When I was a kid I went to a Star Trek convention. This was shortly after The Next Generation had ended but I was in a Star Trek tizzy. I wanted more and DS9 wasn’t doing it for me. The paper had said that the actress who played Deanna Troi was going to be there and being that I was a pubescent boy with the hots for the good counselor I really wanted to go and meet her. Turns out it wasn’t going to be the beautiful and lovely Marina Sirtis but rather Majel Barrett who had played Deanna Troi’s mother Lwaxana Troi.
This didn’t matter to me. At the time I didn’t know a lot about the original Star Trek series so I didn’t know that she played Nurse Chapel and more importantly she was the wife of the creator of Star Trek Gene Rodenberry. Barrett was also the voice of the computer on The Enterprise so I’d actually heard her a lot. But still none of this mattered.
For years I thought that I had gone to a Star Trek convention, met a “who gives a crap” celebrity not realizing that I’d met a woman who would be one of the most important figures in Sci-Fi history. She was there for Gene every night when he’d come up with new ideas. He’d tell her about them. When he died she was the one who fought to get his other work on the air and while it didn’t do as well as Star Trek we’d have never seen those shows without her.
And she played Nurse Chapel… knowing now what a great character that is, how iconic it is and how important to sci-fi it is… well I feel like a bit of a jerk. I know that she saw in my face I was a little disappointed when I met her because frankly I only knew her for this one cameo part on a show I really loved. Now years later I can look back and think that it was a wasted opportunity but also that it was kinda worth it and how many people can say they met the wife of one of the greatest writers in sci-fi history.