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Gene Roddenberry

Gene Roddenberry

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Also Known As: Eugene Wesley Roddenberry Died: October 24, 1991
Born: August 19, 1921 Cause of Death: cardiac arrest due to a massive blood clot
Birth Place: El Paso, Texas, USA Profession: screenwriter, producer, executive consultant, novelist, lecturer, keynote speaker, speechwriter, police officer, airline pilot, air crash investigator

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A visionary writer, producer and futurist, "Star Trek" (NBC, 1966-69) creator Gene Roddenberry changed the face of science fiction with a concept that grew to encompass film, television, comic books and video games, and whose influence on the genre could only be arguably rivaled by the likes of George Lucas. Although it barely lasted a mere three seasons, "Star Trek" became the first TV series to have an episode preserved in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and was influential enough to prompt NASA to name one of its space shuttles after the show's iconic starship, Enterprise. Following a resurgence in popularity on television syndication, the series was resurrected on the big screen with the visually impressive, yet ponderous film adaptation "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (1979). The success of the feature film spawned several sequels, including the more warmly received "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" (1982). And while his involvement in the features became largely ornamental, Roddenberry brought his creative energies to bear on the first of many TV spin-offs; "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (syndicated, 1987-1994). Despite the fact that it had been 40 years since the original...

A visionary writer, producer and futurist, "Star Trek" (NBC, 1966-69) creator Gene Roddenberry changed the face of science fiction with a concept that grew to encompass film, television, comic books and video games, and whose influence on the genre could only be arguably rivaled by the likes of George Lucas. Although it barely lasted a mere three seasons, "Star Trek" became the first TV series to have an episode preserved in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and was influential enough to prompt NASA to name one of its space shuttles after the show's iconic starship, Enterprise. Following a resurgence in popularity on television syndication, the series was resurrected on the big screen with the visually impressive, yet ponderous film adaptation "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (1979). The success of the feature film spawned several sequels, including the more warmly received "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" (1982). And while his involvement in the features became largely ornamental, Roddenberry brought his creative energies to bear on the first of many TV spin-offs; "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (syndicated, 1987-1994). Despite the fact that it had been 40 years since the original series left the airwaves, the franchise proved to be stronger than ever with the colossal success of the J.J. Abrams-directed feature reboot, "Star Trek" (2009), a prequel chronicling the assemblage of the young Enterprise crew. Beyond merely creating one of the most successful entertainment franchises in history, the influence of Roddenberry's brainchild imbedded itself deep within the very fabric of pop culture, its effects even rippling into the realms of real world science and technology.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Planet Earth (1974) Creator

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 America Loves... Star Trek (2001) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1923:
Moved with parents from El Paso, TX to Los Angeles at age two (date approximate)
:
Became interested in science fiction in junior high school after reading an issue of "Astounding Stories"
:
Volunteered for the US Army Air Corps; ordered in training as a flying cadet as WWII began
1941:
As a second lieutenant, flew a B-17 Flying Fortess in 89 missions and sorties including Guadalcanal and Bougainville
:
Began to write short stories and poetry for flying magazines and newspapers while stationed in the South Pacific
:
Investigated air crashes for the Air Staff upon his return from combat
:
Worked as a Pan American World Airways airline pilot for four years
:
Joined the Los Angeles Police Department and rose to the level of sergeant; initially assigned to the Chief's Office to work on research; became department spokesman and wrote most of Chief William Parker's early speeches; wrote freelance TV scripts; retired from police department once TV writing career was established
:
Worked as a freelance TV writer on such shows as "The U.S. Steel Hour", "Goodyear Theater", "The Kaiser Aluminum Hour", "Four Star Theater", "The Jane Wyman Theater", "Dragnet" and "Naked City"
:
Worked as head writer for the first two seasons of the hit TV Western series, "Have Gun, Will Travel"
1960:
TV producing debut, "333 Montgomery" (also scripted), an installment of the anthology series "Alcoa Theater"; pilot for "Sam Benedict", a legal series (a second pilot was made and sold starring Edmond O'Brien); featured DeForest Kelley who would play Dr. McCoy in "Star Trek"
:
President, Norway Productions Inc.
:
Created and produced first TV series, "The Lieutenant", a drama about the peacetime Marine Corps
1966:
Created, wrote and produced two-hour pilot for "Star Trek" starring Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike
:
Created, executive produced and wrote episodes of "Star Trek", the landmark sci-fi adventure series
1967:
Produced and wrote "Police Story", an unsold pilot
1971:
Feature debut, produced and wrote the comedy "Pretty Maids All in a Row", the US directing debut for French helmer Roger Vadim
:
Produced and wrote busted sci-fi/fantasy TV pilots for "Genesis II" (1973), "The Questor Tapes" (1974), "Planet Earth" (1974) and "Spectre" (1977)
1985:
Presented with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the first writer-producer to be so honored
:
Served as executive producer of the syndicated TV series, "Star Trek: The Next Generation"
1991:
Suffered a series of strokes which kept him away from active advisory roles on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and the feature "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country"
1991:
"Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" dedicated to the memory of Gene Roddenberry
1991:
Paramount Television's new office building, housing its syndicated TV division, named the Gene Roddenberry Building in June
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Education

Franklin High School: Los Angeles , California -
Los Angeles City College: Los Angeles , California -
University of California at Los Angeles: Los Angeles , California -
Columbia University: New York , New York - 1945 - 1949

Notes

Roddenberry addressed the 14th Annual Space Congress at Cape Kennedy.

Roddenberry became the third recipient of the American Freedom Award at the National Space Club's annual Goddard Memorial Dinner. (The previous recipients were Bob Hope and Walter Cronkite.)

Roddenberry became a Muhlmann Fund Lecturer at the University of Hawaii's School of Astronomy in 1980.

"It has become a crusade of mine to demonstrate that TV need not be violent to be exciting. I wanted to send a message to the television industry that excitement is not made of car chases. We stress humanity, and this is done at considerable cost. We can't have a lot of dramatics that other shows get away with--promiscuity, greed, jealousy. None of those have a place in 'Star Trek.'"--Gene Roddenberry (quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES obituary, October 25, 1991)

"Our shows are about the best of humans solving problems and learning about their own humanity. In our story sessions, we talk about how the world should be. Our characters symbolize where humans could be if they wanted to be."--Gene Roddenberry in 1990 (quoted in USA TODAY obituary, October 25, 1991)

He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal during WWII

"It was on a flight from Calcutta that his plane lost two engines and caught fire in flight, crashing at night in the Syrian desert. As the senior surviving officer, Roddenberry sent two Englishmen swimming across the Euphrates River in quest of the source of light he had observed just prior to the crash impact. Meanwhile, he parleyed with nomads who had come to loot the dead. The Englishmen reached a Syrian military outpost, which sent a small plane to investigate. Roddenberry returned with the small plane to the outpost, where he broadcast a message that was relayed to Pan Am, which sent a stretcher plane to the rescue. Roddenberry later received a Civil Aeronautics commendation for his efforts during and after the crash." --From Paramount press kit, "Gene Roddenberry: Creator of "Star Trek"" (May, 1994)

Roddenberry received a honorary DHL from Emerson College of Boston, MA (1973) and a Doctor of Science from Clarkson College from New York (1981)

Roddenberry has received the March of Dimes Jack Benny Award for lifetime achievement (1990)

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Eileen Rexroat. Divorced in 1969.
companion:
Nichelle Nichols. Singer, actor. Later cast as Lt. Uhura on "Star Trek".
wife:
Majel Barrett. Actor. Born in 1932; married from August 6, 1969 until Roddenberry's death in 1991; appeared in "Star Trek" series.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Eugene Edward Roddenberry. Army cavalryman, police officer.
mother:
Carolyn Glen Roddenberry. Survived son.
brother:
Robert Roddenberry.
sister:
Doris Roddenberry. Survived him.
daughter:
Darleen Incopero. Born c. 1947; mother, Eileen Rexroat; died on October 29, 1995 from injuries sustained in car accident in Las Vegas, Nevada.
daughter:
Dawn Compton. Mother, Eileen Rexroat; disinherited by court ruling because she challenged her father's will.
son:
Eugene Roddenberry Jr. Mother, Majel Barrett; born c. 1975.
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Bibliography close complete biography

"Star Trek: The Motion Picture" Pocket Books

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