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Trekkies gather to bid Majel Barrett-Roddenberry farewell

January 4, 2009 |  5:22 pm

Majel Barrett Roddenberry

Trekkies -- and some "Star Trek" cast members -- gather in L.A. today to honor a Bel Air woman who many consider central to the making of the franchise.  What brought out Lt. Uhura, Mr. Sulu and Mr. Chekov? Gene Johnson of City News Service explains:

More than 250 family, friends and trekkies from across the "Star Trek'' universe gathered at a Los Angeles cemetery to bid farewell to the voice of the starship Enterprise today. Majel Barrett-Roddenberry died two weeks ago, just a few weeks after laying down audio tracks for the upcoming "Star Trek'' movie in her recurring role as the ship's computer voice. She was 76, and her funeral today was opened to fans of the TV show by her survivors. Unlike most "Star Trek" gatherings, few people wore costumes at the packed funeral, inside the Hall of Liberty at the Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills cemetery. Other than three people wearing Star Fleet Academy formal tunics, most of the audience wore regular clothes -- but most sported "Star Trek" rings, pins or medallions. Fans from across the continent paid tribute, including one man from Kentucky who runs a blog called Roddenberry.com. "We just turned in some questions for an interview with her about her being in the new movie," said Dennis Rayburn, fidgeting with a Star Fleet Academy ring. "But, to the best of my knowledge, she never got a chance to answer them." Also attending and mourning were veteran actors Nichelle "Lt. Uhura" Nichols, George "Mr. Sulu'' Takei and Walter "Mr. Chekov'' Koenig. Under her maiden name, Barrett-Roddenberry played a starship's first officer in the very first "Star Trek'' TV show, the 1966 pilot show that originally was turned down by NBC. She then shifted to the role of Nurse Christine Chapel in the first TV series starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy.

Here's The Times' obit for her.

--Shelby Grad

Photo: Roddemberry Archives. Majel Barrett Roddenberry poses with her husband, Gene Roddenberry.