Friday, December 19, 2008
Goodbye Nurse Chapel
Majel Barret-Roddenberry died yesterday at home after reportedly battling leukemia. She was 76.
She had been involved with the Star Trek franchise literally since Day One - she portrayed the second in command "Number One" in the original pilot. Apparently NBC wasn't ready for the idea of a strong woman leader, so she became Nurse Christine Chapel, mooning over Mr. Spock in the original series.
She also portrayed Lwaxana Troi - the hapless in love mind reading Betazoid mother of the Deanna Troi character on Star Trek The Next Generation, as well as providing the computer voice for the latest iteration of the starship Enterprise.
She was married to Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the Star Trek franchise. After his death in 1991, she became the Star Trek Universe's First Lady - overseeing the franchise her husband started and was such a large part of her performing career.
I've always been of the opinion that she was underrated as an actress. Nurse Chapel was fairly one dimensional. Luwaxana Troi's character at least had some comedic overtones. Ms. Roddenberry covered both roles quite well.
She started out in a universe "where no man has gone before." She ended in a universe where "no one has gone before" due in no small part to her efforts. Godspeed, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry.