Grace Lee Whitney was born Mary Ann Chase in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Whitney started her entertainment career as a "girl singer" on Detroit's WJR radio. She soon opened in nightclubs for the likes of Billie Holliday and Buddy Rich, and toured with the Spike Jones Band. She debuted on Broadway in "Top Banana" and subsequently appeared in the United Artists film version of the musical comedy.

Whitney has made guest appearances on over 30 different television series and many movies, including "Some Like It Hot" with Marilyn Monroe. But she is best known for her portrayal of "Yeoman Janice Rand" in the first season of the original Star Trek series and four films, as well as the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Flashback."

Her autobiography is entitled "The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy." The book delves into her hiring and firing from Star Trek and her fight and eventual victory over alcohol and drug addiction.