GENE RODDENBERRY Biography - Producers, publishers & editors


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Name: Eugene Wesley Roddenberry                                                         
Born: 19 August 1921 El Paso, Texas                                                     
Died: 24 October 1991 Santa Monica, California                                         
Eugene Wesley "Gene" Roddenberry, (August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991) was an         
American screenwriter and producer. He became best known as the creator of what         
would become the science fiction universe of Star Trek. He would also become one       
of the first people to be "buried" in space. Roddenberry was a recipient of the         
Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the           
Pacific Theatre of World War II. Roddenberry was sometimes referred to as the "Great   
Bird of the Galaxy" in reference to his role in Star Trek.                             
Born in El Paso, Texas, to Eugene Edward Roddenberry and Caroline Glen,                 
Roddenberry spent his boyhood in Los Angeles, California, where his family had         
moved so his father could pursue a career with the Los Angeles Police Department.       
Following in his father's footsteps after high school, Roddenberry took classes         
in police studies at Los Angeles City College, and headed that school's Police         
Club. In that role, he was a liaison with the FBI, thanking them for sending           
speakers and securing copies of the FBI Code and publications for club use, and         
took fingerprint records of the college community for the FBI's Civil                   
Identification Division.                                                               
Following his graduation from Los Angeles City College, Roddenberry attended           
Columbia University, the University of Miami, and the University of Southern           
He later transferred his academic interest to aeronautical engineering and             
qualified for a pilot's license. Roddenberry joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in         
1941 and became an aviator. He flew many combat B-17 Flying Fortress missions in       
the Pacific Theatre with the 394th Bomb Squadron (H), 5th Bomb Group, whose             
members called themselves the "Bomber Barons." Roddenberry was awarded the             
Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.                                           
After leaving the service, he was a commercial pilot for Pan American World             
Airways. He received a Civil Aeronautics commendation for his efforts following         
a June 1947 crash in the Syrian desert, while on a flight to Istanbul from             
Roddenberry left Pan Am to pursue writing for television in Los Angeles. In             
order to provide for his growing family, he fell back on his early training and         
joined the Los Angeles Police Department on February 1, 1949, when he took an           
oath of office and was assigned LAPD badge number 6089. During his seven-year           
service with the LAPD, Roddenberry would rise to become a police sergeant. He           
resigned from the police force to concentrate on his writing career on June 7,         
In his brief letter of resignation, Roddenberry wrote:                                 
"I find myself unable to support my family at present on anticipated police             
salary levels in a manner we consider necessary. Having spent slightly more than       
seven years on this job, during all of which fair treatment and enjoyable               
working conditions were received, this decision is made with considerable and           
genuine regret."                                                                       
Roddenberry married twice and had three children, two, both daughters, by his           
first wife, the late Eileen Rexroat, to whom he was married 27 years; these were       
Dawn Roddenberry and the late Darleen Roddenberry. He began having an affair in         
the 1960s with Majel Barrett whom he cast in various roles in Star Trek. He left       
his first wife and married Barrett in Japan in a traditional Shinto ceremony on         
August 6, 1969. Together they had one child, his only son, Eugene Wesley, Jr.           
Although he had been reared as a Southern Baptist, Roddenberry did not embrace         
the faith of his parents, coming to blame organized religions for many wars and         
much suffering in human history. Instead, he became a secular                           
humanist, joining the movement established by Paul Kurtz, a noted skeptic               
when it came to matters of faith.                                                       
Roddenberry died on October 24, 1991, of heart failure. He was 70 years of age         
when he died. After his death, a lipstick-sized capsule of his ashes was sent           
into space to orbit Earth for just over five years, after which it burned up in         
Earth's atmosphere.