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Happy Birthday, Leonard Nimoy!

Happy Birthday, Leonard Nimoy!

Leonard Nimoy, one of Star Trek’s most memorable actors, turns 83 years old today. Nimoy is best known for his role as Spock, the half-human, half-Vulcan science officer on Star Trek: The Original Series.

Aside from his well-known portrayal of Captain Kirk’s Number One, he has been involved in many projects of his own creation, some of which, to this day, remain underrated and under-celebrated. Throughout his life, for example, Nimoy immersed himself in a diverse array of acting roles on stage and screen; recorded and performed several musical albums, and produced photographic works of art showcased in exhibits throughout Massachusetts. He was also the director of successful motion pictures and authored two autobiographies and even penned a collection of poetry; such creative resourcefulness is the trademark of an exceptionally talented and brilliant artist.

Nimoy on Mission: Impossible

Nimoy on Mission: Impossible

His acting career in science fiction started with his role as Narab, a Martian invader in the 1952 sci-fi classic Zombies of the Stratosphere. He has since played minor roles in various TV series, such as Dragnet, The Outer Limits, and The Twilight Zone, but it was not until the year 1966 that Leonard Nimoy would star as a lead character in Star Trek, one that created a new breed of scientific personalities in popular science fiction and completely reshaped the genre. He is also known for his screen depiction of the ex-magician, Paris, in the spy drama television series Mission: Impossible and for his minor role as Dr. Kibner in the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Nimoy as Spock from "The Wrath of Khan"

Nimoy as Spock from “The Wrath of Khan”

In appreciation of fantasy and science fiction genres, Mr. Nimoy wrote and recorded musical albums under a contract with Dot Records in the late 1960’s while simultaneously fulfilling acting roles in Star Trek and Mission: Impossible. His musical career, though short lived in comparison to his dedication to acting, included songs like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Earth and Spock Thoughts. Nimoy even sang the popular The Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins, in dedication of J.R.R. Tolkein’s adventure novel The Hobbit; a music video of Leonard Nimoy’s The Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins was produced and can be found on YouTube with viewer counts as high as 1.6 million.

In 1999, Mr. Nimoy participated with John de Lancie, the actor who played the all-powerful Q in three Star Trek television series, to record their stage performance Spock vs. Q, a comedic dramatization of a philosophical and a hilariously frustrating conversation between the characters Spock and Q. It was followed with a sequel in 2000 in which Spock and Q would once again battle each other with wit, logic, and sheer godhood (on account of Q’s omnipotence). In addition to his on-stage performances, Mr. Nimoy also lent his voice for a role as King Nedakh in Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire and for narrations in computer games like the turn-based strategy Civilization IV and the epic MMORPG Star Trek Online.

In 2011, Nimoy appeared at what he has said were his final convention appearances. He gave a heartfelt account of his life and career at Creation’s Las Vegas Star Trek Convention in August and Chicago in October. He also starred in the Bruno Mars music video, “The Lazy Song.”

In 2012, Nimoy gave an emotional convocation speech at Boston University and welcomed the Space Shuttle Enterprise to New York City.

Earlier this year, Nimoy addressed concerns regarding his health, after being seen in a wheelchair at a New York airport — saying that he had been diagnosed with COPD.

In May, he will host two special space-themed performances with the Boston Pops.

Leonard Nimoy, actor, director, poet, musician and narrator, is a wonderfully talented individual whose many accomplishments are our treasures. He continues to pursue his love of photography.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Nimoy. And as always: live long and prosper.

Photo: Brian Wilkins

Happy Birthday, William Shatner!

Happy Birthday, William Shatner!

Today, William Shatner, the actor who played the legendary Captain James Tiberius Kirk in Star Trek: The Original Series and seven Star Trek motion pictures, turned 83 years old.

The Montreal-born actor started his career as a Shakespearean stage performer in Stratford, Canada and on Broadway in New York City in the early 1950’s. Though his first appearance in cinema was that of a minor role in the 1951 Canadian film The Butler’s Night Off, Shatner’s prominence in film did not arrive until his second debut in 1958 as Alexey Karamazov in The Brothers Karamazov, a film adaptation of one of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s literary works. During that time, he played a major role as Jim Whitely in The Glass Eye, an episode form the third season of the television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In 1959, William Shatner performed on stage in Broadway once again as Lomax in The World of Suzie Wong; his outstanding performance was received very well by critics, which earned him greater repute in the theatrical and film community. In fact, his initial stardom was a precursor to greater achievements in film and television for the next several years before he took on more exploratory, original roles: where no man has gone before.

