a moment of silence, please.

Majel Barrett Roddenberry died yesterday. She was a hell of a lady, who loved Star Trek and Star Trek fans like no other.

Some knew her as the original Number One, some knew her as Lwaxana Troi, and everyone knew her as the ship’s computer, but I just knew her as Majel, my friend Rod’s mom, who always treated me like he and I were brothers.

Since we got the news yesterday, a lot of people have asked me if I can tell a story as a way to remember her. I’ve dug around in the attic of my mind for hours, and the best I can do is: We always had fun when we were working on Next Generation, but when Majel was on the set, it was a party.

64 thoughts on “a moment of silence, please.”

  1. The one time I met here was at a con in SW Virginia where I live. She was kind, if quiet outside of what she was there to do which was promote TNG. We saw a brief clip of Ferengi and MB gave a dramatic reading with sound effects. I got to be General Good Guy in the costume competition and won an award – well really the person who made the costume.
    She always seemed underutilized ON the screen but we did all appreciate her off the screen.
    I’m sure she and Mr. Roddenberry are happy together again.

  2. I never had a chance to meet Majel at a con, but one of my favorite Star Trek memories involves her. When Gene passed away, I sent a condolence card to her and Rod, care of Paramount’s Melrose address. I expressed my sympathies and let them know how much Star Trek meant to me when I was a little kid, and how TNG encouraged me when I was depressed in grad school.
    A few months later, out of the blue, I was surprised to receive a thank you card in the mail. I hadn’t asked for anything when I wrote, but she picked up my address from the return address of the card I sent and replied. Her thank you really touched me.
    While I’ve occasionally gotten Star Trek star autographs at cons, that card from her is the autograph I treasure the most, because it was unsolicited and it came from the heart in a moment of shared grief. She certainly didn’t have to send thank you cards to the probably thousands of us who wrote to express our sympathies, but it’s a mark of her classiness that she did.
    I mourn with thee.

  3. I remember meeting Majel several times while working as a “gopher” at several sci-fi cons. She was always the sweetest woman, and was a joy to talk with. She always made us feel appreciated. That’s how I’ll always remember her.

  4. She will be greatly missed. I will remember her most as Lwaxana Troi. Her character was a great addition to TNG. She will of course be missed as the ships computer. My condolences to her family an those, like yourself, who knew her.
    ~~TARA~~

  5. I never knew or met Ms Barrett but a couple of things strike me about her life. Given her history and position to the ST franchise she probably could have demanded to play an admiral on a regular basis but instead we got this incredibly strong, outlandish and completely irreverant character who instantly brought a smile by her presence on screen.
    The other is that the sci-fi and wider universe has lost one of the really great women. There arent enough of them.
    Many condolences and best wishes to all who knew her.

  6. Too soon, too soon.
    The linked story indicates she did manage a final performance as the ships’ computer voice in the new movie.
    An era is ending, folks. Let us celebrate and cherish the surviving originals, (yes, him too) while they’re still around to appreciate it.

  7. I keep checking Google’s Entertainment News for the announcement, and it’s just not there, which makes me sad. She was such an icon; I’ll miss her.

  8. I always enjoyed her performances in Star Trek, and her voice as the computer made her a unique part of the franchise. I regret never getting to see her at a convention. But at least Gene has been reunited with his Number 1.

  9. I met majel in August at the Las Vegas Convention. Although in bad health, she was very kind and so friendly for the all too brief moments I spent talking to her. It was an unexpected treat.
    I was so sad to hear this news.

  10. What I’ll always remember about her is meeting her a t a convention in LA many years ago. I was wandering around the dealer room while most everyone else was in listening to someone. I stopped at a booth and was looking at what they had when the lady behind the table asked if I had any questions I said no and then looked up and I think the look on my face gave it away that I was really shocked to see it was Majel. She laughed at my expression and when I asked what was going on she told me she was running the booth while the person who was supposed to be was in listening to the current speaker. We talked for a while about various things and she interested in where I was from and how I liked the area. She was a fantastic lady and will be missed.

