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The Enterprise, Now Silent.
December 18, 2008 1:55 PM   Subscribe

RIP Majel Barrett-Roddenberry. Executive producer of Andromeda, Earth: The Final Conflict, Nurse Christine Chapel of TOS, and the always comforting voice of the Federation, passed away today at 78. A sci-fi legend has left for the stars.

Fun Trivia Fact: She was married to a guy named Gene, whom she met on the set of a long forgotten sci-fi TV series.
posted by MiltonRandKalman (133 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
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Did she record anything for the new movie?
posted by Gungho at 1:58 PM on December 18, 2008


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Goodnight, Nurse Chapel ... Lwaxana Troi ... computer.

And yes, I believe hers is the voice for the new movie's computer. I can't imagine it sounding any different really.
posted by grabbingsand at 2:00 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by jadepearl at 2:01 PM on December 18, 2008


Damn, I meant 76 and forgot the Lwaxana Troi thing. Cut me some slack my fingers were trembling and I was trying not to lose it at work.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:01 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by crickets at 2:01 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by jquinby at 2:02 PM on December 18, 2008


Oh man. No. She was the absolute best recurring minor character on TNG/DS9.

To the stars, Majel.

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posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:04 PM on December 18, 2008


Oh, dammit. I'm gonna go home and watch that DS9 where Odo puddles up in her skirt. Or maybe that TNG where she gets beamed onto the Ferengi ship naked. Or maybe I'll reevaluate my media-consumption habits.

It was Majel Barrett, in her role as Lwaxana, that first alerted me as a child to the fact that women like a nice set of legs on a man. I was like, "They pay attention to the legs?"
posted by Greg Nog at 2:06 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


boldly gone.

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posted by rmd1023 at 2:06 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


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Thank for trying to advance women's roles on TV, Number One.
posted by parilous at 2:06 PM on December 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


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posted by dbiedny at 2:09 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by RussHy at 2:10 PM on December 18, 2008


Wow, I had no idea that all those characters were one person!
posted by not_on_display at 2:12 PM on December 18, 2008


Program complete.
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posted by WolfDaddy at 2:12 PM on December 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


Did she record anything for the new movie?

It seems she did.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:15 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by aerotive at 2:15 PM on December 18, 2008


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(end of line)
posted by armage at 2:15 PM on December 18, 2008


She was the absolute best recurring minor character on TNG/DS9.

Just the other day I watched her first DS9 appearance, when she went from trying to fuck Odo to literally holding him in her skirts after he couldn't maintain shape any longer. From borderline sexual predator to Florence Nightingale in the blink of an eye. One of my favorites from that series.

RIP, Majel.
posted by middleclasstool at 2:16 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jeebus -- how did I only just now learn that she played Nurse Chapel? [puts on Fail hat]

Although I love Spock, I think she was waaay cooler as Number One. (Riker doesn't even deserve mention in the same sentence.)

RIP, see you on the other side, Ms. Barrett-Rodenberry.
posted by lord_wolf at 2:17 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by pointystick at 2:19 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by DaddyNewt at 2:20 PM on December 18, 2008


Does not compute :(

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posted by DiscourseMarker at 2:22 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by Fuzzy Monster at 2:22 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by jtron at 2:22 PM on December 18, 2008


Number One was great. They transfer one of her characteristic -- emotionless logic -- to Spock, and Nimoy ran with it, but she remains glacially cool.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:23 PM on December 18, 2008


Union Pacific railroad engineers have enlisted the voice talents of Barrett on their track-side defect detector devices, used in various Union Pacific railroad locations deployed west of the Mississippi River. Once a defect is identified, the system responds with the voice of Barrett announcing information to the train's head-end crew.[6]

-- Wikipedia
posted by Kirklander at 2:24 PM on December 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


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posted by h00py at 2:24 PM on December 18, 2008


She'll now be there to answer when Jimmy Doohan says "Computer."

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posted by longsleeves at 2:25 PM on December 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


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Also, she played one of the wives of The Centauri Emperor on Babylon 5. She was the one who told Molari and Vir that they were both destined to become Emperor. (just watched that episode last night)
posted by ArgentCorvid at 2:26 PM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


We are gathered here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. But it should be noted that this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave her life to protect and nourish. She did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate her profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of Majel, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, hers was the most... human.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:27 PM on December 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


Oh, this sucks. I too always loved the Lwaxana Troi episodes, especially the TNG one with her and the Ferengi. They'll never be able to do a proper Trek again without her as the computer voice.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:29 PM on December 18, 2008


Jesus. I had no idea that I would be this moved at her passing. I'm really sad.