Shatner in The Twilight Zone

Shatner in The Twilight Zone

His more prominent contributions on-screen during the early 1960’s, though not highly recognized by today’s standards, included an episode of The Twilight Zone entitled “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”, in which Shatner played a paranoid airline passenger who is seemingly the only person aboard aware of a gremlin sabotaging the propeller engines on the wing of the plane (and yes, this WAS the original screenplay that was remade in the fourth segment of the 1983 film Twilight Zone: The Movie, starring 3rd Rock from the Sun’s John Lithgow sitting in Shatner’s seat on the plane (and quite possibly terrified by the same gremlin). In 1964, Shatner guest-starred in The Man from U.N.C.L.E, in which he played as Michael Donfield, an ex-businessman employed by the main character, Napoleon Solo, to expose a plot that would bring the United States and the Soviet Union on the brink of war. In the episode, Solo and Donfield discover co-conspirators Madame Kurasov and her assistant, Vladeck. Interestingly, Vladeck was played by Leonard Nimoy, who would later fill the shoes of Spock from the classic Star Trek: The Original Series. Though these two actors played the roles of enemies in a single episode, fate would unite them in the roles of close friends for an entire series, both on- and off-screen.

Shatner as Kirk in “Where No Man Has Gone Before”

Shatner as Kirk in “Where No Man Has Gone Before”

In 1966, William Shatner was cast as Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek’s second pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” a role in a series that lasted until its abrupt cancellation in 1969. His exceptional performance impacted science fiction for years to come. Despite the low financial status of the show’s budget and its poor reception of the audience at the time, Shatner’s portrayal of Kirk set the standard for many leadership roles in films and shows, from Battlestar Galactica to Star Wars.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

By 1979, Gene Roddenberry and Paramount Pictures resurrected Star Trek and brought Shatner and his old crew back to work in another round of space-faring adventures; this time, William Shatner would not star in a TV series, but in a full-fledged film saga, beginning with Star Trek: The Motion Picture and ending with the sad, though heroic death of James T. Kirk in Star Trek: Generations.

After his film career as Captain Kirk ended (though his acting career was no where near finished), William Shatner refused to let the spirit of Kirk end at just one movie. He continued the Kirk legacy in a series of Star Trek novels wherein Captain Kirk was resurrected to continue his adventures to explore and save the galaxy once again, this time in the 24th century. He also authored the science fiction series TekWar, which was adapted into a video game, a made-for-TV movie, and a comic book series.

He is scheduled to appear at multiple conventions this year, including Creation Entertainment’s Official Star Trek Convention in Chicago (June 6-8) and Las Vegas (July 31-August 3).

Ever-busy, he is also scheduled to star in a new home-improvement show The Shatner Project, which is set to premiere on the DIY Network in October.

William Shatner, writer, actor, stage performer, and science fiction enthusiast, is a man of many talents. His popularity as the legendary Captain Kirk earned him a reputation that not only lasted for half a century, but will endure for centuries to come. Look anywhere, Star Trek or not, one can still see the mark of Captain Kirk in everything, from television series and movies to music and art. Today, we shall celebrate Mr. Shatner’s turning of age as well as the great fortunes he has laid out for us.

Captain, today we at TrekNews.net wish you a very happy and healthy 83rd birthday.

You can follow William Shatner on Twitter at @WilliamShatner.

Happy Birthday, Patrick Stewart

Happy Birthday, Patrick Stewart

Happy 73rd birthday to Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Patrick Stewart, who was born on July 13th 1940 in West Riding of Yorkshire, England and has become a favorite of all Trekkie generations.

His theater, television and film work, as well as his dedication to charity make him an example of talent, hard work and good will for all to admire. Stewart group up in a poor household where he faced domestic violence problems. He became interested in drama back in 1951, when, aged 11, he entered Mirfield Secondary Modern School. At 15, he left school to increase his participation n the local theater. He also found a job as a newspaper reporter but he would attend rehearsals during his work hours and then invent the stories to report for the newspaper.

Stewart became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966 where he appeared next to actors such as Ben Kingsley and Ian Richardson. In January 1967, he made his first TV appearance on Coronation Street as a Fire Officer. For his 1970 Broadway debut, he participated in Peter Brook’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a critically acclaimed production. In 1980, Stewart joined the Royal National Theater in the early 1980s.

Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard in TNG's pilot episode, "Encounter at Farpoint"

Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard in TNG’s pilot episode, “Encounter at Farpoint”

His Star Trek TNG work began in 1987 and continued, to the delight of millions of Trekkies, until 1994. In a 1997 interview, Sir Patrick shared his pride of the social and educational message TNG offered to young viewers, “The fact is all of those years in Royal Shakespeare Company – playing all those kings, emperors, princes and tragic heroes – were nothing but preparation for sitting in the captain’s chair of the Enterprise.” He truly made it so exciting, as he engaged the audience at the controls of the legendary starship:

In 2006, Stewart made a video against domestic violence for Amnesty International. He has also established a scholarship at the University of Huddersfield, where he is Chancellor, to fund post-graduate study into domestic violence and has become a patron of Refuge, a UK charity for abused women.

