Gene Roddenberry Biography & Net Worth
|Popular Name:||Gene Roddenberry|
Eugene Wesley Roddenberry
|Birth Date:||August 19, 1921|
El Paso, Texas,United States
|Age:||Died October 24, 1991 (aged 70)|
Eileen-Anita Rexroat (m. 1942; div. 1969)
Majel Barrett (m. 1969)
|Profession:||Television Writer, Producer|
|Net Worth:||$500 Million|
|Last Updated:||December, 2020|
Gene Roddenberry was an American producer and screenwriter, who is universally famous for creating and conceptualizing the science-fiction show ‘Star Trek’. Throughout his career, whatever he pursued was driven by his passion, whether it was joining Pan Am as a pilot, volunteering for the ‘United States Army Air Corps’, or moving to Los Angeles to achieve his writing ambitions. Initially, he earned a bit of recognition as a writer by writing for his works on shows like ‘Have Gun – Will Travel’ and ‘Highway Patrol’. But his breakthrough came with the inception of the ‘Star Trek’ series, which became much more than just a television show. He did not let the show’s producers bring in any changes that were contradictory to his vision. Although, it initially got mixed response from viewers, the show’s re-runs and syndication amassed extremely positive responses, and equally earned the show a devout fan-following. The show’s success, followed with his papers and lectures on useful related topics enhanced his reputation as a visionary and a futurist. He worked for many films and TV shows throughout his career, but none could match the recognition he received for ‘Star Trek’. As the ‘Star Trek’ name continues its success story, Gene Roddenberry will forever be remembered as the man who created the concepts and the characters that is universally celebrated. Here’s Gene Roddenberry’s biography, career details, financial status, and everything else leading to the last moments of his life.
Gene Roddenberry’s Early Life
Eugene Wesley Roddenberry was born in El Paso, Texas, United States on August 19, 1921. His mother was Caroline Roddenberry, and his father, Eugene Edward Roddenberry was a police officer.
He was raised in the city of Los Angeles, in California where he attended Berendo Junior High School as well as Franklin High School. In 1939, he joined the Los Angeles City College to studied law enforcement. Two years later, he graduated from college with a degree in police science.
Gene Roddenberry’s Career
In 1941, Eugene volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps and as soon as he completed his training, he served as a Second Lieutenant and flew the B-17 bombers in World War II. It was at this time that he started writing and publishing poetry for various journals and stories for aeronautical magazines. He was part of several missions during the war, and when it ended, he was honorably relieved of his duties from the rank of Captain in the year 1945.
He spent the next four years as a pilot of the Pan American World Airways. He pursued writing interests in this period, and took writing courses from Miami University and also from Columbia University’s School of General Studies.
After he quit his pilot job in 1949, he moved back to Los Angeles to find a career in television writing. He joined the Los Angeles Police department (LAPD) to support his family, and worked with the police as a speechwriter and spokesperson. He was involved in writing for the television series ‘Dragnet’, which showcased the cases of police officers in the Los Angeles Police Department.
During his tenure working with the police, Gene pursued his writing ambitions and wrote for several shows, shows such as ‘Four Star Theater’, ‘Mr. District Attorney’, ‘Naked City’, ‘The Kaiser Aluminium Hour’, ‘Goodyear Theatre’, and others.
After working with the Los Angeles Police Department for seven years, he resigned and began working as a freelance writer full-time. He wrote for a lot of television shows including ‘Whiplash’, ‘Have Gun – Will Travel’, and ‘Highway Patrol’. Along the line, he became discontented and started writing new ideas and concepts for television instead, most of which did not make it to the screen.
In 1964, he developed a futuristic science-fiction series titled ‘Star Trek’. The show chronicles the adventures of a group of humans and aliens combined, also depicting the customary issues of time. ‘Desilu Studios’ agreed to produce his show and two years after, it started airing on TV. The show aired for 3 seasons from 1966-1969, in which Gene Roddenberry worked as a writer for two seasons, after which low ratings got the show cancelled. However, through re-runs and syndication, the series became popular, winning many honors and also acquiring a massive and dedicated fan-following.
After ‘Star Trek’, Gene Roddenberry wrote the screenplay for the mystery film ‘Pretty Maids All in a Row’ in 1971, which he also produced. From 1973 to 1974, he wrote and produced several television films including ‘Planet Earth’, ‘Spectre’, ‘Genesis II’, and ‘The Questor Tapes’, none of which recorded major success. He was also involved as an executive consultant and writer in ‘Star Trek: The Animated Series’. Gene wrote a novel based on the Star Trek film, which was a bestseller, selling almost a million copies.
Awards & Achievements
In the course of his service in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a Second Lieutenant and pilot of the B-17 bombers, he recorded eighty-nine flight missions. He received an Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his achievements.
In 1967, Roddenberry received a ‘Hugo Award for the series ‘Star Trek’. In 1986, he received a star on the well-regarded Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was the first writer to be honored this way.
Personal Life & Family
In 1942, Gene Roddenberry married Eileen Rexroat, and their marriage produced two daughters named dawn and Darleen. After a long period of twenty seven years, their marriage ended in divorce due to his extra-marital affairs.
The producer is known to have had romantic relationships with American actresses Majel Barrett and Nichelle Nichols. He eventually married Majel in 1969, and their wedding ceremony took place in Japan. Their marriage produced one child, named Eugene Wesley Roddenberry, Jr.
Gene Roddenberry passed away on October 24, 1991 due to a massive decline of his health as a result of his longstanding recreational use of llicit drugs, includingcocaine, Dexamyl, and alcohol, all of which affected his health and body system in many different ways.
Gene Roddenberry Net Worth
At the time of his death on October 24 1991, Gene Roddenberry net worth was equal to $500 million, all amassed from his successful career as a television screenwriter and producer. His net worth when he died includes the intellectual property value (merchandise, licensing) and estimated value of the future rights of the Star Trek franchise which would proceed to generate billions of dollars in box office receipts and royalties after Gene’s death. His liquid estate (financial accounts, real estate, short-term assets) at the time of his death was worth about $30 million. That is the same as $60 million after adjusting for inflation today.