Gene Roddenberry

Mostly Credited As: Gene Roddenberry
Sometimes Credited As: Robert Wesley

Birth Name: Eugene Wesley Roddenberry
Date Of Birth: August 19, 1921 (Age 70)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: El Paso, Texas
Date Of Death: October 24, 1991
Cause Of Death: Cardiac arrest (Santa Monica, California)
Height: 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Gene Roddenberry

Gene Roddenberry led a life as colorful and exciting as almost any high-adventure fiction. He was born in El Paso, Texas, on August 19, 1921, spent his boyhood in Los Angeles, studied three years of policemanship and then transferred his academic interest to aeronautical engineering and qualified for a pilot's license. He volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps in the fall of 1941 and was ordered into training as a flying cadet when the United States entered World War II.

Emerging from Kelly Field, Texas, as a Second Lieutenant, Roddenberry was sent to the South Pacific where he entered combat at Guadalcanal, flying B-17 bombers out of the newly-captured Japanese airstrip, which became Henderson Field. He flew missions against enemy strongholds at Bougainville and participated in the Munda invasion. In all, he took part in approximately 89 missions and sorties. He was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.

While in the South Pacific, he also began to write. He sold stories to flying magazines, and later poetry to publications, including The New York Times. Upon his return from combat, he became a trouble-shooter for the Air Force working out of Washington, D.C., investigating the causes of air crashes. At war's end, he joined Pan American World Airways. During this time, he also studied literature at Columbia University.

It was on a flight from Calcutta that his plane lost two engines and caught fire in mid-air, 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 a light he had observed just prior to the crash. 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.

Back in the States, Roddenberry continued flying until he saw television for the first time. Correctly estimating television's future, he realized that the new medium would need writers and decided that Hollywood's film studios would soon dominate the new industry. He acted immediately, left his flying career behind and went to Hollywood, only to find the television industry still in its infancy, with few openings for inexperienced writers. At a friend's suggestion, he joined the Los Angeles Police Department, following in his father's footsteps and gaining experiences which would be valuable to a writer.

By the time he had become a sergeant, Roddenberry was selling scripts to such shows as Goodyear Theatre, The Kaiser Aluminum Hour, Four Star Theater, Dragnet, The Jane Wyman Theater and Naked City. Established as a writer, he turned in his badge and became a freelancer. Later, he served as head writer for the highly popular series Have Gun, Will Travel. His episode "Helen of Abiginian" won the Writers Guild Award and was distributed to other writers as a model script for the series. Next, he created and produced The Lieutenant series, starring Gary Lockwood and Robert Vaughn; it told the story of a young man learning the lessons of life while in the United States Marine Corps.

Star Trek followed (1966-1969). The first of the two pilots was pronounced "too cerebral" by the network and rejected. Once on the air, however, Star Trek developed a loyal following and has since become the first television series to have an episode preserved in the Smithsonian, where an 11-foot model of the U.S.S. Enterprise is also exhibited on the same floor as the Wright brother's original airplane and Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis." In addition to the Smithsonian honors, NASA's first space shuttle was named Enterprise, in response to hundreds of thousands of letters from fans demanding that the shuttle be named after the beloved starship.

After the Star Trek series ended, Roddenberry produced the motion picture "Pretty Maids All in a Row," starring Rock Hudson, Angie Dickinson and Telly Savalas, and also made a number of pilots for TV. Among these were Genesis II for CBS (1973), about an Earth recovering from World War III. Next came The Questor Tapes for NBC (1974), the story of an android in search of his creator, then a sequel to Genesis II — Planet Earth, for ABC. He also co-wrote and produced "Spectre" (1977), a two-hour horror movie for NBC.

Roddenberry served as a member of the Writers Guild Executive Council and as a Governor of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He held three honorary doctorate degrees: Doctor of Humane Letters from Emerson College (1977), Doctor of Literature from Union College in Los Angeles, and Doctor of Science from Clarkson College in Potsdam, New York (1981).

On September 4, 1986, Gene Roddenberry's fans presented him with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the first writer/producer to be so honored. Star Trek: The Next Generation, in its first year in syndication, was awarded with the 1987 Peabody Award for the "Best of the Best." The series also garnered many of the prestigious Emmy awards throughout its seven year run. In February 1990, the March of Dimes honored Roddenberry with the Jack Benny Memorial Award of lifetime achievement.

