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Eugene Wesley Roddenberry

Also Known As: "The Great Bird of the Galaxy", "Gene"
Birthplace: El Paso, El Paso County, Texas, United States
Death: October 24, 1991 (70)
Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California, United States (Cardiopulmonary Arrest)
Immediate Family:

Son of Eugene Edward Roddenberry and Caroline Glen Roddenberry
Husband of Private and Majel Barrett
Father of Darleen Anita Roddenberry-Bacha; Private and Private
Brother of Private and Doris Willodean Billingsley

Occupation: Futurist, Television Writer and Producer
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:

About Gene Roddenberry

Eugene Wesley "Gene" Roddenberry (August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991) was an American television screenwriter, producer and futurist, best known for creating the science fiction series Star Trek.

NASA named its first Space Shuttle "The Enterprise;" when the rocket was unveiled the Air Force Band struck up not The Star Spangled Banner but the theme from Star Trek (click for YouTube). The show attracts a mass audience, as well as the hard-core devotees, and is the object of keen intellectual scrutiny. More than 50 books have been written about it; "Star Trek sets out to show that 'the Starship Enterprise explores not simply outer space, but also the inner reaches of the human psyche'."

Gene Roddenberry was happy to concur with such analysis. 'We did try to raise some interesting issues,' he once said. 'What does it mean to be 'human' for instance? People come in different forms, and we're still so afraid of that. 'In Star Trek we showed that monsters were not necessarily evil because they were different. It was trying to say: 'I am an alien and so are you, and we're also part of each other'.'

"When I turned around, I was looking into the face of Dr. Martin Luther King, walking toward me with a big smile on his face," (actress Nichelle Nichols) recalled. "And he said, 'Yes, Miss Nichols, I am your greatest fan. ... You are our image of where we're going, you're 300 years from now, and that means that's where we are and it takes place now. Keep doing what you're doing, you are our inspiration.'"

And then the leader of the civil rights movement told Nichols, "Besides, 'Star Trek' is the only show that my wife, Coretta, and I will allow our little children to stay up late and watch. YOU are their hero."

When Nichols told Roddenberry about her encounter with King, the "Star Trek" creator said, "'God bless Dr. Martin Luther King. Somebody knows what I'm trying to achieve here.' And a big tear came down his face. And Gene was not a man to cry."


  • Born: August 19, 1921, El Paso
  • Died: October 24, 1991, Santa Monica
  • Movies and TV shows: Star Trek: The Original Series, More
  • Parents: Eugene Edward Roddenberry b: 28 AUG 1896 in Charlton Co, GA & Caroline Glen Goldman b: 3 FEB 1904
  • Married 1) Eileen Anita Rexroat (m 1942-1969)
  • Married 2) Majel Hudec known as Barrett (m 1969–1991)
  • Children: Rod Roddenberry, Dawn Roddenberry Compton, Darleen Anita Roddenberry-Bacha


Television Program Producer, Screenwriter. He created the 1960s "Star Trek" science fiction television series, which spawned a franchise that has come to include motion pictures, books, novels, action figures, and a number of further television series, as well as a widespread, loyal fandom. Born in El Paso, Texas, he almost died at the age of four when his house caught fire in the middle of the night. Fortunately, a milkman came along and woke the family in time to escape. During World War II, he piloted a B-17E Flying Fortress in the Army Air Corps, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal for his service. After the war he found work as a pilot for Pan American Airlines, and was awarded a Civil Aeronautics commendation for his rescue efforts in a June 1947 Syrian desert plane crash. From 1949 to 1956, he was a police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department, and began to write television scripts to supplement his income. His first television script, written in 1953, was an episode "Defense Plant Gambling" written for the show "Mr. District Attorney" and was broadcast on 2 March 1954. His first science-fiction script was "The Secret Weapon of 117," broadcast on 6 March 1956 on the "Chevron Hall of Stars." He wrote episodes for such television shows as The Fireside Theater, Dr. Christian, Have Gun Will Travel, Boots and Saddles, Naked City, Bat Masterson, Dr. Kildare, and The Lieutenant. In 1965, he wrote "The Cage" which became the pilot for the original series "Star Trek", and it was soon picked up as a full time series. He also wrote the episodes "Charlie X", "Miri," and "Where No Man Has Gone Before." He was married to Eileen Anita Rexroat on 20 June 1942, and divorced her on 27 December 1969 to marry his second and last wife, Majel Barrett, two days later. Actually, he and Majel were married in a Shinto Buddhist wedding on August 6, 1969 while they were visiting Japan (they did not adhere to any specific religion). Since his divorce was not yet final, they remarried in a civil ceremony on 29 December 1969 in California. Majel was an actress that he met on the pilot of his first Star Trek episode, "The Cage" (1965) and later, became familiar to Trek fans as Nurse Chapel (original series) and as the voice of the ship's computer (her voice is heard in almost every episode of every series, ranging from the original Star Trek, to ST: The Next Generation, to ST: Deep Space Nine, and ST: Voyager, as well as every ST movie). During World War II, he had a friend named Kim Noonien Singh and after the war, he lost track of his friend. Gene then used the name for some of the characters in the series, Khan Noonien Singh for the movie Star Trek II, and Noonien Soong in ST: The Next Generation, hoping that his friend would contact him; he never did. Gene Roddenberry has a building named for him on the Paramount Studio lot.

Cremated, Other, Specifically: A quarter ounce of the ashes were launched into orbit around the Earth in 2007, in 2009 more ashes were launched into deep space.

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Gene Roddenberry's Timeline

August 19, 1921
El Paso, El Paso County, Texas, United States
April 4, 1948
Hackensack, Bergen County, New Jersey, United States
October 24, 1991
Age 70
Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California, United States
Age 69