DeForest Kelley Net Worth

December 21, 2023
2 mins read

Jackson DeForest Kelley was born on 20 January 1920, in Toccoa, Georgia USA, and was a singer, actor, poet, and screenwriter, probably best known for being part of the television and film series “Star Trek” as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. All of his efforts helped put his net worth to where it was prior to his passing.

How rich was DeForest Kelley? As of early-2017, sources estimate a net worth that was at $5 million, earned through a successful career in acting which spanned over 50 years, and more than 100 titles on the big screen and TV, all of which helped ensure the position of his wealth.


DeForest Kelley Net Worth $5 million


At a young age, DeForest was already developing his musical talents and it led to him appearing on the radio station WSB AM. He got regular radio work, and this would earn him an engagement with Lew Forbes. In 1934, Kelley attended Decatur Boys High School and would play with the school’s baseball team. He also played other sports, but spent his free time working. In 1943, he enlisted in the US Army Air Forces during World War II, and was assigned to the First Motion Picture Unit, which convinced him to pursue a career in acting. He was then discovered by Paramount Pictures while doing a US Navy training film.

Kelley’s first feature film would be the low budget “Fear in the Night”, but which became a hit. He started gaining popularity, and he would be cast in “Variety Girl” , so starting to increase his net worth. He got a role in “You Are There” and would then appear in an episode of “The Lone Ranger”, followed by a string of projects including “Warlock”, “Raintree County” and “The Silent Service” in which he played the lead role of a submarine captain in World War II. In 1955, he appeared in “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” before becoming part of the film “You Are There”. Other projects he was part of include “The Fugitive”, “Route 66” and “Perry Mason”. He mostly played villains, but he showcased an extensive list of differing acting credits.

He was offered the role of Spock in “Star Trek” but refused it, opting instead to play Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy” from 1966 to 1968. He would then reprise the role in “Star Trek: The Animated Series” as well as the first six “Star Trek” films from 1979 to 1991. He also had a cameo appearance in the first episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. Thanks to the popularity of the show, his net worth increased significantly, and he became one of the stars of the show.

After “Star Trek’, Kelley fell into typecasting and had very few appearances in other films and series. Despite this, he still earned a significant amount of money thanks to various “Star Trek” projects. Later in life, he also focused on writing poetry books. He started a series entitled “The Big Bird’s Dream”, but which he didn’t get to finish.

For his personal life, DeForest was married to Carolyn Dowling from 1945 until his passing in 1999 from stomach cancer. He was cremated and his ashes was spread in the Pacific Ocean. In an interview, he stated that it was good to hear that many fans were inspired to become doctors thanks to his portrayal of Dr. McCoy.

Daniel Wanburg

As the Managing Editor at Net Worth Post, I lead a talented team in delivering compelling content on the lives and achievements of influential figures. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for storytelling, I oversee the production of insightful biographies that resonate with our audience. My role involves not only managing the editorial process but also conducting research, crafting engaging narratives, and ensuring the accuracy and quality of our publications.

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