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Star Trek Fans and Colleagues Say Goodbye At Barrett-Roddenberry Public Memorial [UPDATE: More Photos]

On Sunday the family, friends and fans of Majel Barrett Roddenberry came to Forest Lawn in the Hollywood Hills to pay their final respects to the First Lady of Star Trek. A large crowd, including many Star Trek luminaries gathered to for the official memorial. Details and photos below.
 

Trek fans and veterans say goodbye to Majel
Majel Barrett Roddenberry passed away on December 18th and there was a small private funeral for the closest friends and family in late December. Today the Roddenberry family held a public memorial for the veteran Trek actress and widow of Gene Roddenberry at The Hall of Liberty at the Forest Lawn.

The crowd of around 300 was a mix of friends, family, colleagues and Trek fans, some of whom came in costume. Majel’s Original Series co-stars Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, and George Takei were on hand, as well as many of the lead actors from TNG and subsequent series including Brent Spiner, Marina Sirtis, Wil Wheaton, Anthony Montgomery, Robert Picardo, Ethan Phillips, Armin Shimerman, and Garret Wang. Many notable Trek guest stars were also in attendance, including Arlene Martel, Vaughn Armstrong, Max Grodenchik, John DeLancie, Gary Graham and Chase Masterson. Also paying their respects were a number of Star Trek veterans from behind the camera including Ira Steven Behr, Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Rick Berman, David Gerrold, Michael Westmore, Dave Rossi, DC Fontana, and Mike & Denise Okuda.


Photo and flowers outside the hall   

The memorial itself was conducted by a number of speakers who were close to Barrett Roddenberry, each coming up to a stage ringed by flowers and large images of Barrett Roddenberry. The brief speeches were often funny and always and all very touching, with most speakers getting emotional. One of the common themes throughout was touching on Majel’s generosity, especially her love for animals and how she was constantly bringing more and more pets and strays into the family. Most also noted Barrett Roddenberry’s boisterous spirit, her parties and her frequent use of ‘colorful metaphors.’ Regular golf companion Sue Anderson got a laugh from the crowd when she noted the first time she met Roddenberry at the Bel Air Club and how she "had never heard a lady speak that way on a golf course before." 

Most of the stories were of a personal nature, but former assistant to Gene Roddenberry Richard Arnold recounted stories of Star Trek past, including how Majel and Gene would fight over her getting a role on Star Trek The Next Generation and how when Tracy Torme created the character of Lwaxana Troi for the episode "Haven," Gene told him "you’ve saved my marriage" and Gene told Majel "we have the perfect part for you…and you wont even have to act." Arnold, who works closely with many of the Trek actors at events, talked about how much Majel loved to attend the Trek conventions, especially after Gene’s passing, and noted what a passionate "champion of the fans" she was even taking specific fan causes to Paramount, like keeping a fan club from being shut down in Australia. Arnold, who was on hand when Majel visited the set of JJ Abrams new Star Trek movie, recounted the event saying:

It was a really interesting moment. I was waiting outside of Stage 18 at Paramount. She came through the old Bronson Gate in an electric cart up to the front door. She stepped off the cart and they brought her in while JJ finished the scene he was directing and she watched and asked a lot of questions. JJ came over and stopped production and had everyone gather around in a semi-circle and introduced her as the woman whose husband created the show that none of them would have jobs if it weren’t for him. She got a big round of applause and was a little embarrassed by it. Later he came over and was chatting with us and she said ‘you are really wonderful with your actors and I love what you are doing here’ and he said ‘it’s not me, it is wonderful directors and costumers’ and Majel and I just looked at each other and smiled. He said ‘what?’ and I said ‘it is the Gene speech…Gene always blamed everyone else for the success of Star Trek, but it really is you.’ And I think it was wonderful that did not only did Majel know that Star Trek was in the right hands, but she got to do the voice one last time just a few weeks ago.

And speaking of that voice, the memorial was actually the first public ‘viewing’ of her new voice performance. The event concluded with a tribute video which included a number of images and scenes from Barrett Roddenberry’s long career from TV commercials in the 60s through all the various Star Trek series, to Earth Final Conflict. And capping off a number of scenes showing her work as the computer voice on various Trek shows was a short clip from the new Star Trek feature film. This was from the ‘second scene’ shown in the 20 minute press preview where Chekov was struggling to communicate with the ship’s computer. What was different is now the voice was Majel’s. Like seeing Nimoy say ‘live long and prosper,’ hearing Majel’s voice as the computer will melt the heart of any Trekkie.


