Writer and actress Anne Meara passed away on May 23, 2015, at age 85. A talented comedian, Meara was married to frequent acting partner Jerry Stiller for more than 60 years, with a career that spanned almost as long. Her writing or appearances on shows both comedic and dramatic resulted in four Emmy and one Golden Globe nominations. In addition to her career accomplishments, her famous family includes not only her husband, but her children Ben Stiller and Amy Stiller.
Meara has a special connection to the pioneering days of Star Trek fandom. Joan Winston's important 1977 book The Making of The Trek Conventions chronicled the history of the first fan gatherings in New York and revealed that at the February 1976 Star Trek convention held at the Hotel Commodore, Meara made a surprise appearance. Meara had contacted Winston about a month before the convention, asking to purchase tickets for herself, her children Ben and Amy, and their cousin - all fans. Inspired, Winston asked Meara to appear on stage at the convention and to present Gene and Majel Roddenberry an award from the convention committee. Meara's appearance was greeted with a standing ovation from the thousands attending and she told the audience how much her entire family loved Star Trek. She then presented the plaques to the Roddenberrys (one of which Anne laughingly discovered had been mistakenly labeled Robbenderry). Her appearance at this early convention helped show the media that covered the event that Star Trek fans indeed came from all walks of life.
Son Ben Stiller watched his mother's appearance at the Star Trek convention from a special place - the floor in front of the stage. Stiller is an avowed fan, having made a clever tribute to the original series on the 1996 television special Star Trek: 30 Years and Beyond. Stiller's production company is named Red Hour as a reference to the original series episode "The Return of the Archons" and many of his productions have Trek references and actors included, from Jimmy Doohan to William Shatner.
Anne Meara was one of those special entertainers whose career was so long and varied that it seemed like she had always been making audiences laugh, and always would be. Winston described Meara as "gracious, charming, and lovely." We couldn't agree more, and although she never appeared in a Star Trek show or movie, she holds a special place in fan history. Our sympathies to her family, friends, and fellow fans.
Maria Jose and John Tenuto
Maria Jose and John Tenuto are both sociology professors at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois, specializing in popular culture and subculture studies. The Tenutos have conducted extensive research on the history of Star Trek, and have presented at venues such as Creation Conventions and the St. Louis Science Center. They have written for the official Star Trek Magazine and their extensive collection of Star Trek items has been featured in SFX Magazine. Their theory about the “20-Year Nostalgia Cycle” and research on Star Trek fans has been featured on WGN News, BBC Radio, and in the documentary The Force Among Us. They recently researched all known paperwork from the making of the classic episode "Space Seed" and are excited to be sharing some previously unreported information about Khan's first adventure with fellow fans. Contact the Tenutos at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.