Majel Barrett-Roddenberry Passes Away at 76

by Robin Ruinsky
December 19, 2008

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry passed away in her home in Bel-Air of leukemia at age 76.

The widow of Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry, Barrett-Rodenberry was also the voice of the starship Enterprise through many of its incarnations. She was also the computer voice for Voyager and the Federation computer in Deep Space Nine, and she appeared as Lwaxana Troi, mother of Counselor Deanna Troi and other small roles in the many Star Trek spin-offs.

Barrett-Roddenberry had a career that spanned five decades in television and film. She’s known as Star Trek’s Nurse Chapel, but she started her career in 1957 in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? in a small uncredited role.

From there she moved to the small screen making appearances in “Leave It to Beaver”, “I Love Lucy”, “Bonanza” and a variety of other television series.

In 1964 she was Number One in the pilot episode of Star Trek, “The Cage”. Her role as the second in command to Captain Christopher Pike, was something of a groundbreaking moment. This was twenty years before the United States had its first female astronaut, Sally Ride, join a Space Shuttle crew and go where no American woman had gone before.

Groundbreaking as the character was, audiences and the network didn’t take to the idea of a woman in command and the dark-haired Number One played by Barrett became the blond Nurse Chapel played by Barrett.

When Gene Roddenberry died in 1991, his widow became the standard bearer of his legacy. It’s fitting that in the newest Star Trek film, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry is the voice of the Enterprise one last time.

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