After studying law at university, most people end up in law firms and law offices, but this was not the case with Majel Barrett. She swapped suits and ties to become one of Hollywood’s legends. She was probably best known for her role as the voice of the computer in almost all Star Trek television spinoff series from the 1960s until today.
Majel was also the wife of the famous Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and played an extremely important role in the Star Trek series. Even after she became a widow, she never threw in the towel. She works tirelessly for the success of every Star Trek series. Who is Majel Barrett? Is she still alive? Read on to find out.
Majel Barrett – Biography
Majel Barrett was born Majel Leigh Hudec on February 23, 1932, in Cleveland, Ohio. She attended Shaker Heights High School, which she graduated from in 1950, before going to the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, where she studied law. At the age of 10, she began attending acting workshops and continued her interest in Shaker Heights High School. After studying law for one year, she failed in a class for contract law. Then it dawned on her that she was not quite made for the legal profession.
Barrett’s acting career began when she finally moved to New York. She took part in several stage shows and programs and joined the Broadway stage play Solid Gold Cadillac, with which she toured the United States. In the 1950s, she began appearing in films, and she began playing smaller roles. Majel Barrett had a brief appearance in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957) and then she appeared in Love in a Goldfish Bowl (1961) and Sylvia (1965), among others.
In 1961 Majel Barrett came into contact with Gene Roddenberry, an American television series producer. She got a role in The Lieutenant, a television series produced by Gene in 1963. It was not long before their business relationship turned into a romantic one.
Majel was not a big star at the time when she got a lead role to play the number one, the nameless First Officer of the USS Enterprise in the pilot show of the Star Trek series “The Cage”. This favor Majel received from her lover was not well received by the management of NBC, who felt that the role should be given to a man instead. They also felt that Barrett only got the lead role because she was the friend of producer Gene Roddenberry. They unanimously rejected the pilot and asked Roddenberry to come up with another pilot.
The second pilot episode of Star Trek was entitled Where No Man Has Gone Gone Before. In it, the figure “Number One” was dropped to appease the management of NBC. Nevertheless, Majel Barrett changed her last name from Hudec to Barrett and wore a blond wig for the role of Nurse Christine Chapel, a frequently recurring character known for her emotional attachment to the main character Spock. Barrett continued to be a part of every Star Trek release, whether on television or in a feature film.
Star Trek: The feature film was released in 1979. It was based on a television series. Barrett played the role of a doctor in the movie, who saw her character Christine Chapel rise from nurse to doctor.
Other Facts You Need To Know About Majel Barrett
Not much is known about Barrett’s family. No information refers to her mother and her siblings. However, her father, William Hudec, was a Cleveland police officer. He died in the line of duty on August 30, 1955, while Barrett was on tour with an off-Broadway road company.
The commitment to Gene Roddenberry was the turning point in Barrett’s life and career. Their casual friendship developed into a love affair and culminated in marriage. This eventually led to Barrett becoming an integral part of the Star Trek series.
Majel Barrett married Gene Roddenberry after courting him for years. Gene’s first marriage was about to break up when he met Majel. Within a short time, he divorced his first wife and married Majel on August 6, 1969, in Japan. The union resulted in the birth of Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry.
Gene Roddenberry died in 1991 and left his estate to Majel. She went through his ideas that remained in her possession and created two science fiction series, Earth: Final Conflict and Andromeda.
Barrett died of leukemia in her home in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, on the morning of December 18, 2008. Before her death, Majel founded a company, Celestial Inc. to launch the remains of her husband’s body into space. However, the mission has not yet been completed. Now that she is also dead, the company plans to launch the remains of both Gene and Majel into space.
Majel Barrett built a huge financial empire in her lifetime, thanks to her legendary status in Hollywood. Her empire is said to be worth millions of dollars. There is no exact estimate of her net worth, but it is said to be over 60 million dollars.