->''"''Franchise/StarTrek'' speaks to some basic human needs: that there is a tomorrow it's not all going to be over with a big flash and a bomb; that the human race is improving; that we have things to be proud of as humans. No, [[AncientAstronauts ancient astronauts did not build the pyramids]] ''human beings'' built them, [[HumansAreSpecial because they're clever and they work hard]]. And ''Star Trek'' is about ''those'' things."''

'''Eugene Wesley "Gene" Roddenberry''' (August 19, 1921 - October 24, 1991) was a [[YanksWithTanks USAAF bomber pilot]], ex-cop, freelance scriptwriter, and creator of possibly the single most influential franchise in the history of television, ''Franchise/StarTrek''.

Roddenberry had intended to be a commercial pilot after WWII, but upon discovering television correctly intuited that the new medium would be in need of writers. Already a published author of stories and poetry, he decided to change careers and enter into television writing.

At a friend's suggestion he joined the Los Angeles Police Department to gather experience and perspectives of which he could make use. At the same time, ''Franchise/{{Dragnet}}'' creator Jack Webb was instituting a policy of buying stories from LAPD officers to be turned into scripts. Roddenberry began writing his fellow officers' accounts into more polished treatments in exchange for half the money paid to the officer. While his treatments weren't written in screenplay form, Roddenberry learned a lot about the process. By the time he left the LAPD he had successfully sold scripts to many of the dramatic shows of the period, including ''Mr. District Attorney'' (to which he made his first script sale, in 1953), ''Gruen Guild Playhouse'', ''Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre'', ''The Kaiser Aluminum Hour'', ''The Naked City'' and ''Chevron Hall of Stars'' (where he sold his first science fiction script, in 1956).

He later became a regular writer for both ''West Point'' and ''HaveGunWillTravel'', winning a Writers' Guild Award for an episode he penned for the latter show. [[note]] While he regularly claimed he had been the show's head writer, it didn't actually have one - as one of its producers (and a friend of Roddenberry's) Don Ingalls stated, "If anyone was the head writer, it was the story editor."[[/note]] While continuing to write freelance for other shows, Roddenberry moved into production, creating and producing the Marine Corps series ''The Lieutenant''. And after ''The Lieutenant'' came the creation that would carry him for most of the rest of his life: ''Franchise/StarTrek''.

Between the end of the original ''Star Trek'' and the first of the ''Star Trek'' movies, Roddenberry produced a number of films and television pilots, including the 1971 theatrical release ''Film/PrettyMaidsAllInARow'', ''Genesis II'' (1973) and ''The Questor Tapes'' (1974).

After 1979 and ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture'', virtually all of Roddenberry's creative energies were applied to ''Franchise/StarTrek''. Between all the movies, TV series, and video games, he held a wide variety of posts, but until his death in 1991 he was still the final creative authority for the Trek universe, and known to fans as "The Great Bird of the Galaxy". During this time, presumably, he also developed the concepts that would later reach television audiences as ''EarthFinalConflict'' (in 1997) and ''Series/{{Andromeda}}'' (in 2000). These were shepherded into existence by his by-then-widow, Majel Barrett (1932-2008), who was also deeply influential in ''Franchise/StarTrek'' and (unless the recent film reboot manages to create spin-offs of its own) will be the only person to have contributed to all seven incarnations of the franchise.

He was a well-respected man, but not always well-liked. He was stubbornly convinced that he always knew what was best for ''Franchise/StarTrek'' -- which, after all, he had created -- and had a tendency toward the autocratic when it came to dealing with his staff; this attitude led to tremendous flareups between him and his collaborators over CreativeDifferences, which partly explains why he had little official control over the movies after ''The Motion Picture''. There were similar difficulties at the outset of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''; by the end of the first season he had managed to alienate a great many of his long-time creative partners, including famed original series writers D.C. Fontana and David Gerrold (one ex-colleague told Creator/HarlanEllison the reason Roddenberry was cremated was so nobody could piss on his grave). In general, though, outside of his professional issues, many regarded him as a friendly GentleGiant of a man (excluding his skirt chasing of course).

'''Industry Positions:'''\\
Member of the Writers Guild Executive Council\\
Governor of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences\\

Doctor of Humane Letters from Emerson College in Boston, Mass.\\
Doctor of Literature from Union College in Los Angeles\\
Doctor of Science from Clarkson College in Potsdam, New York\\
(All honorary degrees)

First writer/producer to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

!!Related tropes:

* FanNickname: "The Great Bird of the Galaxy"