Who was Gene Roddenberry?

American producer and writer Gene Roddenberry created the highly influential Star Trek TV series in the 60s.

Born in 1921, Gene Roddenberry was a World War II Army pilot before becoming a writer and producer for TV. He started the Star Trek TV series, which produced 6 feature-length films with the original cast. The series continued to increase with new characters and films even after Roddenberry died of cardiac arrest in 91.

He joined the Army after studying law enforcement at Los Angeles City College and participated in over 85 missions during World War II, getting the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal. While in the South Pacific, he wrote poetry and stories for publications.

After the war, Roddenberry took a job as a commercial pilot for Pan American World Airlines. He moved back to LA to start a career in television as a writer.

Roddenberry worked at the LA Police Department as a speechwriter and spokesperson while trying to get into the entertainment industry.

Good for him, LAPD often consulted for the police show Dragnet, giving him the chance to enhance his scriptwriting skills. He got his 1st official television credit for an episode of Mr. District Attorney and over the years he wrote for programs such as Naked City, Have Gun, Will Travel, and West Point. He won his 1st Emmy for Have Gun, Will Travel.

In the 60s, he started working on a sci-fi show that he thought of as Wagon Train set in outer space. His original pilot was banned by NBC as “too cerebral,” but he was given another chance and in ‘66 and the 1st episode of Star Trek aired with a diverse cast, including Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, William Shatner, and Nichelle Nichols. The show was about the U.S.S. Enterprise crew as it went on a 5-year mission to “boldly go where no man has gone before” in the far reaches of the galaxy.

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