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Gene Roddenberry (August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991) was an American screenwriter and producer of several television series, best known for his work in creating the Star Trek franchise. Before his television writing career, he was a pilot in the 394th Bomb Squadron, 5th Bombardment Group, of the Thirteenth Air Force, during World War II. During his time in the military, he flew the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress,[1] and was awarded both the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross.[2] While working in the Los Angeles Police Department, he began his television writing career,[3] but resigned to concentrate on screenwriting.[4] His first writing award was for an episode of Have Gun – Will Travel entitled "Helen of Abajinan" which won the Writer's Guild of America award for Best Teleplay in 1958.[5] In 1964, he registered the idea with the Writer's Guild which would define the rest of his career – Star Trek.[6][7]

The majority of the awards and nominations received by Roddenberry throughout his career were related to Star Trek. He was credited for Star Trek: The Original Series (known at the time simply as Star Trek) during the nominations for two Emmy Awards,[8][9] and won two Hugo Awards.[10][11] One Hugo was a special award for the series, while another was for "The Menagerie", the episode which used footage from the original unaired pilot for Star Trek, "The Cage".[12] In addition, he was awarded the Brotherhood Award by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for his work in the advancement of African American characters on television.[5] At the 1967 Writer's Guild of America Awards, a private feud between Roddenberry and writer Harlan Ellison entered the public eye, as Ellison had produced the original script for the episode "The City on the Edge of Forever". He was told to re-write it due to financial restraints, but couldn't bring it within budget. So, instead Roddenberry re-wrote the script for the episode, but Ellison retained the credit and subsequently submitted the original script for consideration by the Writer's Guild.[13]

This was an unusual step as normally the filmed version of the script is the one that was submitted. Both "The City on the Edge of Forever" and "The Return of the Archons" were nominated for the Best Episodic Drama Award, with the latter written and credited to Roddenberry. Ellison won the award for his script, and Star Trek producer Robert H. Justman later recalled Ellison taunting them with the award as he left the stage.[13][14] Roddenberry submitted the filmed version of "The City on the Edge of Forever" script for the Hugo Awards, winning in 1968,[15] but the writing remained credited to Ellison.[16] Roddenberry later claimed to have won a Nebula Award for the filmed version despite the Dramatic Presentation category not being created until 1974.[17][18][Note 1] Following the end of Star Trek, he was nominated for Hugo Awards for two television movies, Genesis II and The Questor Tapes.[20][21][Note 2]

In addition to various rewards, Roddenberry also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame following a campaign by the fan clubs of Star Trek, which sought to have each fan donate a dollar towards the overall $3500 cost of upkeep.[24] Following these donations, the Committee in charge of the Walk of Fame voted Roddenberry in. The star was unveiled on September 4, 1985, at the 6600 block, near to the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Las Palmas. The induction ceremony was attended by all of the main cast of Star Trek, as well as Roger C. Carmel, who portrayed Harry Mudd in The Original Series.[24] Following Roddenberry's death in 1991,[25] he was posthumously awarded the Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award by the National Space Society and the The George Pal Memorial Award at the Saturn Awards as well as the Exceptional Public Service Medal by NASA.[26][27]

Gene's star

Roddenberry in 1976

Millatary awards[]

Year Award Category

1945 United States Air forces Air medal

1945 United States Air forces Distinguished Flying Cross

Civilian awards[]

Category Series/Film Episode Result Ref
1958 Writers Guild of America Award Best Original Screenplay Have Gun - Will Travel "Helen of Abajinan" Won [5]
1967 Emmy Award Outstanding Dramatic Series Star Trek Nominated [8]
1967 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Brotherhood Award Awarded [5]
1967 Writers Guild of America Award Best Episodic Drama Star Trek "The Return of the Archons" Nominated [14]
1968 Emmy Award Outstanding Dramatic Series Star Trek Nominated [9]
1968 Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation Star Trek "The Menagerie" Won [10]
1968 Hugo Award Special Award Star Trek Won [11]
1974 Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation Genesis II Nominated [20]
1975 Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation The Questor Tapes Nominated [21]
1980 Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation Star Trek: The Motion Picture Nominated [28]
1980 Saturn Award The Life Career Award[Note 3] Awarded [29]
1988 Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation Star Trek: The Next Generation "Encounter at Farpoint" Nominated [30]
1990 March of Dimes Jack Benny Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award Awarded [31]
1991 American Humanist Association Humanist Arts Award Awarded [32]
1992 National Space Society Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award Awarded [26]
1992 Saturn Award The George Pal Memorial Award Awarded [33]
1993 NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal


  1. ^ Roddenberry and Gene Coon were recommended for the 1974 Nebula Awards for The Questor Tapes, but did not make the final ballot.[19]
  2. ^ Both of these movies had originally been created as pilots for new series, but Genesis IIwas dropped by CBS in favor of the Planet of the Apes (TV series) series and Roddenberry backed out of The Questor Tapes following NBC's request for substantial changes.[22][23]
  3. ^ Jointly awarded alongside William Shatner.[29]

See also[]