  11. I just heard and immediately came here, because I knew you’d have something lovely to say. I enjoyed reading all the comments. I love her voice, and Lwaxana was always good for a belly laugh. :)

  12. I stumbled into Wishcon II back in ’92 while I was living outside of Springfield, MA for a few months. I didn’t even know a con was going on until I picked up a flyer on Friday night. Since I was off the next 3 days, I headed over to the con.
    My main impetus for going was that you were the headliner – I didn’t even notice Majel was attending until I looked at the program book after registering.
    Meeting Majel was absolutely the highlight of that con for me (going to your Q&A panel and seeing the first public performance of a little project some guy named J. Michael Straczynski was working on were pretty stellar as well – but Majel was a force unto herself, as you well know). Just a hair more than a year after Gene had passed away (don’t know if you’d remember offhand, Wil, but ISTR someone told me that that was her first con appearance after his death), she was still bright, energetic and very warm, even after having dealt with the expected crush of fans all day. I still have a copy of the TNG writer’s book that she autographed and it remains one of my prized pieces of Treknobilia. I miss her, and my thoughts are with Rod right now

  13. It’s been years since I’ve seen her in person, but Majel always impressed me at cons by spending HOURS walking around and chatting with fans, or sitting at her table chatting with whoever came by. After the first couple of times she saw me, even though she would have no reason to know who I was, she always seemed delighted to see me again and treated me like an old buddy.
    Majel was a real gem and a class act. I’ve already sent Rod a note, but I want you to know I’m thinking about you and the rest of Majel’s extended family today. My family’s lucky; my mom has survived her leukemia, so far. My next donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society will be in Majel’s memory.

  14. When I first wathced ST: TOS I never knew the she was Nurse Chapel.. but I was young. Didnt get to appreciate it until much later….
    However, Lwaxana Troi was easily her best. She pulled off the overbearing mom that we all dreamed about.. and dreaded at the same time.. just perfect. It was so believable that she WAS that character. That is the best compliment I can think to give to someone acting a part. She will be missed… even if for some reason mainstream media hasn’t picked it up.

  15. Very sad news indeed. I didn’t know her at all, except through the shows and what I read, but she seemed like a classy woman and a lot of fun. My deepest condolences to her friends and family.

  16. I was deeply saddened to hear of Mrs. Roddenberry’s death. The fact that she died from leukemia struck an especially responsive chord with me, as I lost a nephew to this disease 5 years ago, when he was only 24 years old. I sincerely hope that Patrick Stewart, and the other members of the various Star Trek casts who worked with her, have been notified. I personally sent an email to Mr. Stewart’s fan club website to inform them of this sad event. My heartfelt condolences to you and to all the other Star Trek cast members who had the opportunity to know and work with this remarkable and intelligent lady. Take care, Wil!

  17. I met Mrs. Roddenberry back in 1991 on Cruise Trek’s Mexican Riviera cruise. This was the cruise that Gene was supposed to attend before he unfortunately passed away. She was gracious enough to attend along with her son.
    Out of all the Trek celebrities in attendance (James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Robin Curtis, John De Lancie, Richard Arnold, Bob Justman, Eric Menyuk, and Wil Wheaton), she was the warmest and most affable.
    She will be missed…

  18. Thanks for trying wil, I’ve been watching DS9 for teh first time and seeing her show up from time to time was always a big geek out moment. Also as I watch DS9 it makes me wish Wesley would’ve gotten a episode to come in like the pale rider. You know quiet and discorded but a guy who’s been around the galaxy a few hundred times(drop some science on Dax and Bashir then show ODO a few warp bubble tricks). RIP Majel.

  19. I got to meet Majel at a convention in San Jose sometime after Gene’s death. She was such a gracious lady. I had to tell her how much I enjoyed her performance in the Next Gen episode where she was supposed to get married, where we got to see her character’s other side. She was just so charming and took the time to chat with me about the storyline. I will surely miss her!

  20. Will —
    As I said before – My condolences as I know you are very close to the family. Several of our other friends (and great legends) have recently passed. I have lost 3 friends recently, including Forrey, John Phillip Law, and my mentor Robert Aspirin. So realizing this I am sure you are not doing too well at this time.
    Remember though that one of the reasons we live on, is to keep their memories alive and tell the wonderful stories about the real person they were. In this way we keep their spirit and their visions alive for all to know.
    I never had the honor of meeting Majel. So I am adding these messages that were e-mailed to me for your sake. this will show you the way other people felt about her. Hopefully this will cheer you up a bit too.
    From Louise at NASA:
    {I read this earlier, and my heart is very sad. This has been a week for losses… more sympathy cards than Christmas cards, if you see what I mean…
    She and I were in contact much more frequently when Gene was still with us. There were so many things we all talked about. And ideas we expounded on when The Great Bird left us. But then I am sad to admit that like with many old friends, I let life get in the way and lost contact.
    Now she’s back amongst the starstuff. Peace and long life… }
    [From Rolaine of NeronomiCon:]
    {Hi Thomas!
    I was very lucky sometime ago Gene and Majel came to St. Pete and show “The Cage, which up to the point had never been shown. A group of us waited outside until they came out. We didn’t ask for autographs. We just thanked them for bringing Star Trek into our lifes. We talked for while, then they invited us up back to their hotel room. We ordered in pizza and just talked and laughed for hours. It’s one of those memories that will be with me for always.
    Sad Smile,
    Rolaine}
    There are other celebrity comments saying good things about Majel as well but I must respect their privacy and not post it publicly.
    But Will — Always know that she was loved by many…
    Cheers’ and best wishes…
    Tom….