He has also boldly entertained his fans with his humorous view on less serious subjects, such as baldness:

So happy birthday, sir! A cup of earl gray may be the captain’s favorite but perhaps champagne is in order.

Oh My! Happy Birthday, George Takei

WATCH: George Takei Talks "To Be Takei"

Happy 76th birthday to Star Trek‘s original Hikaru Sulu, George Hosato Takei, who was born on April 20th in 1937 in Los Angeles.

As an actor, politician, activist, and writer, Takei has had a career many would hope for but few achieve. He and his family were sent to relocation centers during World War II when he was only 5-years old. Certainly an austere beginning but one that led him to study architecture at UC Berkeley, to be followed by a B.A. in theater at UCLA and and then a Masters Degree in theater by 1964.

One of the few Asian-American faces to grace television in the 1950′s and 1960′s, George was fortunate to be a part of “the Golden Age” of television. On the big screen he was seen alongside Cary Grant, Alec Guinness, Star Trek‘s first captain, Jeffrey Hunter, James Caan and John Wayne in the 1968 classic, The Green Berets.

Of course, we all know of his casting in Star Trek giving Mr. Sulu performances of depth and imbibing a likability into the role. We also know even though we saw the helmsmen and future captain return throughout the decades, that would hardly be enough to sustain a career.

Takei as Sulu in the Original Series episode "The Naked Time"

Takei as Sulu in the Original Series episode "The Naked Time"

The tri-lingual Takei, (English, Japanese and Spanish,) almost became a Los Angeles City Councilman in 1972 and was appointed by L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley to sit on the board of directors of the Southern California Rapid Transit district.

Voice over work and TV guest appearances has kept him in the public spotlight as well as his relationship with The Howard Stern Show and his now famous “Oh my” catch phrase.

Takei on stage with John Cho and Garrett Wang at the 2011 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention

Takei on stage with John Cho and Garrett Wang at the 2011 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention

His work for gay rights has been going on for decades as his public fame allows him to be heard, seen and quoted by international media. In 2008, Takei and long time partner Brad Altman, married at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles – Takei is one of its founders.

Arsenio Hall, Lou Ferigno and Takei on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice"

Arsenio Hall, Lou Ferigno and Takei on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice"

Last year, we saw George get “fired” on The Celebrity Apprentice. Quite frankly, he has created a legacy far superior to “The Donald.”

In 2012, Takei starred in Allegiance, a musical based on Takei’s experience and research into the Japanese American internment during World War II.

So happy birthday, George! Something tells me you’ll make it a good one.

Takei brokers for Star Peace between William Shatner and Star Wars’ Carrie Fisher

Takei shows off his happy dance

To keep up with George, you can follow him on Twitter at @GeorgeTakei.

Photo: Brian Wilkins

Happy Birthday, Leonard Nimoy!

Nimoy To Receive Governors' Award

Leonard Nimoy, one of Star Trek’s most memorable actors, turns 82 years old today. Nimoy is best known for his role as Spock, the half-human, half-Vulcan science officer on Star Trek: The Original Series.

Aside from his well-known portrayal of Captain Kirk’s Number One, he has been involved in many projects of his own creation, some of which, to this day, remain underrated and under-celebrated. Throughout his life, for example, Nimoy immersed himself in a diverse array of acting roles on stage and screen; recorded and performed several musical albums, and produced photographic works of art showcased in exhibits throughout Massachusetts. He was also the director of successful motion pictures and authored two autobiographies and even penned a collection of poetry; such creative resourcefulness is the trademark of an exceptionally talented and brilliant artist.

Nimoy on Mission: Impossible

Nimoy on Mission: Impossible

His acting career in science fiction started with his role as Narab, a Martian invader in the 1952 sci-fi classic Zombies of the Stratosphere. He has since played minor roles in various TV series, such as Dragnet, The Outer Limits, and The Twilight Zone, but it was not until the year 1966 that Leonard Nimoy would star as a lead character in Star Trek, one that created a new breed of scientific personalities in popular science fiction and completely reshaped the genre. He is also known for his screen depiction of the ex-magician, Paris, in the spy drama television series Mission: Impossible and for his minor role as Dr. Kibner in the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Nimoy as Spock from "The Wrath of Khan"

Nimoy as Spock from “The Wrath of Khan”

In appreciation of fantasy and science fiction genres, Mr. Nimoy wrote and recorded musical albums under a contract with Dot Records in the late 1960’s while simultaneously fulfilling acting roles in Star Trek and Mission: Impossible. His musical career, though short lived in comparison to his dedication to acting, included songs like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Earth and Spock Thoughts. Nimoy even sang the popular The Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins, in dedication of J.R.R. Tolkein’s adventure novel The Hobbit; a music video of Leonard Nimoy’s The Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins was produced and can be found on YouTube with viewer counts as high as 1.6 million.

