Majel Barrett has left us

>> Friday, December 19, 2008

I just read Majel Barrett, a.k.a. Majel Roddenberry, a.k.a. Majel Barrett-Roddenberry has passed away at age 76. As a nerd, I felt it was worth mentioning, worth lighting a mental candle for a few moments.

She was, of course, Nurse Christine Chapel on the original Star Trek (Dr. Christine Chapel by the time of her appearance in Star Trek: The Motion Picture), and the voice of the Enterprise's computer (and practically every other computer in Starfleet) in every or nearly every incarnation of the franchise. It appears J.J. Abrams may have done at least one thing right for certain in his Trek reboot: Ms. Barrett-Roddenberry apparently had just recently completed voice work for the role of the Enterprise's computer in the upcoming film.

And while Lwaxana Troi would be one of my top nominees for Most Annoying Character In The Trekverse, it's only fair to mention the role for honoring Barrett with an onscreen role in Star Trek's first and best television resurrection.

There's not a whole lot I can say: she's not a person I knew a great deal about, but she is a person whose face and voice became almost instantly recognizable through her constant presence in the background of my life. I'm not a Trekker or a Trekkie (and if I have to pick Trek or Wars, I'm a Wars guy without thinking), but I know without looking it up that the original Enterprise 1701 had a crew compliment of around 435 (some sources vary) and was originally commanded by Robert April. So there is something missing, I guess, now that she's passed on.

Rest in peace, Nurse Chapel.


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