August 19, 2021, is the day on which millions of “Star Trek” fans worldwide celebrate the centennial of the birth for their franchise’s creator — Gene Roddenberry. Like most famous people who are remembered on anniversaries, there have been many stories published about Roddenberry.
As expected, StarTrek.com shared a story that detailed his life as a pilot, police officer, and writer in just a few paragraphs. IndieWire published an article that addressed Roddenberry’s “glorious future.” Deadline released news that there will soon be a film about Roddenberry, produced by his son, Rod.
Even as attractive as they are, it might be constructive to go back and look at some of the thoughts from those people who knew him best. Those folks who worked with “the Great Bird of the Galaxy” talked a lot about the man. The following are some of the interesting quotes and thoughts from people fans know about Eugene Wesley Roddenberry.
“Gene was a typical writer in that he lived in his head a lot,” Shatner told writer, Scott Collura. “It’s my view that people write — professional writers, people who do a lot of writing, sit in their office, their chair, wherever they’re writing, and are by themselves and living in their head. And they may do so because they’re not adept at dealing with people. So they make fiction.”
Mr. Bennett was the person that Paramount Pictures brought in after “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” proved to be not as successful and profitable as they wished. Many, including The Hollywood Reporter, wrote that Bennett saved the franchise. Because of his role, he and the Great Bird did not see eye-to-eye, which caused Roddenberry to “stew and scheme,” according to writer Jack Klause.
Those interactions would not be forgotten. Years later, Bennett made his opinion clear:
“I did not like Gene Roddenberry, he did not like me … I found him to be egocentric and difficult to work with,” Bennett said in 2012 at a live event, which SyFyWire reported on. “That does not diminish his contribution, his genius, and that special ability that Gene had which I would call promotional genius. He knew how to take things and make them instantaneously important.”
Much has been written about how “Star Trek” affected Goldberg, including the story of how she reacted to seeing Nichelle Nichols on television for the first time.
Another story is how Goldberg got herself the role of Guinan on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” thanks to the help of LeVar Burton and a phone call to Roddenberry himself.
“I think … in my head… now that they thought ‘this bitch is crazy — she is never going to come do this show,’” Goldberg said in a video interview with the Television Academy. “So I go, and Gene Roddenberry says to me, ‘OK. You have to explain this to me.’ I said ‘What?’ He said, ‘Why do you want to do this?’”
“I said, ‘Gene, do you know that before Lt. Uhura, Black people didn’t exist in the future?’ He said, ‘What?’ I said ‘No, no. It’s true. No science fiction existed with us in any of the movies. We’re just not there. This is the first time we appear in the future.’”
As many are aware, Sir Patrick Stewart was not Roddenberry’s favorite choice to portray Jean-Luc Picard. In a video interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Stewart shared a memory of what Roddenberry must have been thinking when they were both on set together.
“Gene would come down to the set… two or three times during the week, and he would sit in the director’s chair and watch what we were doing,” said Stewart. “And occasionally I would catch him looking at me, and I know … I know that he was thinking ‘What the hell is this guy doing on my show?’”
Fans know her best as Dr. Katherine Pulaski on “The Next Generation,” but she also appeared on “The Original Series.” She appeared in two episodes — “Return to Tomorrow” and “Is There in Truth No Beauty?”
Muldaur spoke with Mark D. Altman and Ed Gross for their “The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History Of Star Trek – The First 25 Years” book. What she had to say about Roddenberry summarized what many thought — and still think of him.
“A lot of people try to diminish the genius in order to put themselves up there, and I have said to them, don’t ever forget his genius, because none of us would be here without him, period,” said
Muldaur. “That’s just the way it is whether you like it or you don’t like it. He created this. There is no question in my mind that Roddenberry is a genius.”