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TOS & TNG Producer Robert Justman Has Passed Away May 31, 2008

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Celebrity,TNG,TOS , trackback

TrekMovie.com is sad to announce that another member of the original Star Trek family has passed away. Robert Justman, a producer on both Star Trek The Original Series and Star Trek The Next Generation died at his home in Los Angeles Wednesday from complications due to Parkinson’s disease; Justman was 81.

A major force behind the scenes
Robert Justman’s life with Trek started in 1964 with the first pilot for Star Trek The Original Series, “The Cage” where he was brought in as an associate producer and he remained with the series until half way through the third season. Justman described his responsibilities on the show in an interview with TrekMovie last year:

You know how today there are 20 or 30 producers on a show. On Star Trek Gene Roddenberry was the executive producer and there were two associate producers: John D.F. Black, who was for the stories, and Bob Justman, who did everything else. If anything needed handling and there wasn’t anyone to do it I would make it mine. That meant that I had input into story and script, casting, set design, set cost, set dressing, props, cutting…every function that has to be handled by someone I would do.

While Roddenberry, Black, DC Fontana and Gene Coon were focusing on the scripts, it was Justman who was the producer on the set and handling much of the hiring and firing and post-production for the show (including overseeing the effects and music). He left the show in the third season after he felt it was declining in quality. However, he came back to Trek when Gene Roddenberry brought him in as a supervising producer for Star Trek The Next Generation in 1986. Justman worked closely with Roddenberry in putting together the series and had a big influence in the creation of the characters and the casting. In fact it was Justman that found and pushed for the casting of Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard, something that Roddenberry initially resisted. As the first season of TNG wound down Justman left the show and retired, feeling that he had done the job he came to do. In the LA Times obituary on Justman, Rick Berman (who worked closely with him on TNG) said of Justman:

I can’t tell you how nurturing this guy was to me. He was like a mentor and a father. He was extraordinary. Justman designed sets, models and visual effects and oversaw character and script development for the debut of “The Next Generation.”

Justman recounted his time with Trek in one of the best insider accounts, the 1996 book “Inside Star Trek: The Real Story” written with Herb Solow.

Bob Justman even got a shuttlecraft named after him

There was much more to Robert Justman’s life then just Star Trek. Born in New York City in 1926, Justman served as a Radioman in the US Navy during World War II. After the war he attended UCLA before entering a career in film and television production. He served as a production assistant on a number of films in the 1950s and then moved on to become an associate producer and assistant director for both film and TV. Justman was assistant director on films such as ”Kiss Me Deadly” (1955) and ”Mutiny on the Bounty” (1962) as well as 12 episodes of “The Adventures of Superman” (1954-55) and 20 episodes of “The Outer Limits” (1963-65). Between leaving Star Trek in 1969 and his return with Next Generation in 1986, Justman focused on producing, working on such shows as ‘Mission: Impossible”, and ”The Man from Atlantis.” In addition to all of that, Justman also served as a uniformed volunteer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for more than 20 years.

Justman proudly showed me his badge after an interview last year.

Robert Justman is survived by his wife of 51 years, Jacqueline; a daughter, Jennifer; his sons Jonathan and William; two sisters, Estelle Osborne and Jill Roach; a brother, Anthony; and five grandchildren.

Nimoy on a very sad week in Star Trek
Justman is the third member of the Original Series to pass away recently. In a message to the fans sent in to TrekMovie.com, Leonard Nimoy reflects on the recent passings::

In quick succession we have lost Joe Pevney who was one of the best directors of Star Trek episodes along with Marc Daniels who passed some time ago. Both brought a rich theatricality to the work which made their episodes shine.

We have also lost Bob Justman who was a treasure to me. He would listen wisely, with an honest ear, and respond helpfully whenever there were creative differences of opinion. Also Alexander Courage who wrote the, now, unforgettable original theme music.

All made major contributions for which we can all be thankful.

– Leonard Nimoy

More on Bob Justman:
LA Times Obituary
Memory Alpha Page, IMDB Page, Wiki Page

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
May 31, 2008 11:46 pm

A huge lost, my thoughts are with his family…..

May 31, 2008 11:50 pm

Many thanks to Mr. Justman for producing the seminal adventures of Trek. May he rest in peace.

Anthony Thompson
June 1, 2008 12:02 am

From everything I’ve read, he made that series tick. He was probably as indispensible as anyone can be. I am very sorry to hear of his passing.

June 1, 2008 12:06 am

Penvy, then courage and now justman..Tears are finally starting to fall..no more deaths please..:(:( RIP all

Gary Seven
June 1, 2008 12:18 am

This is really too much loss in one week. Very very sad, because these men did some truly wonderful things. They mattered.

Captain Robert April
June 1, 2008 12:18 am

There’d better be one very large dedication card for this flick…

June 1, 2008 12:24 am

I’m awfully sorry to hear this. Bob Justman’s contributions to Trek can’t be overstated, and I was always glad to come across an interview with him. God bless, Bob.

June 1, 2008 12:48 am

Another sad Trek loss

June 1, 2008 12:54 am

So sad to hear this. My thoughts are with his family. RIP Mr. Justman.

