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Eugene Wesley "Gene" Roddenberry (August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991) was an American television screenwriter and producer. He was best known for creating the American science fiction series Star Trek. Born in El Paso, Texas, Roddenberry grew up in Los Angeles, California where his father worked as a police officer. Roddenberry flew 89 combat missions in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II, and worked as a commercial pilot after the war. He later followed in his father's footsteps, joining the Los Angeles Police Department to provide for his family, but began focusing on writing scripts for television.
As a freelance writer, Roddenberry wrote scripts for Highway Patrol, Have Gun–Will Travel, and other series, before creating and producing his own television program, The Lieutenant. In 1964, Roddenberry created Star Trek, which premiered in 1966 and ran for three seasons before being canceled. Syndication of Star Trek led to increasing popularity, and Roddenberry continued to create, produce, and consult on Star Trek films and the television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation until his death. Roddenberry received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Hall of Fame. Years after his death, Roddenberry was one of the first humans to have his ashes "buried" in outer space.
The Star Trek franchise Roddenberry created has produced material for over four decades, producing six television series, 726 episodes and eleven films, with a twelfth film currently in post-production and scheduled for a May 2013 release. Additionally, the popularity of the Star Trek universe and films inspired the gentle parody/homage film Galaxy Quest (1999), as well as many books, video games and fan films set in the various "eras" of the Star Trek universe.