On Thursday, October 24, 1991 Gene Roddenberry passed away and a world not so far away mourned the loss of one of television's foremost pioneers. At the time of his passing, Gene was survived by his wife Majel Barrett ("Nurse Chapel" from Star Trek and "Lwaxana Troi" in Star Trek: The Next Generation) and their 17-year-old son, Gene Roddenberry, Jr., his two grown daughters from a previous marriage, as well as two grandchildren.

In addition to having served as executive consultant on Star Trek feature productions, Roddenberry added "novelist" to his writing repertoire. His novelization of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (Pocket Books, 1979) sold close to a million copies and was ranked number one on the national bestseller lists for many weeks.

The legacy of Star Trek, as created by Gene Roddenberry, continues to grow as the newest series, Enterprise, joins Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Star Trek: The Next Generation has evolved into a feature film series, debuting in 1994 with "Star Trek Generations." Roddenberry is often affectionately referred to as the "Great Bird of the Galaxy."

TV Appearances

Episode Cast Credits 

Star Trek (1966) 
  Where No Man Has Gone Before 01x03: (Sep/22/1966) Voiced  Damage Control, [Uncredited]
  Charlie X 01x02: (Sep/15/1966) Voiced  Galley Chef, [Uncredited]
Crew Credits

Show Crew

The Lieutenant (1963)• Producer
• Creator
Andromeda (2000)• Creator
Star Trek (1966)• Creator
• Executive Producer
• Producer
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993)• Creator
• Based On The Works Of
Star Trek: Enterprise (2001)• Based Upon Star Trek Created By
Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973)• Executive Consultant
• Creator
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987)• Creator
Spectre (1977)• Screenplay
• Story
• Producer
The Questor Tapes (1974)• Story
• Teleplay
• Executive Consultant

