Majel and Gene Roddenberry.
Star Trek Universe Loses Majel Barrett Roddenberry. The actress, widow of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, played Nurse Christine Chapel in the original "Star Trek," and Lwaxana Troi (free-spirited mother of Counselor Deanna Troi) in Star Trek: The Next Generation. She died of leukemia Thursday morning at her home in Bel-Air, a Los Angeles community favored by stars; she was 76.
Of her roles, the voice of the computer of the future looms largest to me. The link goes to a fan tribute on YouTube that assembles clips in which that voice stars. Another (Majel Barrett Roddenberry Fan Tribute) offers a broader selection of clips and photos, a retrospective of Majel in her various roles (including Number One in the original pilot for the show, a pilot rejected by NBC), with much appreciation.
In a 1991 interview, she said that Gene, "...given the choice between keeping Mr. Spock
(whom the network also hated) or the woman character, 'kept
the Vulcan and married the woman, 'cause he didn't think Leonard
would have it the other way around.' "
In 1994, in an Interview with Space Explorations, she rejected an invitation to romanticize the series:
Jim Plaxco (JP): Just to begin with a question of historical interest, why did Gene [Roddenberry] do Star Trek - why didn't he do a western or a comedy or something more traditional?
Majel Barrett Roddenberry (MBR): Because he didn't write a western or a comedy at that time.
JP: But what motivated him to go for something like Star Trek?
MBR: The idea of having a series that is producing some money. That's all. Nothing more than that.
He wrote other shows. He wrote a lot of westerns. He was head writer for "Have Gun, Will Travel". He was a very well known western writer. As a matter of fact, Star Trek was "Wagon Train to the Stars." That was the original concept of it. That's how it was supposed to happen.
See, Gene was a fantastic storyteller, probably the best in the business. What he did was tell stories. He didn't lay plots and ideas and things like that -- he told stories. You can take any one of our stories that we use right now, put western clothes on us, stick us out in the west and they'll work just as well -- any single one of them -- because they're stories about people, they're stories about things. And, of course, Gene had to put some of his philosophy into each one of them, but that was just his way of, really, getting past the censors. The censorship in those days was just horrible.
AP says Majel reprised her role as the computer's voice for the upcoming J.J. Abrams movie "Star Trek," completing her scenes two weeks ago.
There's a guestbook and more at roddenberry.com.