Friday, December 19, 2008

R.I.P. Majel Barrett Roddenberry

There's no way I was going to pass this up. Majel Barrett Rodenberry died yesterday at age 76 of leukemia. The "First Lady of Star Trek" was the only actor to appear on every Star Trek version including the movie to be released next year. Any Star Trek fan can tell you she was Number One in the pilot, Christine Chapel (who was in love with Spock. Ironic since the network had demanded Roddenberry get rid of her character and she was replaced by Spock. The network didn't like his character any better but let Roddenberry have his way. Turned out to be a good thing), she was also commonly the voice of the computer on the Enterprise and Voyager, and played Lwaxana Troi. The contrast between the characters of Troi and Chapel was fascinating. Christine was very uptight and repressed while Lwaxana was sexually aggressive.

What I didn't know was that she also had connections with Lucille Ball (hometown girl here in Jamestown). Lucy met her early in Barrett's career, liked her, signed her to a Desilu contract and taught her comedy technique. Barrett appeared in episodes of "I Love Lucy", "Bonanza", "Leave It To Beaver" and "The Untouchables" among others.

She married Roddenberry following the cancellation of the original show. She worked as executive producer on several programs, made a variety of guest appearances and ran the company that oversaw the Star Trek legacy after Gene Roddenberry's death in 1991.

Star Trek fans will get one last chance to hear her iconic voice in the next movie. She had completed the voice over work just days before she died.

Thank you Majel.

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