Known to fans as the “First Lady” of Star Trek, Majel Barrett contributed to the franchise almost as much as her husband, creator Gene Roddenberry. The iconic voice of the ship’s computer, which was the same on each of the Federation starships and the Federation space stations, was Barrett’s. She also appeared in The Original Series (TOS), The Next Generation (TNG) and Deep Space Nine (DS9) in recurring roles.
Her character on TOS, Nurse Chapel appeared in 35 of the 79 episodes. She also reprised the role in a few of the Star Trek movies. Her character played a significant role in several TOS storylines, making her a prominent figure in a male-dominated show.
However, according to E Online’s tribute to Barrett, her role wasn’t as prominent as Roddenberry had wanted. In the pilot, she was the first officer of the Enterprise, second in the chain of command. However, this was changed to appease the network, which was displeased at the idea of a female first officer.
Barret also played the boisterous and outspoken Lwaxana Troi, mother to Deanna Troi, one of the core bridge crew members on TNG. She portrayed the character in a handful of TNG and DS9 episodes.
Barrett appeared in the Star Trek universe for the last time in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek. She again lent her voice to the ship’s computer, recording her part before her death in 2008.
How Did Majel Barrett Die?
On December 18, 2008, Barrett passed away from leukemia, Today reported. The publication said that she passed while at her Bel Air home. Her son, Rod Roddenberry, was with her at the time. She was 76 years old.
She was diagnosed with the disease only six months earlier. No public announcement was made when she was diagnosed.
A few weeks after her death, on January 4th, a public memorial service was held for Barrett. TrekMovie.com reported that the memorial was organized by her family and friends. It was attended by family, friends, and fans alike. Some fans paid tribute to the “First Lady of Trek” by attending in costumes inspired by the franchise.
Several of Star Trek‘s biggest stars attended as well. Marina Sirtis, Barrett’s onscreen daughter was there along with many of her TNG colleagues including Brent Spiner and Wil Wheaton. Celebs from later Star Trek series attended as well including Robert Picardo, Ethan Phillips, and Garret Wang from Voyager and Armin Shimerman from TNG and DS9. Many of the folks from behind the cameras came as well.
Of course, some of her TOS costars — Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, and Walter Koenig — were in attendance too.
Barrett Finally Made it to Space After her Death
After dedicating her whole life to telling stories about space, Barrett wanted nothing more than to spend her afterlife exploring space with her longtime partner, Roddenberry. To accomplish this, Barrett worked with a spaceflight company called Celestis.
A few years after Roddenberry died, the company got in touch with Barrett to discuss sending his ashes into space on one of their flights. Barrett agreed with one caveat. She made the head of the company promise that when they started doing deep space flights, her ashes would be sent into space with Roddenberry’s so they could float around the galaxy for the rest of eternity.
Of course, the company agreed to her conditions. They sent Rodenberry’s ashes into space in 1997, and they sent the couple’s ashes into space and several years later.
Even after death, Barrett and Roddenberry continued to go “where no one had gone before.”
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