In 1999, Mr. Nimoy participated with John de Lancie, the actor who played the all-powerful Q in three Star Trek television series, to record their stage performance Spock vs. Q, a comedic dramatization of a philosophical and a hilariously frustrating conversation between the characters Spock and Q. It was followed with a sequel in 2000 in which Spock and Q would once again battle each other with wit, logic, and sheer godhood (on account of Q’s omnipotence). In addition to his on-stage performances, Mr. Nimoy also lent his voice for a role as King Nedakh in Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire and for narrations in computer games like the turn-based strategy Civilization IV and the epic MMORPG Star Trek Online.

In 2011, Nimoy appeared at what he has said were his final convention appearances. He gave a heartfelt account of his life and career at Creation’s Las Vegas Star Trek Convention in August and Chicago in October. He also starred in the Bruno Mars music video, “The Lazy Song.”

Last year, Nimoy gave an emotional convocation speech at Boston University and welcomed the Space Shuttle Enterprise to New York City.

Leonard Nimoy, actor, director, poet, musician and narrator, is a wonderfully talented individual whose many accomplishments are our treasures. He continues to pursue his love of photography.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Nimoy. And as always: live long and prosper.

Photo: Brian Wilkins

Happy Birthday, William Shatner!

William Shatner To Star In New DIY Network Home-Renovation Show

Today, William Shatner, the actor who played the legendary Captain James Tiberius Kirk in Star Trek: The Original Series and seven Star Trek motion pictures, turned 82 years old.

This Montreal-born actor started his career as a Shakespearean stage performer in Stratford, Canada and on Broadway in New York City in the early 1950’s. Though his first appearance in cinema was that of a minor role in the 1951 Canadian film The Butler’s Night Off, Shatner’s prominence in film did not arrive until his second debut in 1958 as Alexey Karamazov in The Brothers Karamazov, a film adaptation of one of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s literary works. During that time, he played a major role as Jim Whitely in The Glass Eye, an episode form the third season of the television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In 1959, William Shatner performed on stage in Broadway once again as Lomax in The World of Suzie Wong; his outstanding performance was received very well by critics, which earned him greater repute in the theatrical and film community. In fact, his initial stardom was a precursor to greater achievements in film and television for the next several years before he took on more exploratory, original roles: where no man has gone before.

Shatner in The Twilight Zone

Shatner in The Twilight Zone

His more prominent contributions on-screen during the early 1960’s, though not highly recognized by today’s standards, included an episode of The Twilight Zone entitled “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”, in which Shatner played a paranoid airline passenger who is seemingly the only person aboard aware of a gremlin sabotaging the propeller engines on the wing of the plane (and yes, this WAS the original screenplay that was remade in the fourth segment of the 1983 film Twilight Zone: The Movie, starring 3rd Rock from the Sun’s John Lithgow sitting in Shatner’s seat on the plane (and quite possibly terrified by the same gremlin). In 1964, Shatner guest-starred in The Man from U.N.C.L.E, in which he played as Michael Donfield, an ex-businessman employed by the main character, Napoleon Solo, to expose a plot that would bring the United States and the Soviet Union on the brink of war. In the episode, Solo and Donfield discover co-conspirators Madame Kurasov and her assistant, Vladeck. Interestingly, Vladeck was played by Leonard Nimoy, who would later fill the shoes of Spock from the classic Star Trek: The Original Series. Though these two actors played the roles of enemies in a single episode, fate would unite them in the roles of close friends for an entire series, both on- and off-screen.

Shatner as Kirk in “Where No Man Has Gone Before”

Shatner as Kirk in “Where No Man Has Gone Before”

In 1966, William Shatner was cast as Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek’s second pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” a role in a series that lasted until its abrupt cancellation in 1969. His exceptional performance impacted science fiction for years to come. Despite the low financial status of the show’s budget and its poor reception of the audience at the time, Shatner’s portrayal of Kirk set the standard for many leadership roles in films and shows, from Battlestar Galactica to Star Wars.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

By 1979, Gene Roddenberry and Paramount Pictures resurrected Star Trek and brought Shatner and his old crew back to work in another round of space-faring adventures; this time, William Shatner would not star in a TV series, but in a full-fledged film saga, beginning with Star Trek: The Motion Picture and ending with the sad, though heroic death of James T. Kirk in Star Trek: Generations.