June 1, 2008 1:04 am

RIP Mr. Justman, and my condolences to his friends and family.

June 1, 2008 1:18 am

Man, this has really affected me.

This is a terrible week.

Rest in Peace, sir.

June 1, 2008 1:33 am

So sad, I’d hoped he’d make it to see the new film

June 1, 2008 1:51 am

Wow, Pevney, Courage, Justman! Godspeed all, your work was appreciated by me and the next generation of Trekkies in my family.

Jeffrey S. Nelson
June 1, 2008 2:41 am

13. Ali

My thoughts exactly. But I’m sure he’ll be watching the new film from the final frontier. Incredible talent.

June 1, 2008 2:53 am

We are witnessing the end of the TOS era.
Truly a sad time.

June 1, 2008 2:54 am

This is really sad. I met Mr. Justman some 14 years ago on a con here in germany and he was such a kind person. He spent much more than just his panel time with the fans and he talked about much more than just trek. Meeting him will be one of those few experiences I’ll hopefully never forget.

Jason Gamble
June 1, 2008 3:02 am

Very sad week, but lets remember and honour them for the things they gave us. Rest in peace guys..and THANK YOU.

June 1, 2008 3:11 am
Every day now it seems we’re losing more of Star Trek’s ”greatest generation.” As Star Trek itself continues and inspires in new incarnations, it is a testament to their creativity, foresight, hard work and they will be missed in person but not in spirit. Growing up with the original Star Trek, some original airings but mostly syndication, seeing Robert H. Justman’s name in the credits is one of the images burned into my nostalgic soul. As Star Trek continued to capture my youthful and idealistic heart, I picked up the book ”The Making of Star Trek” (the veritable ”bible” for… Read more »
June 1, 2008 3:31 am

Wow! They say things happen in threes. What a loss for the film community!

Through the years, having read countless interviews with Mr. Justman, it was obvious he was a man of integrity and creativity.

As a team, he [Justman], Gene Coon and Gene Roddenberry (as well as countless others) changed the face of televised science fiction forever.

Say what you will about other science fiction shows, I somehow doubt any will have the longlasting appeal of what this team created in 1964.

The stars are shining a bit brighter in the night sky knowing yet another artist has joined the cosmos.

June 1, 2008 3:56 am

I really do feel sad to hear this. He came across as a wonderful character in interviews, video and text, and in his wonderfully funny Inside Star Trek – his tales of Shatner staeling hairpieces are a gem. He certainly seems to have been quite a character and must have been great to work with and to have known.

Thanks for the dream, Bob.

June 1, 2008 4:04 am
It’s a sad time: a great generation is dying out. I always liked what Robert Justman wrote and said about Trek. He was also a man of great loyalty, to the extent that he walked away from TNG and risked his friendship with Gene Roddenberry by not telling Roddenberry exactly why he was going. His account of his last meeting with Roddenberry is very moving in his excellent book. It’s been a bad few months. My grandfather who was a similar age also died a few weeks back, And while we’re on the subject of dying, can we stop putting… Read more »
June 1, 2008 4:27 am
–with compliments to The Righteous Brothers: If you believe in the future Then it’s in the stars waiting for you If there’s a Star Trek heaven Well you know they’ve got a hell of a crew Gene R gave us the vision And DeForest gave a piece of his heart And Jimmy brought us all into dock every day Sing a song to light the sky Remember Bob that way They’ve all found another place Another place to play If you believe in the future Then it’s in the stars waiting for you If there’s a Star Trek heaven Well… Read more »
June 1, 2008 4:31 am

Very sad, the old Guard is passing away before our eyes. I never Met Robert Justman but I wish I had.

June 1, 2008 4:37 am

Tough times indeed.

The era of the original series is rapidly drawing to an end.

Condolences to the Justman family.

Anthony thanks for sharing your experiences with Mr. Justman – great stuff.

…the adventure continues…

June 1, 2008 4:38 am
R.I.P Robert Justman this is for you It’s been a long road Getting from there to here It’s been a long time But my time is finally near. And I will see my dream come to life at last I will touch the sky And they’re not going to hold me down no more No they’re not going to change my mind Cause I’ve got faith of the heart I’m going where my heart will take me I’ve got faith to believe That I can do anything I’ve got strength of the soul And no one’s going to bend or… Read more »
June 1, 2008 5:10 am
Even more fitting perhaps: From Hamlet . . . To be, or not to be–that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune Or to take arms against a sea of troubles And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep– No more–and by a sleep to say we end The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep– To sleep–perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub, For in that sleep of death what dreams may… Read more »
June 1, 2008 5:14 am
This is so sad. Unfortunately…and I really hate to say it, but the recent loss of TOS veterans has to be “expected” given the generation of so many who were well into adulthood when working in the 1960s. Its sad, because in typical human fashion, no one really thinks about age and loss–or how there may come a time when it happens often, until it actually happens. Meaning taking the time to appreciate individual lives in the community should be a priority. To Mr. Justman, and all others who have passed, I can only hope that they are Up There,… Read more »
DJ Neelix
June 1, 2008 5:27 am

On a positive note, his work has subsequently reached out to many people, and it will not be forgotten. He’s now a significant part of television history. Thank you!

