|Majel Roddenberry played Nurse Chapel on ''Star Trek.'' (Roddenberry Productions)|
Majel Roddenberry; actress was the widow of 'Star Trek' creator; at 76
LOS ANGELES - Majel Barrett Roddenberry, the widow of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry, nurtured the legacy of the seminal science fiction series after her husband's death.
She was involved in the "Star Trek" universe for more than four decades. She played the dark-haired Number One in the original pilot for the television series, but metamorphosed into the blond, miniskirted Nurse Christine Chapel in the original 1966-69 show.
She had smaller roles in all five of its television successors and many of the "Star Trek" movie incarnations, although she had little involvement in the productions.
Mrs. Roddenberry died of leukemia Thursday at her home in Bel-Air, said Sean Rossall, a family spokesman. She was 76.
She frequently was the voice of the ship's computer, and about two weeks ago she completed the same role for the upcoming J.J. Abrams movie "Star Trek," Rossall said.
Mrs. Roddenberry also helped keep the franchise alive by inspiring fans and attended a major "Star Trek" convention each year, Rossall said.
"I think 'Star Trek' will always be her legacy," Rossall said.
"Star Trek" and its successors often focused on political and philosophical issues of the day. Mrs. Roddenberry and her husband, who died in 1991, believed in creating "thoughtful entertainment" and were proud of the show and the passionate devotion of its fans, Rossall said.
"My mother truly acknowledged and appreciated the fact that 'Star Trek' fans played a vital role in keeping the Roddenberry dream alive for the past 42 years," her son, Eugene Jr., said in a statement on the Roddenberry website.
"It was her love for the fans, and their love in return, that kept her going for so long after my father passed away."
Born Majel Lee Hudec in Cleveland, she began taking acting classes as a child. She had some stage roles and in the late 1950s and 1960s had bit parts in a few movies and small roles in television series, including "Leave It to Beaver" and "Bonanza."
She met her husband in 1964 during a guest role for a Marine Corps drama he produced called "The Lieutenant." That same year, she was cast in the pilot for the "Star Trek" series as the no-nonsense second in command. The pilot did not appeal to NBC executives, and a second pilot was made, although parts of the original later showed up in a two-part episode called "The Menagerie."
The couple married in Japan in 1969 after "Star Trek" was canceled. Mrs. Roddenberry also was the executive producer for two other television science fiction series, "Andromeda" and "Earth: Final Conflict."