After his film career as Captain Kirk ended (though his acting career was no where near finished), William Shatner refused to let the spirit of Kirk end at just one movie. He continued the Kirk legacy in a series of Star Trek novels wherein Captain Kirk was resurrected to continue his adventures to explore and save the galaxy once again, this time in the 24th century. He also authored the science fiction series TekWar, which was adapted into a video game, a made-for-TV movie, and a comic book series.

Captain Kirk returns at the 2013 Oscar Awards

Captain Kirk returns at the 2013 Oscar Awards

Earlier this year, Shatner appeared in full Starfleet uniform during the Oscars. He also took part in a Twitter exchange and phone call with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, as he was aboard the International Space Station.

In 2013 Shater appeared in another role he made famous — as the Piceline Negotiator was resurrected alongside his new sidekick Kaley Cuoco.

He is scheduled to appear at several conventions this year, including Creation Entertainment’s Official Star Trek Convention in Boston (June 8-9) and Las Vegas (August 8-11).

2013 also marks the fifth annual “Talk Like William Shatner” day. For more information on that, check out this Facebook Group.

William Shatner, writer, actor, stage performer, and science fiction enthusiast, is a man of many talents. His popularity as the legendary Captain Kirk earned him a reputation that not only lasted for half a century, but will endure for centuries to come. Look anywhere, Star Trek or not, one can still see the mark of Captain Kirk in everything, from television series and movies to music and art. Today, we shall celebrate Mr. Shatner’s turning of age as well as the great fortunes he has laid out for us.

Captain, today we at TrekNews.net wish you a very happy and healthy 82nd birthday.

You can follow William Shatner on Twitter at @WilliamShatner.

Happy 80th Birthday, Nichelle Nichols

Happy 80th Birthday, Nichelle Nichols

On her 80th birthday, we at TrekNews.net would like to wish Star Trek: The Original Series star Nichelle Nichols a very happy birthday.

Born in Robbins, Illinois on December 28, 1932, singer, dancer, actress, and writer, Nichelle Nichols starred in all three seasons of TOS along with six feature films.

Her Star Trek character, Nyota Uhura, broke down many 1960s racial stereotypes and will forever have a special place in television and entertainment history.

Today, Nichelle continues to be an inspiration to generations of fans with her positive outlook on life and hope for a better tomorrow.

Space Shuttle Enterprise

Nichols along with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and her co-stars DeForest Kelley, George Takei, James Doohan, Leonard Nimoy and Walter Koenig with the Space Shuttle Enterprise in 1976.

Earlier this year, while visiting Washington D.C. in celebration of Black History Month, she had the opportunity to meet United States President Barack Obama in the Oval Office. Nichelle later tweeted the photo of them both flashing a Vulcan salute along with the caption “A photo came to me in the mail that I’ve kept for myself for over a week, but now it’s time to share it with Trekkers everywhere.”

Nichols with Obama in February 2012

Nichols with Obama in February 2012

Nichelle continues to attend several Star Trek and pop culture conventions each year. In 2013, she’s scheduled to appear at Creation Entertainment’s Official Star Trek Conventions in Boston and Las Vegas.

Here’s wishing Nichelle a very happy birthday.

You can follow Nichelle on Twitter at @RealNichelle and visit her website at Uhura.com.

Celebrating Gene Roddenberry, the “Great Bird of the Galaxy”

gene-roddenberry-star-trek-birthday

Today we celebrate Eugene “Gene” Wesley Roddenberry, also affectionately known as “The Great Bird of the Galaxy”, who would have turned 91 years old on this day.

Born August 19, 1921, Roddenberry was a writer, producer, humanist, father, husband, visionary and most famously, the creative mind and force behind the legendary Star Trek franchise.

Ever prolific, Roddenberry continued to develop series and films outside of Trek, some even credited to him post-humously. His invaluable contributions to television, science-fiction and society as a whole have awarded him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, inductions into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame, and the Science Foundation’s Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award, among various other accolades. However, his legacy goes beyond the measure of any award. His vision of a future where the nations of Earth have transcended racial and geo-political prejudice, where technology triumphs over ignorance, and the principles of peace and cooperative exploration reign have inspired countless fans the world over, ranging from children to scientists, actors to politicians, engineers to housewives.

Roddenberry’s career in television began during his time as an LAPD officer. Under the name “Robert Wesley”, he wrote television scripts for Highway Patrol and Have Gun, Will Travel, as well as having worked on the radio version of the latter. He also contributed to westerns like Boots and Saddles and Whiplash

Ultimately unsatisfied with freelance writing, he decided to develop his own program. His first attempt, a WWII adventure series named APO 293, failed to be picked up by the networks. However, in 1963 NBC greenlit his next venture, The Lieutenant, which ran for one season and featured Nichelle Nichols in the first episode.

