Journal, is survived by her brother, Franz Baum, her sister, Ziska Baum, her niece Arlene Baum, and her nephews Carl, Stan, Eric, and David. The obituary also noted that anyone who wished to make “a meaningful donation in Valora’s memory” might consider Operation Smile, “an organization Valora was fond of.” Operation Smile’s website states that they provide free cleft surgeries, dental care, nutritional support, and speech therapies to children in more than 30 countries, supported by more than 6,000 volunteers from 60 countries.