I liked all of her characters: Number 1, Nurse Chapel, Lwaxana. I'm going to have watch the animated series and check out M'Ress.
posted by nooneyouknow at 2:29 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


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posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 2:30 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by Talez at 2:32 PM on December 18, 2008


They'll never be able to do a proper Trek again without her as the computer voice firing Rick Berman.

FTFY
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:33 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


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posted by cazoo at 2:37 PM on December 18, 2008


They'll never be able to do a proper Trek again without her as the computer voice firing Rick Berman.

Hasn't he already effectively been fired? He has nothing to do with the new movie, does he? And for all his failures, he did co-create and produce DS9 (as well as Voyager and Enterprise, in vastly descending order of prestige). I think he also wrote the TNG episode where Brent Spiner plays Data, Data's father, and Lore all at once, which was a great episode. Now Brannon Braga, hating him I understand. That Voyager episode where Paris and Janeway turn into lizards at least justifies prison time.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:43 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by longdaysjourney at 2:44 PM on December 18, 2008


That Voyager episode where Paris and Janeway turn into lizards at least justifies prison time.

AND THEY MATED!

{shudders}
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:47 PM on December 18, 2008


Sigh! I hope there is a Star Trek heaven.
posted by doctorschlock at 2:48 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by StrangeTikiGod at 2:49 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by vhsiv at 2:51 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by The Great Big Mulp at 2:56 PM on December 18, 2008


I liked her in every role she played, but I think it was as Lwaxana Troi that I'll remember her.

Its a damn shame she didn't live long enough to see the new movie come out.
posted by sotonohito at 2:57 PM on December 18, 2008


Union Pacific railroad engineers have enlisted the voice talents of Barrett on their track-side defect detector devices, used in various Union Pacific railroad locations deployed west of the Mississippi River. Once a defect is identified, the system responds with the voice of Barrett announcing information to the train's head-end crew.

I have this weird feeling that, if this were more widely known, someone would start creating defects just to make them feel like they're on a Federation ship when they hear it announced. Maybe it's a good thing I don't work there.
posted by Avelwood at 3:00 PM on December 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


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posted by oonh at 3:01 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by Xoebe at 3:01 PM on December 18, 2008


There wasn't a dry eye in the house after her scene in DSP with Odo.

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posted by tommasz at 3:02 PM on December 18, 2008


Did she record anything for the new movie?

The official Roddenberry website reports that "The First Lady of Star Trek" had just completed her voice work for the new movie.

When I got my first Mac, I bought a program that could add sound events to basic tasks, so naturally clips of her as the Enterprise's computer were my first choice. She was much better all around than HAL 9000.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:02 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by thylacine at 3:04 PM on December 18, 2008


I feel like a torch has just been passed, but there is nobody there to catch it.

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posted by adamrice at 3:07 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd be glad to do that Mr. Spock.
posted by octothorpe at 3:08 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Aw. Star Trek was so much a part of my life growing up -- I'll miss her, and her awesome characters. Especially Lwaxana.

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posted by kalimac at 3:10 PM on December 18, 2008


Fare thee well, gentle Lady. Requiescat in pace.
posted by elendil71 at 3:11 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by Skorgu at 3:14 PM on December 18, 2008


Visiting with Majel at the Star Trek conventions was always the high point. Such a genuinely good, lively, and full of joy.

I can't believe I'm getting teary-eyed at her passing. What a wonderful actress and person.
posted by paddbear at 3:17 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by vibrotronica at 3:19 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by QueerAngel28 at 3:21 PM on December 18, 2008


I met her at a convention once. She signed my Star Trek Compendium. She was an incredible speaker when it came to reminiscing about Trek in general and her husband in particular. She was just lovely.

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posted by crossoverman at 3:25 PM on December 18, 2008


She had a good run. She's the voice of the computer up in heaven, now.
posted by Eideteker at 3:30 PM on December 18, 2008


computer: disengage.

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posted by joelf at 3:39 PM on December 18, 2008


Respects.
posted by buzzman at 3:46 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:47 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by jepler at 3:50 PM on December 18, 2008


Union Pacific railroad engineers have enlisted the voice talents of Barrett on their track-side defect detector devices, used in various Union Pacific railroad locations deployed west of the Mississippi River. Once a defect is identified, the system responds with the voice of Barrett announcing information to the train's head-end crew.

