Legendary ‘Star Trek’ Model-Maker Gregory Jein Dead at 76

Greg Jein

Michael Okuda Greg Jein at an event.

Oscar- and Emmy-nominated model maker, artist, and landscape miniature creator Gregory Jein, who worked on multiple “Star Trek” iterations, died on May 22, 2022, according to numerous friends and associates who publicly shared the news for the first time on June 28, 2022. He had reportedly been in declining health for some time and was 76 years old at the time of his death.

According to Memory Alpha, Jein — as a production staffer, employee of a model-making shop, or as the proprietor of his own company, Gregory Jein, Inc. — lent his talents to “Star Trek: Phase II,” “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier,” “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country,” “Star Trek: Insurrection,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” and “Star Trek: Voyager.” His many other credits, according to the Internet Movie Database, included “Dark Star,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “1941,” “One from the Heart,” “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension,” “The Hunt for Red October,” “The Scorpion King,” “Avatar,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Interstellar,” and the live-action version of “Mulan.” He was nominated twice for an Academy Award, for the Steven Spielberg films “1941” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” and twice for an Emmy, for the “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” episode “Trials and Tribble-ations” and the HBO miniseries “Angels in America.”

Jein Worked on at Least 8 ‘Star Trek’ Films & Shows 

Once news of Jein’s death began to spread, his friends and colleagues took to social media to express condolences and share memories. Longtime “Star Trek” graphic designer Michael Okuda, on June 28, 2022, wrote the following on Facebook: “Deeply saddened by passing of legendary modelmaker Gregory Jein, whose work ranged from ‘Dark Star’ and the Jolly Green Giant to ‘Firefox,’ ‘Buckaroo Banzai,’ ‘The Hunt for Red October,’ ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ and ‘Star Trek.’ Greg had a wry sense of humor and was endlessly inventive. He always seemed to find a way to provide us with spaceships, even when only a tiny budget was available. He genuinely loved ‘Star Trek,’ and was always generous with his expertise and his experience, giving many top modelers their start in the business. Greg had been ill for some time, but his passing is nevertheless a gut punch. The world of ‘Star Trek’ and of fantastic filmmaking has gotten a little smaller with the passing of our friend, Gregory Jein.”

Another familiar “Star Trek” figure, illustrator Rick Sternbach, also commented via Facebook about Jein’s death. On June 28, 2022, he wrote, “Some of us had heard inklings earlier but the news is now out. Greg Jein has passed, and the film and miniature world is a better place for his having lived in it and contributed so much. I first got to meet Greg in the late 70s, and followed his exploits up to and beyond the times he and his colleagues brought some of my ‘Star Trek’ ship designs to life. Thank you for your friendship, and your amazing talent.”

Jein’s ‘Trek’ Credits Included the Emmy-winning ‘DS9’ episode, ‘Trials and Tribble-ations’ 

John Eaves, a veteran “Star Trek” designer and illustrator, first worked with Jein at Gregory Jein, Inc., in 1989, on the film “Star Trek: The Final Frontier,” according to Memory Alpha. Eaves, in a Facebook post on June 28, 2022, wrote, “As the news is spreading today all of us that have been keeping this sad news quiet can finally talk. Several weeks ago I called Greg Jein up to see if he would like to get some dinner. I got his old message machine and an hour later I received a call back saying that he had passed a couple of days earlier. This was a phone call I never wanted to get but knew it was coming. Greg’s health was on the downside and I was afraid that he was in his twilight. His passing has left a hole in my heart that will never heal. He was a great great friend and was a man I always admired.. I was a fan from the mid 70’s, met him in 84 and happily started working for him in the mid to late 80’s. Words are hard to come by to share who he was to so many of us and I am deeply saddened by his passing. Going to end this post here but will post more soon.”