Star Trek officially debuted on September 8, 1966, with the episode "The Man Trap." No one quite realized it at the time -- how could they? -- but life would never be the same after that. Gene Roddenberry's so-called "Wagon Train to the Stars" went on to become iconic, one of the most important and influential entertainment franchises in history. Sadly, DeForest Kelley and James Doohan -- and, of course, Roddenberry -- are no longer with us, but Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei and Walter Koenig are, and they've graciously agreed to help commemorate Star Trek's 45th anniversary by each answering several questions in person, by phone or via email. So, visit daily between now and Saturday to read their replies.

Who was Star Trek's unsung hero, the person who rarely gets his or her due for helping to make Star Trek a legendary franchise?

Nichols: Jerry Finnerman - Cinematographer who with his meticulous and sensitive lighting created the Uhura "Look.”

Nimoy: Bob Justman and Gene Coon were unsung heroes. They worked as producers to get the shows done, and Gene Coon did some great writing. You never hear them mentioned. Also, Fred Phillips, who did the Spock ears and makeup so brilliantly.

Shatner: Gene Coon. He was definitely unsung.

Takei: I think that would be Bob Justman. He was always in the shadows, but he was always there. And I think his presence is indelibly woven into Star Trek.

Koenig: I think Nick Meyer’s writing was superb, and I think the most quality we achieved was when he was in control of the writing. I’m not sure we’d be talking now if The Wrath of Khan wasn’t as successful as it was.

Tomorrow, the five surviving TOS actors answer this question: Who in your opinion was the best/most important director and/or guest star on either the original show or in one of the TOS movies?

William Shatner
Nichelle Nichols
George Takei
Walter Koenig
Star Trek
Gene Coon
Bob Justman