Episode Crew

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) (Credited in 4 episodes from this show) 
Datalore 01x13 Jan/18/1988 As: Teleplay
Hide and Q 01x10 Nov/23/1987 As: Teleplay
Encounter at Farpoint, Part II 01x02 Sep/28/1987 As: Writer
Encounter at Farpoint, Part I 01x01 Sep/28/1987 As: Writer
Alias Smith and Jones (1971) (Credited in 1 episodes from this show) 
The Girl in Boxcar #3 01x05 Feb/11/1971 As: Story
Star Trek (1966) (Credited in 13 episodes from this show) 
Turnabout Intruder 03x24 Jun/03/1969 As: Story
The Savage Curtain 03x22 Mar/07/1969 As: Story, Teleplay
Assignment: Earth 02x26 Mar/29/1968 As: Story
Bread and Circuses 02x25 Mar/15/1968 As: Writer
The Omega Glory 02x23 Mar/01/1968 As: Writer
Return to Tomorrow 02x20 Feb/09/1968 As: Writer
A Private Little War 02x19 Feb/02/1968 As: Teleplay
The Return of the Archons 01x21 Feb/09/1967 As: Story
The Menagerie Part II 01x12 Nov/24/1966 As: Writer
The Menagerie Part I 01x11 Nov/17/1966 As: Writer
Mudd's Women 01x06 Oct/13/1966 As: Story
Charlie X 01x02 Sep/15/1966 As: Story
The Cage (Pilot) 01x?? 1965 As: Writer
The Lieutenant (1963) (Credited in 2 episodes from this show) 
To Kill a Man 01x29 Apr/18/1964 As: Writer
A Very Private Affair 01x05 Oct/12/1963 As: Writer
The Virginian (1962) (Credited in 1 episodes from this show) 
Run Away Home 01x29 Apr/24/1963 As: Story
Have Gun, Will Travel (1957) (Credited in 24 episodes from this show) 
The Savages 06x27 Mar/16/1963 As: Writer
Cage at McNaab 06x23 Feb/16/1963 As: Writer
Trial at Tablerock 06x14 Dec/15/1962 As: Writer
Marshal of Sweetwater 06x11 Nov/24/1962 As: Writer
Taylor's Woman 06x02 Sep/22/1962 As: Writer
Alice 05x27 Mar/17/1962 As: Writer
El Paso Stage 04x30 Apr/15/1961 As: Writer
Charley Red Dog 03x13 Dec/12/1959 As: Writer
Tiger 03x11 Nov/28/1959 As: Writer
The Golden Toad 03x10 Nov/21/1959 As: Writer
The Posse 03x04 Oct/03/1959 As: Writer
Les Girls 03x03 Sep/26/1959 As: Writer
Episode in Laredo 03x02 Sep/19/1959 As: Writer
The Return of Roy Carter 02x32 May/02/1959 As: Writer
Maggie O'Bannion 02x28 Apr/04/1959 As: Writer
The Monster of Moon Ridge 02x24 Feb/28/1959 As: Writer
Juliet 02x20 Jan/31/1959 As: Writer
The Road to Wickenburg 02x07 Oct/25/1958 As: Writer
The Hanging of Roy Carter 02x04 Oct/04/1958 As: Writer
Ella West 01x17 Jan/04/1958 As: Writer
Helen of Abajinian 01x16 Dec/28/1957 As: Writer
The Hanging Cross 01x15 Dec/21/1957 As: Writer
The Yuma Treasure 01x14 Dec/14/1957 As: Writer
The Great Mojave Chase 01x03 Sep/28/1957 As: Writer
General Electric True (1962) (Credited in 1 episodes from this show) 
V-Victor 5 01x02 Oct/07/1962 As: Writer
Naked City (1958) (Credited in 1 episodes from this show) 
The Rydecker Case 03x31 Jun/06/1962 As: Writer
Target: The Corruptors (1961) (Credited in 1 episodes from this show) 
To Wear a Badge 01x10 Dec/01/1961 As: Writer
Whiplash (1961) (Credited in 4 episodes from this show) 
Sarong 01x11 May/06/1961 As: Writer
Actress 01x08 Apr/15/1961 As: Writer
Dutchman's Reef 01x07 Apr/08/1961 As: Writer
Episode In Bathurst 01x05 Mar/25/1961 As: Writer
The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor (1959) (Credited in 1 episodes from this show) 
Karate 01x13 Jan/08/1960 As: Writer
Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre (1957) (Credited in 1 episodes from this show) 
333 Montgomery Street 03x13 Dec/07/1959 As: Writer
Jefferson Drum (1958) (Credited in 2 episodes from this show) 
Madame Faro 01x07 Jun/06/1958 As: Writer
Law And Order 01x03 May/09/1958 As: Writer
Boots and Saddles (1957) (Credited in 2 episodes from this show) 
The Marquis of Donnybrook 01x14 Dec/26/1957 As: Writer
The Prussian Farmer 01x05 Oct/17/1957 As: Writer
The Jane Wyman Show (1955) (Credited in 1 episodes from this show) 
The Perfect Alibi 03x08 Dec/12/1957 As: Teleplay
West Point Story (1956) (Credited in 3 episodes from this show) 
The Drowning of the Gun 01x34 May/24/1957 As: Writer
Jet Flight 01x19 Feb/08/1957 As: Writer
The Operator and the Martinet 01x02 Oct/12/1956 As: Writer
Highway Patrol (1955) (Credited in 5 episodes from this show) 
Oil Lease 02x09 Unknown As: Writer
Prospector 01x38 Unknown As: Writer
Mental Patient 01x28 Unknown As: Writer
Human Bomb 01x22 Unknown As: Writer
Reformed Criminal 01x09 Unknown As: Writer
I Led Three Lives (1953) (Credited in 2 episodes from this show) 
Discredit Police 03x34 Unknown As: Writer
Radioactive 03x28 Unknown As: Writer

Inspired the creation of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise after his creation of the Star Trek franchise.

After he passed away, the Star Trek crew decided to give him a farewell at the beginning of the 6th Star Trek movie, Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country.

Gene has a building named in his honor on the Paramount Studio lot.

Gene died within 48 hours of screening Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), the last Trek that revolved around his original characters.

Gene's first TV script sale, in 1953, was the episode Defense Plant Gambling' for the show Mr. District Attorney (1954).

During WWII, Gene wrote a song lyric "I Wanna Go Home", which became popular among the other troops.

On June 19, 1947 Gene was deadheading (traveling while not on duty) on a Pan Am plane when it crashed in the Syrian desert, killing 7 of 9 crew and 7 of 26 passengers on board. He rescued the Maharani of Pheleton from the wreck.

In 1943, while a US Army Air Corps pilot, Gene's plane crashed on takeoff due to a mechanical failure, killing two crew members.

Gene might have died in a house fire when still a toddler along with Bob, Doris, and their mother, but a milkman came along and woke them in time.

Gene's nickname was "The Great Bird of the Galaxy."

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Gene Roddenberry Quotes

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