Released in theatres on May 7, 2009, the newest Star Trek movie to grace the silver screen, directed by J.J. Abrams, received rave reviews from established fans and new Trekkies around the world.
While the plot features younger versions of the iconic characters from the 1960s television series, the movie paid homage to the franchise by casting a remarkably brilliant ensemble, including casting Leonard Nimoy as the older Spock, and maintaining one common element in particular that was omnipresent audibly throughout the entire Star Trek journey… Majel Barrett’s (Gene Roddenberry’s widow) voice as the computer.
I’d like to share some of my thoughts about Majel Barrett and explore more of her work here today with you on VOX Daily.
The First Lady of Star Trek
If you are a diehard Trekkie, you probably know that Star Trek’s creator, the late Gene Roddenberry, chose his wife, the recently deceased Majel Barrett (whom he married in 1969), to be part of the Star Trek franchise, both onscreen in the original series in the first pilot episode as Number One, going on to star in the series as Nurse Christine Chapel, accompanying Bones McCoy, but also as the voice of the omnipresent computer helping the crew to navigate the final frontier where no man had gone before on the Starship Enterprise.
For continuity’s sake, and in the process building a legacy, Majel (pronounced “Mabel”) Barrett’s voice lived well beyond the first Star Trek series, featured prominently as the voice of every computer thereafter in the Star Trek television series and in the majority of the Star Trek movies, also voicing a part in the 11th Star Trek movie, recording lines for computers up to within weeks of her death at the age of 76 of leukemia on December 18, 2008.
In all, Majel Barrett was the voice of the computers in:
The original Star Trek as voice of The Enterprise Computer (1966-1969)
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) as voice of the Enterprise Computer
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999) as voice of the Federation Computer
Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001) as voice of the Voyager Computer
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) as voice of the Enterprise Computer
Star Trek: Generations (1997) as voice of the Enterprise Computer
Star Trek: First Contact (1996) as the voice of the Enterprise Computer
Star Trek: Borg (1996) as the voice of the Federation Computer
Star Trek: Judgment Rites (1993) as voice of the Enterprise Computer
Enterprise (2005) as the voice of the Computer
Star Trek: New Voyages (2007) as voice of the STNV Computer
“Start Trek” (2009) as voice of the Starfleet Computer aboard the USS Enterprise
7 Little Known Facts About Majel Barrett Roddenberry’s Voice Over Work:
1. There was a Star Trek: The Animated Series, (box set released in 1973) in which Majel Barrett recorded voice over for Nurse Christine Chapel, Lt. M’Ress, Amanda Grayson, the Enterprise Computer, Briel, Rila/Aquan Female, Slaver Weapon Computer, Randi Bryce, Lara/Vedala Female, and of course, Additional Voices.
2. Majel Barrett Roddenberry was also the voice of the computer on the game, Star Trek: The Next Generation Interactive Technical Manual (1994).
3. She was the voice of the Federation Computer on the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (1999) and the voice of the Federation Computer on Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (1999)
4. Majel Barrett Roddenberry was also the computer voice on an episode of Family Guy on “Emission Impossible” (November 8, 2001).
5. Majel Barrett Roddenberry was the voice of Anna Watson on the Spider-man cartoon series (1996-1998).
6. Some of Barrett’s final voice over work is still in post-production to be released this year in an animated production called “Hamlet A.D.D.” credited as Majel Barrett Roddenberry, playing the voice over role of Queen Robot.
7. Even though her voice over work on Star Trek as computer voices was omnipresent, Barrett’s voice over work went largely uncredited in a number of instances.
I hope that this article will draw attention to the immense contribution Majel Barrett Roddenberry made over the 4 decades she was involved with the Star Trek franchise.
Even though this article is fairly exhaustive, I know that there are likely pieces of the puzzle that are missing that you can add! I’m interested to hear from fans and voice over people alike.
If you have any remembrances or insights that you’d like to share about Majel Barrett Roddenberry’s work, please add your thoughts as comments below.