It seems altogether fitting that the man who created Star Trek and opened the eyes of the world to the infinite possibilities of space was part of the generation born in the 1920s. This generation saw humanity take its first fledgling steps in aviation and walk on the moon within the span of a single lifetime. Who better to point our way to a positive, humanistic future in space than someone who had experienced such dramatic technological and social change in his own life?
Gene Roddenberry was born in El Paso, Texas but spent his lifetime in southern California. A voracious reader, he was self-assured, daring, and experimental as a youth. These characteristics would prevail throughout his life.
A prolific screenwriter before creating Star Trek, Mr. Roddenberry's "other" careers included pilot with the Army Air Corps and Pan American Airways and officer with the Los Angeles Police Department.
Of course the world knows Gene Roddenberry as the prime mover behind the Star Trek phenomenon.
He was awarded the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal posthumously on January 30, 1993, by NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin.
"Gene Roddenberry's creative genius opened the imaginations of hundreds of millions to the fact that the remarkable achievements of NASA are only the first step in an advancing technology that will carry humankind away from humanity's birthplace and out to the stars -- perhaps to join the even larger and more diverse community of intelligent life in the Cosmos."
--Hugh Downs and Robert Jastrow letter to NASA Administrator Dan Goldin, September 24, 1992
"In his own view of himself, Gene was a storyteller. He had a story for all occasions, and as self-effacing as he was, it wasn't uncommon for him to create a convenient story to dramatize some aspect of his life or career to divert attention away from his innate shyness. . . Gene was a complex man with a penchant for life, for love, and mostly for humanity, but a man who needed to be loved in return."
--Majel Barrett Roddenberry, March 1994
"Had he lived a thousand years ago, Gene would be as revered by society then as he is today, for his special genius would have been recognized in any culture, in any time. Gene held up a mirror for us to examine ourselves , to see the best and worst, to understand that we could be better than we are."
--David Alexander, Star Trek Creator, 1994
"For me, I guess, Gene Roddenberry is Thoreau. I always wanted to meet a visionary. I didn't realize it until I was on my way over here that that's exactly what he was."
--Whoopi Goldberg, Roddenberry Memorial Tribute, 1994