Pages from memorial booklet (click to enlarge)
[thanks Rich for scanning]

The final speaker was Majel’s and Gene’s son Rod, who spoke very frankly about his sometimes trouble relationship with his mother and how he was even surprised to hear her friends talk about how proud she was of him. Rod said that he grew much closer to her in her final years and especially as she became ill and was there with her when she died. Rod ended his remarks by reading a very moving letter he wrote to both of his parents.

In addition to his comments Rod also made a couple of announcement of special memorials for his mother. Firstly, in honor of Majel’s love for animals, the family is making a contribution to the San Diego Zoo for what will become the ‘Majel Barrett-Roddenberry Tiger Maternity Ward.’ More info in this at San Diego’s cbs8.com. In addition, the Celestis Memorial Spaceflights will be flying Gene and Majel’s ashes into space in 2012, more information at the Celestis site.

The event ended with attendees offered the chance to walk by the two urns of Majel and Gene Roddenberry, which were set up at the side of the hall in front of a life-sized wedding photo of the couple, and pay their final respects and leave any flowers or other offerings they had brought along.

All in all the inclusive event was a fitting memorial to Barrett Roddenberry filled laughing, crying, drama and Star Trek. Although it is hard to say goodbye to Majel, for those in attendance, it should be a bit easier.

Additional Photos:


Marina Sirtis (L) & George Takei (R) w/ Paramount exec A.C. Lyles


(L-R) Nichelle Nichols, Chase Masterson & Walter Koenig


Rick Berman (L) & Brent Spiner (R) w/ Michael Westmore in background


Wil Wheaton and wife (L) speaking to Roddenberry.com’s Trevor Roth (R)


Garrett Wang (L) and Anthony Montgomery (R)


Vaughn Armstrong (L) and Larry Nemecek (R)
[sorry about the closed eyes Larry]


David Gerrold & Dorothy Fontana


Ira Steven Behr (L) & John DeLancie w/ wife (back to the camera – R)


Nichelle Nichols


Robert Picardo

UPDATE: More photos
Friend of the site and professional photographer Al Ortega was also covering the event, and he has uploaded his set at PRPhotos.com. Here is one showing the urns.

More on the passing of Barrett Roddenberry

 

Sort by:   newest | oldest
Gd846c3
January 4, 2009 9:41 pm

Touching. Majel, you will always be remembered.

Admiral Grand
January 4, 2009 9:47 pm

Goodbye Majel. A fitting tribute to a unforgettable lady.

January 4, 2009 9:55 pm

So great to see so many from Trek’s 40-year history offering such a fitting tribute to the original Number One.

=A=
January 4, 2009 9:59 pm

i miss her so much and so long and prosper

Blake Powers
January 4, 2009 10:02 pm

Her voice will remain in our minds for a lifetime. What a beautiful woman, I’m glad she was able to give all the Trek Fans so much joy.

Bones, Thugs and McCoy
January 4, 2009 10:03 pm

Touching tribute – tx for sharing.

Also: Someone needs to follow Ira Steven Behr around all day with a camera – how could that not be a good reality show?

Larry
January 4, 2009 10:07 pm

I hope they have some time of tribute paragragh at the beginning of the movie and glad that she was able to participate one more time.

The Angry Klingon
January 4, 2009 11:07 pm

It was a wonderful service. It is the first expletive laced memorial service I have ever attended but those who knew Majel found it appropriate as I believe she would have. During the photo montage there was a photo of Majel I believe was probably taken near the end and she is flipping off the camera but with a smile on her face and I think that photo sort of sums her up. Rod’s testimonial was honest, heartfelt and touching. This was not your typical memorial service and there were things that were said that elicited some quiet gasps and some discomfort but it was an honest memorial that paid tribute to an amazing human being, flaws and all.
In 2012 both Gene and Majels ashes will be sent in to deep space where they will wander the universe together for eternity and to me, at least, there could be no better ending to this story then that. I take some comfort knowing that Gene and Majel will always be out there traveling together through the cosmos. If and when some sentient species discovers that probe containing their essence, their accomplishments and their vision then I can think of no two better suited to be our ambassadors.
We have all been blessed and enriched immeasurably by your lives and we are all better for you having shared this too brief a time with us.
Godspeed

Jef Mayes
January 4, 2009 11:27 pm

I’m sure some have thought of this, but if the Star Trek movies continue, Majel’s voice could still be used for the ship’s computer. I mean, as MUCH voice loop she did for the computer voice in so many Star Trek series/movies, to get the correct ‘reply’ for a line in a movie would only be a matter of hunting it down in a previous movie/episode.
I say this because I could see Majel living on into the future for a long time to come.
She will be missed.

toddk
January 4, 2009 11:40 pm

FYI the caption incorrectly reads garret wong :) would like to see more pics, especially those who showed up in uniform.

G-Boss
January 4, 2009 11:41 pm

A lovely memorial.
It was nice of so many Trek People to attend and pay their respects.

MORN SPEAKS
January 4, 2009 11:50 pm

Very nice, wish I could pay my respects.

Is there a way to ensure she gets mentioned Oscar night during the Farewell video?

Messianni
January 4, 2009 11:52 pm

Cripes there Ira, what’s with the blue beard? Seems really out of place at a memorial service, of all things…

The Angry Klingon
January 4, 2009 11:55 pm

10.
Very few showed up in costume. There were two ladies in costume (a yellow shirt and a TWOK) and the Captain Sisko lookalike and that was it.
Initially it was requested that folks NOT come in costume which was why there were so few. Dress was requested to be business casual.

The Angry Klingon
January 4, 2009 11:58 pm

9.
That was taken care of. Befvore her passing Majel recorded a veritable library of sentences, phrases words etc for future use. IN some form or fashion the voice of the Enterprise will live on.

January 5, 2009 12:39 am

Now I’m gonna cry a bit more. Already did a couple of days ago, when my wife and I were watching Amok Time again.

Bye, Majel. :(

SChaos1701
January 5, 2009 12:54 am

I wonder if any of the new cast showed up. Even though they’re still in their “infancy” they are still a part of the Star Trek Family.

Chris M
January 5, 2009 1:02 am

A very sad day indeed, you will be missed Majel!

It is also a time to celebrate her life and the incredible influence Majel had in the Star Trek Universe!

Star Trek Fan
January 5, 2009 1:47 am

Actor William Shatner (who played Captain James T. Kirk) did not attend? He also did not attend the memorial for Gene Roddenberry. The other TV stars (and even crew) made the memorial.

That is so disrespectful. Gene made Shatner a star! I commend the other actors who knew it was right to attend and pay their respects.

Shatner should be ashamed.

A Star Trek Fan

Jeffrey S. Nelson
January 5, 2009 2:08 am

Was Susan Sackett there?

AJ
January 5, 2009 2:19 am

What a great, great article.

Sounds like many Trek luminaries came out to celebrate Majel’s life.

Anthony, is it possible to get that new computer-voice clip of Majel’s on the site before May? I don’t think it will affect ticket sales. But it will make thousands of us very happy.

January 5, 2009 2:22 am

I agree – where was the Shat?

It is heartwarming to see so many in attendance.

Holodeck – exit, save program.

Nick
January 5, 2009 2:34 am

An awesome & charismatic actress who brought great passion to her performances. I am sincerely honored to have enjoyed Majel’s performance as both a Star Trek fan and in general as a fan of great characters.

Majel’s performances in the Next Generation were most fun for me and gave her, as an actress, quite some latitude to share that fun and “passion” with the audience, & perhaps her fellow thespians.

Certainly from a Star Trek point of view, perhaps there has never been as dedicated & enduring a leader (certainly a mover & a shacker in a real sense …) and always there for the audience & the fans.

Thankyou Majel

Zminus10
January 5, 2009 2:45 am

Her life was long and prosperous. May she rest in peace now.

The Angry Klingon
January 5, 2009 2:55 am

20.
…ummmmm….no. She was however mentioned during the service and not in a positive light. It was one of the awkward moments I mentioned earlier.
No Shatner
No Nimoy
There were a few folks I expected to see (like the Trimbles) that I didnt see but that doesnt mean they werent there I just didnt see them.
As for the NEW cast I didnt see anyone including JJ. If they were there they went unnoticed

January 5, 2009 3:21 am

Rest in peace Majel Barrett Roddenberry we will never foget you
Live long an prosper

January 5, 2009 4:35 am

Shat should have been there.