Ooh, I just heard her! I'm listening here, recieiver 1 (there's not much going on, very occasional transmissions). I wasn't sure it was Majel until she said "Detector out" at the end. :)

Very sad news. It's cheering to think she'll be heard by train operators for years.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:51 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I always wanted my computer to say "WORKING" in her voice when that blasted hourglass thing was just hanging there on my screen, so at least I would know that SOMETHING was happening...

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posted by Ron Thanagar at 3:58 PM on December 18, 2008


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She was one of my favorite people in the Star Trek universe.
posted by mike3k at 4:01 PM on December 18, 2008


I predict that future voice-operated computer interfaces will sound exactly like Majel Barrett-Roddenberry.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 4:01 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by Smedleyman at 4:02 PM on December 18, 2008


One by one they are all going away. Such is the way of the things.

In tribute the episode of TOS where Nurse Chapel and Spock nearly get it on will be reenacted by the wife and I this evening. Minus the cock-blocking by that killjoy Captain Kirk.

I only hope I get to play Spock this time.
posted by tkchrist at 4:09 PM on December 18, 2008 [10 favorites]


Devastating! She was far too young.
posted by Hildegarde at 4:10 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by Jon_Evil at 4:17 PM on December 18, 2008


Wow. I can't believe you left out Lwaxana. Not to be hard on you, just... what a character.

Very sad.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:17 PM on December 18, 2008


"Insufficient data. Please specify parameters." She was the one constant in the many-worlds Trek multiverse.
posted by steef at 4:18 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Her roles on Star Trek were classic, but she also took very seriously her role as protector of Gene's other intellectual property, resulting in the Andromeda and Earth: Final Conflict series (both of which I thoroughly enjoyed the first seasons of, before other producers sent them far afield of Roddenberry's original intent). For better or worse, they both also had their own influence on Science Fiction.

We are all now that much more removed from the beginnings of Star Trek, and in a sad way, the timing her passing is almost appropriate, considering the time-travel-assisted ret-con that is apparently part of the plot of the upcoming Young Star Trek movie.

Still, I wish she were around long enough to see Majel's Voice replace Windows as the most common operating system.

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posted by wendell at 4:25 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by PlusDistance at 4:34 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by finite at 4:35 PM on December 18, 2008


...of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, hers was the most... human.

Oh damn. That always makes me tear up about Spock too.
posted by DU at 4:36 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by the sobsister at 4:46 PM on December 18, 2008


Wow. I can't believe you left out Lwaxana.

*shrill whistle*
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 4:50 PM on December 18, 2008


And let's not forgot that she (along with James and Nichelle) voiced nearly all the guests in TAS.

*tear*
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:11 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I exclaimed "Oh NO!" at my computer when I read this post.

STAR TREK makes me emotional enough anyway.
posted by wittgenstein at 5:19 PM on December 18, 2008


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Very sad that she's gone. Another Lwaxana fan here.
posted by ursus_comiter at 5:20 PM on December 18, 2008


Oh, dear. :-( Another great voice from my childhood stilled forever.

However, now I think about it, I'm glad she didn't end up with the Spock role; it would have merely reinforced the stereotype that the only women who get ahead are unemotional/emotionally stunted. One of the things that's truly excellent about TOS is that the main female characters are actually warm and yet very professional (well, Yeoman Rand excepted). Uhuru is never unprofessional and yet she often has the emotional sensitivity to understand things the other command crew do not.


posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:21 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by cjorgensen at 5:39 PM on December 18, 2008


Yeah, like parilous brings up, it was a shame to see her go from Pike's Number One to Nurse Chapel. Not that Nurse Chapel was a terrible role, but in contrast with #1, you could practically hear the offscreen direction: "Okay, um, I know you can play a competent badass in pants, but can you tone that down and be more... cheery and nice? Also, I have a padded blond wig with your name on it!"

So sad. She was obviously an awesome lady.
posted by zusty at 5:41 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by Crabby Appleton at 5:48 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by andraste at 5:56 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by about_time at 5:57 PM on December 18, 2008


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working... working...
posted by mwhybark at 5:59 PM on December 18, 2008


Always loved her name: Majel.

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posted by bwg at 5:59 PM on December 18, 2008


lupus_yonderboy, style points! I crib with alacrity! ( I hope, on view source I don't see any HTML enti-tization )


posted by mwhybark at 6:03 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by Foosnark at 6:25 PM on December 18, 2008


Well, crap.