  21. I’ve known Rod for a while before I knew his last name. He was always at Marcon having a blast and being this awesome guy in all the parties. He is the life to any party. Then finally at a Barfleet function he was introduced as Admiral Roddenberry.
    I’m sure the look on my face was priceless but there is no man better suited to the job.
    Three years ago Rod called Majel right before we went to dinner. She sounded just like my Mom- Worried about him and nagging just like Moms do- and she said hello to all of us crazy con kids. One of the best nights of my life.
    The world is dimmer and there is less in it without her.

  22. Thank you for sharing this with us. It was a short story but it captured so much about her. Let’s hope we can all walk into each others lives as she did, and turn a good time into a real party!

  23. I don’t think you really need to worry about sharing your stories about her. It seems that everyone who met her has a wonderful story to tell, and a few have decided to share it with you.

  24. Just wanted to thank you for breaking the news to me about Majel’s death. Haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere else in my usual news sources, not even a full day after I heard about it from you.

  25. There are three on family friends-people who have passed, that I have wept for the loss of their presence. Walt Disney, Robert Heinlein and Majel.
    I was sad to learn of her battles with lukemia, I volunteer with hospice and know first had what a difference having family close during those last transition moments can make to all.
    She was (and will always be) my hero. Loved every role she was in, admired her professional achievement in an industry and genre made of men.
    Her love of helping the animals also has become my passion. Her inspiration helped me to go beyond my wildest imaginings as I have help to directly save and rehome laover 30 last chance problem dogs, and indriectly through my 2800 member problem dog, yahoo email list now with over 50 international volunteers, and now help support the live saving efforts of Cesar Millan.
    I only say these achievements because SHE, the inspiration of the Hero’s Journey I wanted to emulate, allowing me to see my potential as an old woman.
    Her Character Luxanna Troi, lives in my heart as the role model I most want to be like. Her unbending examples have given me courage to grow old.
    How fitting that her last role closes the circle where she began, based on the first show, in this new movie. Roddenberry.com is also taking condolences as well as request for where to send donation to her pet charities for any who benefited from her participation in life who wanted to show it in a way meaningful to her and her family.

  26. My favorite episode of TNG with Majel Barrett was episode #120–“Cost of Living” (4/18/92) where Mrs. Troi takes Alexander under her wing, joins him in a mud bath and prepares for her nude wedding. May she rest in peace.
    Freeman :(

  27. Sad news indeed. I saw this . . .
    http://trekmovie.com/2008/12/19/star-trek-luminaries-remember-barrett-rodenberry/
    …but I guess you don’t count as a Star Trek luminary… :\
    I got a real kick out of Lwaxana – the moreso after meeting my mother-in-law, who is uncannily Lwaxanalike.
    And I’m glad she got to lend her voice to the computer one more time.
    But mostly I’m glad we had her for as long as we did. She really did seem to Get the whole Fandom thing, maybe more than anyone else in the Trek pantheon, even her husband. I think she was a powerful force for the good of Trek, and her passing is a loss for us all.

  28. An LJ post of mine from late yesterday (the New England Browncoats sent word my way):
    “The Enterprise Is Silent”
    As is Nurse Chapel, Dr. Chapel, Lt. M’Ress, and the one and only Lwaxana Troi, Daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed.
    Join me in raising a glass of Saurian brandy to the one and only Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who left this world early this morning. Boldly go, Majel, boldy go.

    Anyone up for another glass?
    Wil-my most sincere condolences.

  29. I remember Majel selling and signing copies of the Next Gen Bible. “Star Trek is Back!” She enthusiastic told us.
    And she was right!
    Her enthusiasm for anything by Gene was fantastic. And her enthusiasm for life was even More Fantastic!
    And she was a good friend to fandom. Some how always remembering us with a smile and a hug.
    She will be missed.

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