10 Things To Know About Gene Roddenberry

10 Things To Know About Gene Roddenberry

Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, passed away 25 years ago today, October 24, 1991, at the age of 70. He, of course, left behind his family, millions of fans across the galaxy and his beloved "Wagon Train to the Stars." To remember Roddenberry, we thought we'd share 10 Things to Know About Gene Roddenberry.

  • Roddenberry -- who was born in El Paso, Texas -- fought in World War II, serving as an Army Air Force pilot and earning both the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal. He went on to become a commercial pilot.
  • Though he moved to Los Angeles determined to write for the then-fledgling television industry, jobs proved hard to find. So, Roddenberry joined the Los Angeles Police Department to make a living, and he wrote scripts on the side, tapping out his first one in 1951.
  • The first show that Roddenberry produced was called The Lieutenant, which debuted in 1963 and ran for just one season. Gary Lockwood was a regular on the series, while guest stars included future Trek actors Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, James Gregory, Madlyn Rhue and also the future Mrs. Roddenberry, Majel Barrett. 
  • Star Trek started life in March of 1964 as a series proposal titled Star Trek Is. MGM turned it down, but Desilu bought it. 
  • Though they never panned out, Roddenberry's first projects following the end of Star Trek: The Original Series were to be a pair of Tarzan feature films. 
  • Roddenberry's first post-Trek turned out to be Pretty Maids All in a Row. The film, directed by Roger Vadim and released in 1971, featured in its cast James Doohan, William Campbell and Roddenberry's daughter, Dawn. 
  • Roddenberry received his Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1985, becoming the first television writer to receive the honor.
  • Upon Roddenberry's death, he was survived by Barrett-Roddenberry and their son, Eugene "Rod" Roddenberry, as well as his daughters Dawn and Darleen Roddenberry from his first marriage. Dawn and Darleen both appeared briefly and uncredited in the TOS episode "Miri." Darleen died on October 29, 1995, from injuries sustained in a car accident. Majel Barrett-Roddenberry passed away in 2008. 
  • Some of Roddenberry's ashes were blasted into space -- and returned to Earth -- aboard the space shuttle Columbia on October 22, 1992.
  • A crater on Mars, located at 49°S 4°E to the east of Argyre Planitia in Noachis Terra, is named Roddenberry. It was dubbed Roddenberry in 1994 by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in honor of Trek's creator.
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