Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who started out as a medical officer on the starship Enterprise and then married the creator of the whole universe, died Thursday at age 76. Nobody, including William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, appeared in more of the various Star Trek vehicles: Between her three roles as the prim Nurse (later Doctor) Christina Chapel, the sexually predatory Betazoid diplomat Lwaxana Troi, and the emotionless voice of the Enterprise computer, Majel (the name rhymes with Mabel) played in all seven TV series and seven of the 11 movies, including the one scheduled for release next year. When she wasn't shooting one of the shows or movies, she was at a Trekkie convention, sometimes appearing at five a month.
Majel Barrett, a veteran if minor TV actress (she had parts in Whirlybirds, The Untouchables, Bonanza and even Leave It To Beaver), was originally going to be Shatner's second-in-command on the first Star Trek series. But at the last minute, she was recast as Nurse Chapel. But Gene Roddenberry, the creator and executive producer of Star Trek, must have seen something he liked: In 1969, he married Majel. After his death in 1991, she administered the Star Trek franchise. "It's been a hell of a ride," she marveled a few years ago. Live long and prosper, Mr. Spock used to say, and Majel did. So long, Nurse Chapel.