The Wisdom Of Leonard McCoy: Why We Still Love Trek’s Country Doctor

"You treat her like a lady, and she'll always bring you home."

By David Wharton | Updated

BonesFeatOne of the most brilliant aspects of the original Star Trek series is the core trio of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, and the ways they represent different facets of the human character. Spock is the mind, the cold-blooded regard of pure logic and pragmatism. Bones is the fiery, passionate human heart — he feels everything as intensely as Spock oppresses his emotions. Kirk is the balance between the two, united in the will to act and the resolve of command. Naturally, the three of them drive each other insane on a daily basis, even if their underlying fondness for each other is rarely hard to see.

Had he not passed away back in 1999, actor DeForest Kelley would have turned 94 today. It’s a sad reality, because if you’d asked me which of Trek’s three core characters would be most likely to live forever, my money would have been on Bones. He’s all too aware of the dangers inherent in space exploration, he’s full of home-spun wisdom, and frankly, he’s too damn stubborn to die. While a different version of McCoy may be keeping the crew of the Enterprise patched up on the big screen these days, nobody can ever replace the cranky but compassionate performance given by Kelley across three seasons of television and six feature films. In honor of the man himself, we’re taking a look back at some of McCoy’s funniest, crankiest, and most insightful quotes over the years, many of them directed at a certain cold-blooded hobgoblin of a science officer…

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