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posted by rand at 6:32 PM on December 18, 2008


I heard that there's a GPS unit with Dennis Hopper's voice. My immediate reaction was, "I want Majel Barrett."
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 6:36 PM on December 18, 2008


=-@
posted by bashos_frog at 6:48 PM on December 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


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Probably my favorite Trek woman.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:56 PM on December 18, 2008


Computer.
Computer!
Computer?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:57 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by Cosmo7 at 7:05 PM on December 18, 2008


A very great lady, talented, warm-hearted, and kind to all of us nerds. I has a big sad.
posted by sister nunchaku of love and mercy at 7:23 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 8:01 PM on December 18, 2008


Warp speed, Number One.
posted by briank at 8:02 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by Fleebnork at 8:24 PM on December 18, 2008


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*sniff*
posted by Space Kitty at 8:32 PM on December 18, 2008


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"Jeebus -- how did I only just now learn that she played Nurse Chapel? [puts on Fail hat]"

I only just now learned that she played all these other rolls!
posted by eye of newt at 8:45 PM on December 18, 2008


I propose that the proper memorial is to run your computer on mute for the day.
posted by Caviar at 8:57 PM on December 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


All of my life, I have been aiming to grow up into Lwaxana Troi, complete with random alien hookups.

Here's to you, shameless role model.

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posted by Jilder at 8:57 PM on December 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


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posted by mazola at 9:17 PM on December 18, 2008


More.
posted by mazola at 9:26 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by saslett at 9:49 PM on December 18, 2008


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posted by davelog at 10:47 PM on December 18, 2008


@->->->
posted by Cranberry at 11:59 PM on December 18, 2008


Jeebus -- how did I only just now learn that she played Nurse Chapel?

Shhh. We don't want NBC to find out!
Can I admit that Lwaxana grated on me? Yes, I know, that was the character's point.

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posted by dhartung at 12:47 AM on December 19, 2008


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posted by Smart Dalek at 3:23 AM on December 19, 2008


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posted by biffa at 3:24 AM on December 19, 2008


Damn. This wasn't the news I wanted to hear this morning. I've just lost a bit of my nerdy childhood-- Majel Barrett was one of the two big celebrity guests at the first Star Trek convention I ever attended, Shore Leave 14 back in the summer of 1993. I was 13 years old, and flush with bar mitzvah cash. Somewhere, buried deep in a box of my possessions, is a program convention with a yellow cover, bearing her autograph as well as Mark Lenard's. Now they're both gone.

To the stars, Majel. Gene, Jimmy, Mark and Dee will be happy to see you again.

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I also thought I should mention that my wife and I just acquired a GPS unit, and with careful thought and deliberation, we selected the voice that sounds most like Majel Barrett.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:01 AM on December 19, 2008


Computer, end program.

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posted by DreamerFi at 5:29 AM on December 19, 2008


In my dreams, computers always sound like her.

Her scenery chewing as Lwaxana added entire dimensions to my favourite parts of the Trek franchise. She was like Mrs. Pollifax combined with Maude and RuPaul by way of Grace Jones.
posted by QIbHom at 6:04 AM on December 19, 2008


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posted by Halloween Jack at 6:56 AM on December 19, 2008


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posted by kjh at 8:22 AM on December 19, 2008


Oh wow..that is so sad. I love star trek. RIP Luxanna Troi...
posted by dominica at 9:18 AM on December 19, 2008


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posted by Deathalicious at 9:22 AM on December 19, 2008


:`(

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posted by Industrial PhD at 11:11 AM on December 19, 2008


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posted by Snyder at 1:25 PM on December 19, 2008


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posted by theora55 at 1:37 PM on December 19, 2008


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posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:12 PM on December 19, 2008


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posted by betafilter at 4:37 PM on December 19, 2008


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posted by Jacqueline at 9:33 PM on December 19, 2008


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posted by omnidrew at 9:49 PM on December 19, 2008


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posted by grouse at 11:12 PM on December 19, 2008


she's dead, Jim.


...ok so, i stole that quip from a friend.
it did make me smile. a misty-eyed smile.
posted by lapolla at 1:10 AM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm deep in Trelawny, Jamaica right now but just copper a signal on my jailbroke iPhone to check for important news.

This counts.

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posted by humannaire at 11:46 AM on December 20, 2008


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posted by Hadroed at 1:30 PM on December 22, 2008


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