Majel and Gene Roddenberry on the set of Star Trek: TNG

Majel and Gene Roddenberry on the set of Star Trek: TNG

For his next series, Roddenberry turned his sights to the heavens. Taking inspiration from old sci-fi serials such as Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, he described his new project as a “Wagon Train to the stars”. Thus Star Trek was born in 1964. After a failed over-budget pilot, NBC allowed for a second, which sparked a three season run. Though the series suffered low ratings and Roddenberry eventually withdrew from direct involvement in the final season, the show found unprecedented success in syndication.

Throughout the 70’s, Roddenberry continued to produce and develop new films and series, such as the sexploitation film Pretty Maids All in a Row and three sci-fi TV movies – The Questor Tapes, Spectre, and Genesis II, the lattermost spawning two sequels, Planet Earth and Strange New World.

In 1975, Paramount allowed for a sequel to Star Trek, called Phase II, which instead eventually became the first film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture. He remained the “executive consultant” on the following four films and was an integral force behind the creation of The Next Generation. He is also credited as “creator” on the subsequent series Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise.

Gene Roddenberry with George Takei, Walter Koenig and James Doohan
Roddenberry with George Takei, Walter Koenig and James Doohan

He also had affection for aviation, flying with the USAAF during WWII and continuing to commercially pilot aircraft for Pan Am after the war, even receiving a Civil Aeronautics commendation for aiding in the rescue effort following a crash in the Syrian desert in 1947.

Roddenberry passed away on October 24, 1991, just within 48 hours of the screening of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, which was dedicated to his memory. His cremated remains were launched into orbit aboard a Celestis spacecraft on April 21, 1997, so that he may rest in peace amongst the stars which he so fondly regarded. He was survived by his wife, Majel Barrett, who sadly passed away in 2008, his two daughters from his previous marriage with Eileen Rexroat, his two grandchildren, and his son, Gene Roddenberry, Jr., who recently directed Trek Nation, a documentary exploring his father’s legacy.

Gene Roddenberry changed the world in a very fundamental way, boldly going where no man has gone before. We all wish him a very fond “happy birthday”, as well as a sincere “thank you” for all he has brought to our lives and imaginations.

Watch the embedded video below of an up close and personal interview with Roddenberry from 1981, hosted by his son Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry.

Happy Birthday, Kate Mulgrew

Happy Birthday, Kate Mulgrew

On Sunday, Kate Mulgrew, who played Captain Kathryn Janeway in the Star Trek: Voyager series, celebrated her 57th birthday.

While Mulgrew may be best known for her role as Star Trek‘s first female captain, her career spans outside of just the science-fiction genre. She is also known for playing Mary Ryan in Ryan’s Hope and has appeared in a number of popular TV shows such as Cheers, Dallas, Murphy Brown and Law & Order. In 1998, she won a Saturn award for Best Genre TV Actress in Star Trek: Voyager.

As Captain Janeway, she has been nominated for the Saturn Award 3 more times in 1999-2001 and won the Golden Satellite Award for the best actress in a TV series drama. Prior to her memorable Star Trek engagement, Kate was also nominated for a Golden Globe in 1980 for her leading role in Mrs. Columbo, a detective mystery. She is also the recipient of several theater awards: a Carbonell Award for Best Actress in Tea at Five, a monologue theater show based on Katharine Hepburn’s memoir Me: Stories of My Life, an Audience Award for Favorite Solo Performance for Tea at Five from Broadway.com as well as an Obie Award for her performance as Clytemnestra in Iphigenia 2.0 at Signature Theatre Co.

Kate has remained active with theater and TV as well as convention appearances. Just last week she attended the Julien International Film Festival in her hometown of Dubuque, IA, where she received the 2012 Pioneer Award. She also presented the television veteran Claire Labine, creator and writer of Ryan’s Hope from 1975 to 1989, with the Ian McLellan Hunter Award at 2012 at the Writers Guild Awards East Coast Ceremony in NYC.

William Shatner, Kate Mulgrew and Patrick Stewart

Mulgrew along with fellow Star Trek captains, William Shatner and Patrick Stewart at the 2011 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention

This summer, she is scheduled to appear at this year’s Las Vegas Star Trek Convention and Shore Leave 34 convention in Baltimore in August, the Wizard World Comic Con in Philadelphia and Chicago and Destination Star Trek London in October.

Kate’s latest project involves the voice the role of Over-Sphere in Flatland2: Sphereland, which is coming to DVD later this year. She will also be working on the second season of NTSF: SD: SUV (National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle), a comedy that parodies the police procedural and action film genres.

Watch some great Captain Janeway moments below.