And is it me or are they all starting to look REALLY old now. Esp the TNG cast…well, it was 15 years ago..

Disappointed
January 5, 2009 4:59 am

I’m disappointed that Nimoy and Shatner did not attend. She was a fellow colleague and was the wife of the man whose idea of Star Trek is responsible for the success in their careers. Their absences were in very poor taste.

I know that the fact we look up to them shouldn’t distract us from remembering that these people are themselves human, however I am disappointed because I feel like they could have shown a little more class.

DarthDogg
January 5, 2009 5:14 am

#19 I was just waiting for someone to say that. This is growing tiresome. Why does Shatner take all the heat? You know, Patrick Stuwart was not there and he had more screen time with Majel than Shatner ever did, yet I dont here anyone getting there pany’s in a bunch over it. Hey you know what else… Picard had more screen time than Jordi. Lavar Burton should start a hate campain against Stuwart for the next 40 years, dont ya think…Sometimes you guy’s can be sad, small little people and..you have my pity!

Admiral Kent
January 5, 2009 5:17 am

John DeLancie or Bill Murray?

SteveinSF
January 5, 2009 5:20 am

No one knows why Nimoy, Shatner, et al, were not there. It’s not anyone’s business really. All these guys are getting up there in age and maybe it’s a painful thing for them to deal with, or maybe they didn’t know her well enough to feel comfortable to attend. Who knows and who made us judges?

Holger
January 5, 2009 5:29 am

Touching! I would have liked to attend. (Too far away, though.)

About Shatner and others not attending: People, you don’t know what reasons they had for not attending. I really doubt anyone of them didn’t attend just because he doesn’t care.

Holger
January 5, 2009 5:31 am

31 SteveinSF: Same thought at the same time, so it must be true :-)

The Gorn Identity
January 5, 2009 5:36 am

Well said, SteveinSF!

Jorg Sacul
January 5, 2009 5:37 am

#31, I totally agree with you!

This was a “public” memorial service. Shatner or Nimoy or whomever else didn’t show up for their own personal reasons, and I don’t think it’s appropriate for anyone to assign emotions to, or feign disappointment at them not being there. Have you made it to every memorial service for someone you know who has died? I know I haven’t. Real life and the experience of living that real life gets in the way.

It’s a new year my friends… How’s about we all just stop the petty “cutting down of famous people we don’t know for our own personal internet fame and gain” garbage that fills the internet on every other forum and blog?

CmdrR
January 5, 2009 6:13 am

A fine lady. A great legacy.

oh… and, Lookin’ mighty scruffy there, Wil!

The Angry Klingon
January 5, 2009 6:16 am

Not really sure why Shatner and Nimoy are being singled out. As I stated earlier there were a lot of people not there. I didnt see ANY of the captains from any incarnation. From Next Gen we had Marina Sirtis, John De Lancie and Will Wheaton. From TOS we had Nichelle, George and Walter. From DS9 I saw Chase, Armin, Cirroc and Max Grodenchik. Voyager was represented by Bob Picardo, Ethan Phillips and Garrett Wang and Anthony Montgomery from Enterprise. There were a LOT of folks who werent there and I dont think its fair to ascribe any particular meaning to any of their absences. It was a fitting tribute to Majel and there were a lot of moist eyes (mine included). This thread should be about remembering Majel <3

January 5, 2009 6:43 am

ATTENTION: Numbers 19 and 28 Posters?…both of those comments were unneeded and in very poor taste.

This is a Majel Tribute page.

Those are elderly men and if it wasn’t for that I would bet you credits to navy beans …they would have been there mister.

