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American writer and producer Gene Rodenberry created the immensely influential Star Trek television series in the 1960s.
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He was an executive producer for Star Trek: The Next Generation, which became a huge hit following the series' launch in 1987. In 1990, he was honored with the Jack Benny Memorial Award of lifetime achievement by the March of Dimes.
Roddenberry went into cardiac arrest and passed away on October 24,
1991. His influence on popular culture was enormous; Star Trek became the first TV series to have an episode preserved in the Smithsonian Institution, and NASA named one of its space shuttles Enterprise. Four Next Generation movies and several television spin-offs arrived in the years after Roddenberry's death, and in 2009 a Star Trek reboot was a box-office smash, proving that its characters and themes remained as beloved as ever.
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Hollywood stars often get flack for their extravagant lifestyles, and sometimes they seem to be far removed from the rest of us. Not so for all celebrities, though—a surprising number of stars have taken on the big responsibility of serving in the United States Armed Forces. We know them as actors, athletes, musicians, and comedians, but these brave individuals have actually put their lives on the line for their country. Here's a look at celebrity enlistees.
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Learn more about the stars of the wildly popular Star Trek television and film franchise. Created by Gene Roddenberry in the early 1960s, this otherworldly series debuted on the small screen in '66 and has since seen dozens of installments, most recently the J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), starring Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Chris Hemsworth and Zachary Quinto. Learn more about other cast members of the franchise, including William Shatner, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, LeVar Burton, George Takei, Kirstie Alley and Winona Ryder. Who knows, you might even discover your inner-Trekkie.
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