"Star Trek" creator beamed from Earth
On this day in 1991, "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry died in Santa Monica, California. Roddenberry was born in El Paso in 1921, and grew up in Los Angeles. He began writing for television in the 1950s and his scripts were produced on "Dragnet," "Naked City," "The U.S. Steel Hour," and "Goodyear Theater," among other series. He received his first Emmy award as head writer for "Have Gun, Will Travel," a western series, and produced the television series "The Lieutenant" in 1960-61. Roddenberry is best remembered, however, for "Star Trek," which premiered in 1966 and ran until 1969. The series became a cult favorite, spawned numerous fan clubs, products, and conventions, and later became one of the most popular syndicated shows in reruns. Roddenberry once deprecatingly described "Star Trek" as "'Wagon Train' to the stars," but one critic wrote that Roddenberry "establish[ed] a new level of quality for television science fiction." He received awards from the Writers Guild of America, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and other television organizations, and "Star Trek" won an Emmy, an international Hugo Award for outstanding science fiction writing, and an Image award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.