Janeway destroys Voyager:

Janeway Lashes Out at The Vidiians:

Mulgrew reflects on her time as Janeway:

Kate Mulgrew on NTSF:SD:SUV:

Oh My! Happy Birthday, George Takei

Happy Birthday, George Takei

Happy 75th birthday to Star Trek‘s original Hikaru Sulu, George Hosato Takei, who was born on April 20th in 1937 in Los Angeles.

As an actor, politician, activist, and writer, Takei has had a career many would hope for but few achieve. He and his family were sent to relocation centers during World War II when he was only 5-years old. Certainly an austere beginning but one that led him to study architecture at UC Berkeley, to be followed by a B.A. in theater at UCLA and and then a Masters Degree in theater by 1964.

One of the few Asian-American faces to grace television in the 1950′s and 1960′s, George was fortunate to be a part of “the Golden Age” of television. On the big screen he was seen alongside Cary Grant, Alec Guinness, Star Trek‘s first captain, Jeffrey Hunter, James Caan and John Wayne in the 1968 classic, The Green Berets.

Of course, we all know of his casting in Star Trek giving Mr. Sulu performances of depth and imbibing a likability into the role. We also know even though we saw the helmsmen and future captain return throughout the decades, that would hardly be enough to sustain a career.

Takei as Sulu in the Original Series episode "The Naked Time"

Takei as Sulu in the Original Series episode "The Naked Time"

The tri-lingual Takei, (English, Japanese and Spanish,) almost became a Los Angeles City Councilman in 1972 and was appointed by L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley to sit on the board of directors of the Southern California Rapid Transit district.

Voice over work and TV guest appearances has kept him in the public spotlight as well as his relationship with The Howard Stern Show and his now famous “Oh my” catch phrase.

Takei on stage with John Cho and Garrett Wang at the 2011 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention

Takei on stage with John Cho and Garrett Wang at the 2011 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention

His work for gay rights has been going on for decades as his public fame allows him to be heard, seen and quoted by international media. In 2008, Takei and long time partner Brad Altman, married at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles – Takei is one of its founders.

Arsenio Hall, Lou Ferigno and Takei on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice"

Arsenio Hall, Lou Ferigno and Takei on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice"

And most recently we all saw George get “fired” on The Celebrity Apprentice. Quite frankly, he has created a legacy far superior to “The Donald.”

So happy birthday, George! Something tells me you’ll make it a good one.

Takei brokers for Star Peace between William Shatner and Star Wars’ Carrie Fisher

Takei shows off his happy dance

To keep up with George, you can follow him on Twitter at @GeorgeTakei.

Happy Birthday, Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy, one of Star Trek’s most memorable actors, turned 81 years old today, and no, he is not 129 like his most famous personage, Spock, the half-human, half-Vulcan science officer from Star Trek: The Original Series for which Mr. Nimoy is famous. Aside from his well-known portrayal of Captain Kirk’s Number One, he has been involved in many projects of his own creation, some of which, to this day, remain underrated and under-celebrated. Throughout his life, for example, Nimoy immersed himself in a diverse array of acting roles on stage and screen; recorded and performed several musical albums, and produced photographic works of art showcased in exhibits throughout Massachusetts. He was also the director of successful motion pictures and authored two autobiographies and even penned a collection of poetry; such creative resourcefulness is the trademark of an exceptionally talented and brilliant artist.

His acting career in science fiction started with his role as Narab, a Martian invader in the 1952 sci-fi classic Zombies of the Stratosphere. He has since played minor roles in various TV series, such as Dragnet, The Outer Limits, and The Twilight Zone, but it was not until the year 1966 that Leonard Nimoy would star as a lead character in Star Trek, one that created a new breed of scientific personalities in popular science fiction and completely reshaped the genre. He is also known for his screen depiction of the ex-magician, Paris, in the spy drama television series Mission: Impossible and for his minor role as Dr. Kibner in the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

In appreciation of fantasy and science fiction genres, Mr. Nimoy wrote and recorded musical albums under a contract with Dot Records in the late 1960’s while simultaneously fulfilling acting roles in Star Trek and Mission: Impossible. His musical career, though short lived in comparison to his dedication to acting, included songs like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Earth and Spock Thoughts. Nimoy even sang the popular The Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins, in dedication of J. R. R. Tolkein’s adventure novel The Hobbit; a music video of Leonard Nimoy’s The Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins was produced and can be found on YouTube with viewer counts as high as 1.6 million.

In 1999, Mr. Nimoy participated with John de Lancie, the actor who played the all-powerful Q in three Star Trek television series, to record their stage performance Spock vs. Q, a comedic dramatization of a philosophical and a hilariously frustrating conversation between the characters Spock and Q. It was followed with a sequel in 2000 in which Spock and Q would once again battle each other with wit, logic, and sheer godhood (on account of Q’s omnipotence). In addition to his on-stage performances, Mr. Nimoy also lent his voice for a role as King Nedakh in Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire and for narrations in computer games like the turn-based strategy Civilization IV and the epic MMORPG Star Trek Online.

