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‘Star Trek’ Vulcan princess Arlene Martel dies of heart attack

'Star Trek' actress Arlene Martel dies
Photo by Martin McNeil/Getty Images

Actress Arlene Martel has died of the effects and complications of a heart attack at 78, on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Martel, who was known as “The Chameleon” for her ability to take on many ethnic roles, was best remembered as the Vulcan princess T’Pring, Spock’s fiancée on “Star Trek,” reported CNN Entertainment on Thursday, Aug. 14. The actress has been battling cancer for the past five years, but she was still a frequent – and popular – guest at “Star Trek” conventions and other sci-fi fan gathering spots.

Martel’s son Jod Kaftan reported the news of his mother’s death, according to UPI. He spoke of attending Trekkie conventions with her, but found the experience odd, because “guys would have a crush on your mom because she's a sci-fi babe from the '60s."

Martel had been a working actress since her teens, when she started her career on Broadway. Other roles included a Russian spy on both "The Monkees" and "I Dream of Jeannie," a French member of the Resistance on an episode of "Hogan's Heroes," and a character on “Twilight Zone,” but she got her greatest fame as the fiancée of the ever-popular Vulcan Spock, on "Star Trek."

Westerns were a special favorite. Arlene Martel played a Native American woman in an episode of "Gunsmoke," and she also had roles on "Death Valley Days," and "Have Gun -- Will Travel."

According to Kaftan, his mother was still working, even though her career had naturally slowed down. Whenever a role came her way, she made herself ready.

Arlene Martel was also known by the company she kept. She, in her younger days, had dated both James Dean and Cary Grant. As befitting a chameleon actress, she liked variety in her life.

Leonard Nimoy tweeted a low-key and fitting Vulcan tribute. He called the Arlene Martel “A lovely talent.”

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