Paul B.
January 5, 2009 7:19 am
Look, folks, just because Shatner, Stewart, and Nimoy weren’t there doesn’t mean ANYTHING. A simple matter of prior commitments could explain it; haven’t any of you had to miss attending something special because you had prior scheduling? So relax, it’s not important. But on the topic of those who attended the service, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say SHAME ON YOU to the fans who showed up in costume. THIS is why the world looks at us like freaks; some of us insist on acting like it! In what twisted world is it acceptable or respectful to show up at a FUNERAL in a TV-show costume? Especially after the family had SPECIFICALLY asked fans NOT to do so?! Sure, it was only a few fans, but those few should still have had the class, or at least the basic human decency, to know better. That’s just part of being humans living together in a civilization. YET…Majel would have been the first to be gracious to those costumed fans because SHE knew when to be a lady. (And she apparently knew quite well when to be a hellraiser, too!) So I’ll just leave my critique as it is and say no more on that… I still can’t believe how hard I’m taking Majel’s death. I’ve posted before about briefly working with her at a convention booth, but that’s hardly enough to make this loss feel so personal. I was crushed when DeForest Kelley died, and when… Read more »
SebiMeyer
January 5, 2009 7:23 am

From what I can tell this was a very fitting tribute. Especially Richard Arnolds words moved me as I have met him several times at FedCon Germany (4, eons ago) and know him to always speak his mind.

Many thanks for this report and again my condolences to her friends and family, as well as the Star Trek family on the whole. She will be missed.

Chris Doohan
January 5, 2009 7:40 am

It was a wonderful, touching memorial. A year or two back, Rod gave me a DVD showing my dad, Gene and Majel sailing together. They all looked so happy.

It’s nice to know that they are all together again. C

Alex Aslanidis
January 5, 2009 7:41 am

Very sad and the end of an era. I met Majel once in the early 90’s
And she was very sweet and kind. I loved her in Star Trek.
Peace and love to her family and all who loved her.
Alex Aslanidis

January 5, 2009 7:42 am

@38: I agree with you. People sometimes have prior commitments that they cannot pull out. There is also those who pay their respects in different ways, not wanting to do it amongst strangers or friends. I would dare not speak of the reasons of others “especially” if I don’t know the reasons that would also be “NONE OF MY BUSINESS”. Whatever the reasons for those who could not make it (I was extended an invitation from the family as well), it is THEIR reason and deserves no explanation to any group other than the family of Majel’s. Try not to make up your own analogies about people you do not know.

@SebiMeyer: Hello and I would love to see you back at Fedcon this year. It has become supeb. (Sorry for going off topic Anthony)

@PaulB: Well said dude. How ’bout I raise a glass up to “you?”

Majel will be missed and although I spoke at Jimmy’s launch from the New Mexico desert a few years back, it should be fitting for Richard (Arnold) to take up that task at the launch of both Majel and Gene of which I plan to be there as well.

Miss you girl!

Chancellor Jake
January 5, 2009 7:45 am

I’m crying as I read this article. It looks like it was a beautiful remembrance ceremony. I loved the story about her use of “colorful metaphors”.
Rest Well, Majel. You will be missed.

I’m pleased to see that so many people turned out and it looks like many of her former cast members had tears in their eyes. She really touched so many people with her kindness.

Dr. Image
January 5, 2009 8:09 am

All the cast and crew members share such a familial bond because of Trek.
It really has created something more than just a TV show.
Godspeed Majel.
You will never be forgotten.

fatmanbruno
January 5, 2009 8:18 am

Regarding Patrick Stewarts absence, unfortunately he is very commited to a certain London play with David Tennant (yes Davids back is much better!!)
I suppose a video response might have been acceptable but like Shatner and Nimoy they all probably thought there presence there would only cause a scene and prefered to let Majel’s memorial have the dignity it deserved.

Anthony Thompson
January 5, 2009 8:47 am

It sounds like it was a wonderful tribute.

GaryS
January 5, 2009 8:52 am

I was there too.
Very emotional.
as for who showed up,
I saw George Takei and Robert Picardo.
I was standing in line with actor Don Marshall.
I overheard him say he costarred with Niochelle Nichols in her first TV role in The Lieutenant which also costarred Dennis Hopper.
As for Shatner and Nimoy.
I didnt expect them to be there,
Remember there has already been a private service for family and friends.
They probably went to that service .

Capt Mike Of The Terran Empire
January 5, 2009 9:04 am

Good Bye Majel. It will be great to hear your voive in Trek one more time and a bit Sad as well. You will always be remembered. Thank you for all you have done and all the Entertaining you have given us fans.

Qwho51
January 5, 2009 9:07 am

She is not really dead, as long as we remember her.
Majel, I look forward to seeing you and Gene on the other side. Wow, will you two be surprised.
“Live Long and Prosper”, in our hearts and minds!

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