DEAD: Gene Roddenberry

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

Gene Roddenberry (aged 70)
Screenwriter and producer (Star Trek)

Eugene Wesley Roddenberry (August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991) was an American television screenwriter and producer. He is best remembered for creating the original Star Trek television series. Born in El Paso, Texas, Roddenberry grew up in Los Angeles, where his father was a police officer. Roddenberry flew 89 combat missions in the Army Air Forces during World War II, and worked as a commercial pilot after the war. Later, he followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Los Angeles Police Department, where he also began to write scripts for television.

DEATH: Following a stroke at a family reunion in Tallahassee, Florida, in September 1989, Roddenberry’s health declined further, ultimately requiring him to use a wheelchair. His right arm was paralyzed after another stroke in early October 1991, causing him ongoing pain as the muscles began to atrophy. It also caused problems with the sight in his right eye and he found communicating in full sentences difficult. At 2:00 pm, on October 24, he attended an appointment with his doctor, Dr. Ronald Rich. He arrived in the building with his staff, and began to travel up to the ninth floor in the elevator. As they reached the fifth floor, he began struggling for breath, and was wheeled into the doctor’s office, where he was reclined and a nurse administered oxygen. Barrett was sent for. Upon her arrival, she held Roddenberry while encouraging him to breathe. He had a cardiopulmonary arrest, and he died in the doctor’s office shortly afterwards. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was attempted with no effect, and paramedics arrived to take him across the road to the Santa Monica Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

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