Profile of the Day: Gene Roddenberry
Do you remember watching the original Star Trek? On August 19, 1921, creator Gene Roddenberry was born in El Paso, Texas. Before finding success as a screenwriter and producer, Roddenberry served in the United States Army Air Force. During World War II, he flew 89 combat missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal. After the war, he continued to work as a commercial pilot for Pan Am. Roddenberry later moved to Los Angeles and joined the Los Angeles Police Department. While working for the LAPD, Roddenberry wrote television scripts under the pseudonym Robert Wesley.
In 1966, Roddenberry’s Star Trek made its debut with a very diverse cast never seen before on television. The show featured the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise on its five year mission to “boldly go where no man has gone before.” Although, it was canceled after three lowly rated seasons, the show proved to have a loyal, cult following and only grew in popularity after being pulled off the air. A resurgence a decade later spawned several successful motion pictures and television spin-offs.
Today, Roddenberry’s original series is considered one of the most culturally-influential television shows in history. It is also the first television series to have an episode preserved in the Smithsonian Institution.
Are you a Trekkie? Explore Gene Roddenberry’s family tree on Geni and discover how you’re related!