DeForest Kelley Versus Patrick Stewart: Where No Gentleman Has Gone Before

Patrick Stewart and DeForest Kelley

Screengrabs from Paramount Patrick Stewart and DeForest Kelley

Through the years of interacting with the thousands of attendees at the various Star Trek conventions, the actors and crew who created the shows have left a mark. Fans have their favorite characters, and they also have their favorite actors — this is not the same thing.

A few minutes browsing the boards on TrekBBS will net a person many, many opinions of what their favorite stars are like in real life.

For example, “Halfordgirl” reported that J.G. Hertzler (Martok) “is great” and that “he goes out into the audience in full Klingon costume.” She also says that Marc Alaimo (Gul Dukat) is also “very nice and a little bit flirty.”

These experiences vary, of course, and sometimes they are based simply on how many folks the actor has in line to get an autograph or photo. TrekBBS user “M’rk son of Mogh” said that his interaction with William Shatner was “blink and you miss him” thanks to a very long line.

Danny Lee Epperson, life-long Trek fan and media personality says that when he’s met Shatner, it’s always been a thrill.

“Over the years I have interviewed and spoken with William Shatner, I’ve known him to be a warm, kind, charming, and playful personality,” said Epperson. “In other words, he is exactly what I had hoped Captain Kirk to be: just one of us.”

Patrick Stewart: the English Gentleman

One item that comes up, again and again, is the notion of Sir Patrick Stewart’s friendliness when meeting fans. Some even go so far as to call him a “gentleman,” as TrekBBS user “siskokid888” did. 

Meanwhile, Stewart was recently interviewed for the English magazine, “The Gentleman’s Journal,” which reported that he smiles “conspiratorially like some glorious muddle of Buddha.” 

Stewart is said to be generous and friendly to his fans — even offering hugs to some. This is precisely what British fan Becca Jane St. Clair said about Sir Patrick when she met him in 2018. St. Clair attended a fundraiser that Stewart hosted and reported that he walked “to the individual tables to talk to everyone.” 

St. Clair said that he spoke to her as well and shook her hand. The next day, she saw him again, and they chatted as they waited for a taxi. 

“Since I have the ability to take whatever train I want, I offered him my taxi when it showed up first,” St. Clair reported in her blog. “He thanked me, and I had another handshake.”

“These small encounters with one of my absolute favorite actors will stay with me for a long time, even without photos of the event,” St. Clair wrote.

DeForest Kelley: a Gentleman From Georgia

Interestingly, the other Trek actor who is known for being a gentleman is the late DeForest Kelley. This is such a large part of what people remember about him, and there’s even an entire book on the topic. 

In the book, “DeForest Kelley: A Harvest of Memories; My Life and Times with a Remarkable Gentleman Actor,” author Kristine M. Smith shared her memories of ‘Dr. Leonard McCoy,’ and how she got to know him over the years.

“Categorically and undeniably, De became — and will endure as — one of the most-loved and best-remembered personalities in the world,” Smith wrote in her book. “His Dr. McCoy is at the heart of Star Trek’s mythology, and Trek is a tenacious mythology which will last, in all likelihood, until the day humans forget how to aspire to a higher standard for themselves and their progeny.”

While many share this opinion of Kelley, including Trek insider Eric Stillwell, who said Kelley was “super sweet,” it seems there are two Trek alumni who could be named the greatest gentleman of the group. But who should it be — Stewart or Kelley?

Who Is the Greatest Gentleman of ‘Star Trek’?

Author Jeanne Kalogridis has an opinion on this. Under the pen name J.M. Dilliard, she wrote many adaptations of the films and her own original Star Trek novels. Thanks to her time working on the films, she was able to visit the sets. This time on the stages helped her better understand what was happening with the story and helped her paint a better picture for those who read the written version of “Star Trek V” or “Star Trek: First Contact.”

In an interview with Trek Report, she shared how she had always been a fan of The Original Series and thought the world of that cast. Until she met Patrick Stewart.

“To be honest, the reason why I changed and became a big Next Gen fan was because of Patrick Stewart,” Kalogridis told Trek Report. “I had the chance to meet him and have dinner with him at a convention — and he charmed the socks off me.”

“He was the most charming and considerate person I’ve met [out of all] the Star Trek cast, and I’ve met DeForest Kelley, who was also the most charming gentleman ever born,” Kalogridis said in the interview.

“Patrick Stewart wins,” said Kalogridis.

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