In 2011, Nimoy appeared at what he has said were his final convention appearances. He gave a heartfelt account of his life and career at Creation’s Las Vegas Star Trek Convention in August and Chicago in October. He also starred in the Bruno Mars music video, “The Lazy Song.”

RELATED: Leonard Nimoy Stars in New Bruno Mars Video “The Lazy Song”

Leonard Nimoy, actor, director, poet, musician and narrator, is a wonderfully talented individual whose many accomplishments are our treasures. He continues to peruse his love of photography and is set to guest star on this Thursday’s episode of The Big Bang Theory.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Nimoy. And as always: live long and prosper.

Happy Birthday, William Shatner

William Shatner

Today, William Shatner, the actor who played the legendary Captain James Tiberius Kirk in Star Trek: The Original Series and seven Star Trek motion pictures, turned 81 years old.

This Montreal-born actor started his career as a Shakespearean stage performer in Stratford, Canada and on Broadway in New York City in the early 1950’s. Though his first appearance in cinema was that of a minor role in the 1951 Canadian film The Butler’s Night Off, Shatner’s prominence in film did not arrive until his second debut in 1958 as Alexey Karamazov in The Brothers Karamazov, a film adaptation of one of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s literary works. During that time, he played a major role as Jim Whitely in The Glass Eye, an episode form the third season of the television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In 1959, William Shatner performed on stage in Broadway once again as Lomax in The World of Suzie Wong; his outstanding performance was received very well by critics, which earned him greater repute in the theatrical and film community. In fact, his initial stardom was a precursor to greater achievements in film and television for the next several years before he took on more exploratory, original roles: where no man has gone before.

His more prominent contributions on-screen during the early 1960’s, though not highly recognized by today’s standards, included an episode of The Twilight Zone entitled “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”, in which Shatner played a paranoid airline passenger who is seemingly the only person aboard aware of a gremlin sabotaging the propeller engines on the wing of the plane (and yes, this WAS the original screenplay that was remade in the fourth segment of the 1983 film Twilight Zone: The Movie, starring 3rd Rock from the Sun’s John Lithgow sitting in Shatner’s seat on the plane (and quite possibly terrified by the same gremlin). In 1964, Shatner guest-starred in The Man from U.N.C.L.E, in which he played as Michael Donfield, an ex-businessman employed by the main character, Napoleon Solo, to expose a plot that would bring the United States and the Soviet Union on the brink of war. In the episode, Solo and Donfield discover co-conspirators Madame Kurasov and her assistant, Vladeck. Interestingly, Vladeck was played by Leonard Nimoy, who would later fill the shoes of Spock from the classic Star Trek: The Original Series. Though these two actors played the roles of enemies in a single episode, fate would unite them in the roles of close friends for an entire series, both on- and off-screen.

In 1966, William Shatner was cast as Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek’s second pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” a role in a series that lasted until its abrupt cancellation in 1969. His exceptional performance impacted science fiction for years to come. Despite the low financial status of the show’s budget and its poor reception of the audience at the time, Shatner’s portrayal of Kirk set the standard for many leadership roles in films and shows, from Battlestar Galactica to Star Wars.

By 1979, Gene Roddenberry and Paramount Pictures resurrected Star Trek and brought Shatner and his old crew back to work in another round of space-faring adventures; this time, William Shatner would not star in a TV series, but in a full-fledged film saga, beginning with Star Trek: The Motion Picture and ending with the sad, though heroic death of James T. Kirk in Star Trek: Generations.

After his film career as Captain Kirk ended (though his acting career was no where near finished), William Shatner refused to let the spirit of Kirk end at just one movie. He continued the Kirk legacy in a series of Star Trek novels wherein Captain Kirk was resurrected to continue his adventures to explore and save the galaxy once again, this time in the 24th century. He also authored the science fiction series TekWar, which was adapted into a video game, a made-for-TV movie, and a comic book series.

During his 80th year, Shatner has released a new album, Seeking Major Tom, starred in the one-man Broadway show, Shatner’s World, released the documentary, The Captains, rekindled the Star Wars versus Star Trek war between himself and Carrie Fisher, and much more.

William Shatner, writer, actor, stage performer, and science fiction enthusiast, is a man of many talents. His popularity as the legendary Captain Kirk earned him a reputation that not only lasted for half a century, but will endure for centuries to come. Look anywhere, Star Trek or not, one can still see the mark of Captain Kirk in everything, from television series and movies to music and art. Today, we shall celebrate Mr. Shatner’s turning of age as well as the great fortunes he has laid out for us.

Watch the commercial for Shatner’s Broadway show, below.