June 1, 2008 5:49 am

I am deeply saddened by this great loss.
My Sympathies go out.

June 1, 2008 6:08 am

Very sad to hear of Mr. Justman’s passing. From all the accounts I have read, he was a real class act. My most heartfelt prayers go out to Mrs. Justman.

June 1, 2008 6:28 am

Wow…another tremedous loss!

I’ll always remembered the time at met him at a convention in Texas and we had a one-on-one conversation about his work on Trek AND the original Outer Limits.

Very accessible, very nice and seemed like a warm and genuine guy.

My condolences to his surviving family (It seems like I have been posting these condolences a lot lately…too much…).

Tim Handrahan
June 1, 2008 6:30 am

A very sad day for Trek! I would have liked to have seen him live long enough to see the new film. His involvement in the Trek universe cannot be minimized. His contributions strengthened the Original Series and helped to create the Next Generation.

June 1, 2008 6:58 am

Wow… Rough week for TOS veterans.

Very sad to see Justman’s passing. :(

Very glad for his contributions to Trek.

June 1, 2008 7:27 am

My deepest condolences to Bob’s family. And thanks for the work he left behind, which still inspires.

June 1, 2008 7:28 am

wow what a crappy week, Pevney, Courage and now Robert Justman – very sad indeed, I love his “Inside Star Trek” book I’ve read it several times. Great man.

Thomas Marrone
June 1, 2008 7:28 am

This is terrible news. Mr. Justman always seemed like a wonderful and interesting man from any of his interviews that have been released.

I think it’d be a wonderful gesture if in ‘Star Trek,’ at the end or beginning or somewhere there were a dedication to the production staff and cast of the original show, especially those who have passed on. Something like the challenger dedication they put at the beginning of Star Trek IV.

June 1, 2008 7:44 am

Not only Pevney, Courage and Justman, but March Daniels and Jerry Goldsmith have passed on. What a year.

June 1, 2008 7:46 am

I hope JJ Abrams will do something in rememberance of these creative people who bought forward such a wonderful TV series and set of characters.

June 1, 2008 7:54 am


That’s cool you got to know him Anthony. A nice share with us. Thanks.

As was mentioned. That Solow and Justman book, “Inside Trek”, is great. Looking at it as I type this. It’s right between my Encyclopedia Shatnerica and my signed by the author first edition of “I Am Not Spock”.

Tanner Waterbury
June 1, 2008 8:00 am
From a song i am very fond of by Pink Floyd: So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell, blue skies from pain. Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail? A smile from a veil? Do you think you can tell? And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts? Hot ashes for trees? Hot air for a cool breeze? Cold comfort for change? And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage? How I wish, how I wish you were here. We’re… Read more »
June 1, 2008 8:04 am

But, as always with death, there is new life. Next year, STAR TREK should have dedications of the film to at least some of these men.

Irish Trekki
June 1, 2008 8:17 am


Sorry to hear about his death, hope his family are ok.

June 1, 2008 8:22 am

Bob Justman was involved with the Disney “Man in Space” film series in the 1950s, which was a major influence on me as a kid growing up at the very beginning of the space age, so I can say that he was one of the reasons I decided to become a space artist. He was always gracious and generous with his time, sincere and steadfast in his convictions on how to get the job done on the show, and I admired him for that. I will miss him.


June 1, 2008 8:22 am

Oh, god this is sad.

I met Mr. Justman once and have seen him on several occasions. He was a gentleman in an old-fashioned way: polite, soft-spoken but firm-minded and direct.

He displayed less ego or interest in drawing people’s attention to himself than any “Hollywood” person I’ve ever encountered.

My thoughts are with those who loved and knew him. Bless him and bless them all.

The Underpants Monster
June 1, 2008 8:34 am

What a man. What a loss. I hope he had some idea of the number of lives he affected with his work.

June 1, 2008 8:48 am

Considering its impact on Star Trek, its probably only fitting to mention here that Bebe Barron, one half of the composing team for the “electronic tonalities” for Forbidden Planet passed away back in April.

Dr. Image
June 1, 2008 8:50 am

What a huge loss. I’ve just been re-reading his and Herb Solow’s book- the definitive story of the classic Trek era- and thinking about what an incredible experience it must have been to work with him back then.
Rest in peace, Bob.

Mr. Bob Dobalina
June 1, 2008 9:22 am

Sad news indeed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones. His book with Herb Solow remains THE definitive last word on TOS from those who were there. The only consolation is his tremendous legacy of work and the comforting knowledge that it will be enjoyed by millions for years and years to come. A true one of a kind who had no small part in the development and creation of the best show ever. Rest easy Robert Justman and thank you.

June 1, 2008 9:23 am

It really is like something is changing in Trek culture … all these passings of those who worked on the original show right as the new Abram’s team is busy with a completely new take on their stories, characters, and musical themes. It’s almost like they lived long enough to see their work passed on to another generation dedicated to keeping Trek alive. Very interesting times, nostalgic, sad and hopeful for the future of the franchise.

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