Star Trek Actress Laurel Goodwin Dies at 79

Laurel Goodwin, the last surviving credited member of the original Star Trek pilot's cast, has died. She was 79-year-old. Goodwin played Yeoman J.M. Colt in the first Star Trek: The Original Series pilot episode, "The Cage." Not entirely happy with the original pilot, studio Desilu put a second pilot into production, replacing most cast, including Goodwin. Though filmed in 1965, the episode wouldn't air in full until 1988. However, the two-part Star Trek: The Original Series first season episode "The Menagerie" repurposed footage from the original pilot -- including Goodwin's performance as Colt. In "The Cage," Goodwin performed opposite Jeffery Hunter as Capt. Christopher Pike, Majel Barett as Number One, and Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock.

In a 2006 interview with StarTrek.com, Goodwin recalled how she passed on two other opportunities to play Colt in Star Trek only for the studio to let her go when Hunter departed, replaced by William Shatner. "I said, 'Oh, no. Star Trek is it. I've got to do Star Trek. It's great, it's gonna be wonderful. Then, they didn't take that first pilot, but said there would be a second pilot. I thought, 'We'll make the second pilot. They still want me. Yep, yep, yep," she recalled. 

"So then all the negotiations go on, and the whole thing collapses. When they collapsed, they said, 'Well, we don't really need Laurel, because it was for this reason. We're changing the storyline.' And they brought in the luckiest man in the world, William Shatner. In the meantime, I had turned down the two comedies, pulled my name out of consideration. They both sold, and both were highly successful."

Goodwin was also known for appearing opposite Elvis Presley in the film Girls! Girls! Girls! She followed that film with Papa's Delicate Condition alongside Jackie Gleason and The Glory Guys.

Goodwin died on February 25th. Her sister, Maureen Scott, confirmed the news by releasing an obituary online:

"Born August 11, 1942 in Wichita, Kansas, the family moved to San Diego during WW2, and later to San Francisco where Laurel grew up with her older brother, Gary, and younger sister, Maureen. She graduated from Lowell High School, Class of '60 and went on to SF State where she studied drama.

"Laurel and her husband, Walter Wood went on to work behind the scenes for many years. Together they produced "Stroker Ace" with Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson."

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Goodwin is survived by her sister, Maureen Scott, "and a multitude of friends and relatives around the world."