I had sort of this fanboy dream back when I was first putting pen to paper that if I ever successfully pulled off anything with fiction writing, eventually I might get to be a guest at a science fiction convention in one venue or another.
Then in suitable Martin-Short-as-Ed-Grimley fashion, I thought: "I might get to meet some of the stars of the original Star Trek, don't ya know?"
I liked Star Trek re-runs when I was growing up. I watched in the first round of syndication in 1968, when it was really becoming a fan hit. The show happily stimulated my creative imagination and was one piece in the mosaic of influences that made me want to create my own stories.
Happily my grand design worked out, and I was able to meet some of the TOS actors over the years. Majel Barrett Roddenberry was the first. Some ambitious fans put together a convention in Alexandria, LA, and found their way to my doorstep because they'd heard I had some books out, and I got to be one of the guests.
I met Mrs. Roddenberry when she arrived in town for the event. I don't recall the confluence of events that led to the major coolness. A lot of media stars --i.e. people who were really famous --were on hand for the convention, but somehow or other they were busy. I wound up judging the convention's costume contest beside Ms. Roddenberry.
And saying to myself; "How freakin' cool is this? I'm judging a costume contest with Nurse Chapel and Lwaxana Troi in one."
I thought of the moment, of course, when I opened the Internet Movie Database to check a factoid this week and was hit with the headline that she'd passed away, just as Trek is poised for a pop-culture re-entry in a new form.
The notion that deaths of pop-culture figures come in threes seems to have been confirmed again, with Forry Ackerman, Bettie Page and now Nurse Chapel. It's always seems to happen that way, and it's always sad.