Tiger Maternity Ward to Be Named After `Star Trek' Creator's Widow - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Tiger Maternity Ward to Be Named After `Star Trek' Creator's Widow

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San Diego Zoo officials announced that the tiger maternity ward will be named in the honor of Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, the widow of the creator of the "Star Trek" TV shows and movies.

Barrett-Roddenberry's son, Eugene 'Rod' Roddenberry Jr., said the family will make a contribution in her name. The announcement came as more than 250 family, friends and trekkies from across the "Star Trek" universe gathered at a Los Angeles cemetery to bid farewell to the voice of the starship Enterprise Sunday.

Barrett-Roddenberry died two weeks ago, just a few weeks after laying down audio tracks for the upcoming "Star Trek" movie in her recurring role as the ship's computer voice. She was 76, and her funeral was opened to fans of the TV show by her survivors.

Unlike most Star Trek gatherings, few people wore costumes at the packed funeral, inside the Hall of Liberty at the Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills cemetery. Other than three people wearing Star Fleet Academy formal tunics, most of the audience wore regular clothes -- but most sported Star Trek rings, pins or medallions.

Fans from across the continent paid tribute, including one man from
Kentucky who runs a blog called Roddenberry.com.

"We just turned in some questions for an interview with her about her being in the new movie," said Rayburn, fidgeting with a Star Fleet Academy ring. "But, to the best of my knowledge, she never got a chance to answer them."

Also attending and mourning were veteran actors Nichelle "Lt. Uhura"
Nichols, George "Mr. Sulu" Takei and Walter "Mr. Chekov" Koenig.

Under her maiden name, Barrett-Roddenberry played a starship's first officer in the very first "Star Trek" TV show, the 1966 pilot show that originally was turned down by NBC. She then shifted to the role of Nurse Christina Chapel in the first TV series starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy.

Roddenberry also played Chapel in two of the "Star Trek" movies, "Star
Trek: The Motion Picture" and "Star Trek: The Voyage Home." And she played the recurring role of the lusty Lwaxana Troi on the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and"Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" TV series.

She also was the voice of the Starship Enterprise for six of the 10
"Star Trek" movies that have been released.

In 1969, she married series creator Gene Roddenberry, and became known as the "First Lady of Star Trek." She died on December 18, 2008, at her home in Bel-Air as a result of complications from leukemia.

At Sunday's funeral, friends portrayed her as a tough-but-fair woman who "talked like a sailor just like men," said close family friend Pam Vetter. "While she loved to laugh, her favorite was telling dirty jokes with the guys, the dirtier, the better.

"But, on top of all of this, she was smart," Vetter said. "Devoted to her fans, she attended Star Trek Conventions all over the world."

Bel-Air neighbor Pat Radenbaugh said the Roddenberrys threw "fabulous parties. She was an elegant lady. We enjoyed her so much. She had a vibrant personality."

One of those parties reportedly caused an electrical brownout in the Bel-Air area.

Shortly before her death, she completed voiceover work as the voice of the Enterprise's main computer for J.J. Abrams' upcoming Star Trek film.

Barrett-Roddenberry was born Majel Hudec in Columbus, Ohio, on Feb. 23, 1932, she attended the University of Miami and acted in regional theater before heading to Hollywood in the late '50s.

Gene Roddenberry died in 1991.

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