Majel Barrett Roddenberry has died of leukemia at the age of 76.
It's hard to think of another actor who had a more profound, long-term effect on the Star Trek Universe. In the original pilot for the show, she played the first officer, the unnamed "Number One." In the original series that aired, she was relegated to the position of Nurse to Doctor James McCoy--Star Trek: TOS was revolutionary in a lot of ways, but putting women in positions of command and dressing them in something other than mini skirts wasn't one of them.
But Barrett-Roddenberry made a comeback of sorts in the Next Generation and other spinoff series, playing the character of Lwaxana Troi, a brash, loud ruler and dignitary who was unafraid of her sexuality. I think she's one of the more interesting characters in the Star Trek universe.
Oh yeah, and she was the voice of the Starfleet computer systems as well. Hard to get more ubiquitous than that.
Apparently, she reprised her role as the voice in the upcoming "reboot" of the Star Trek franchise. I can't say I'm excited about the movie, but I'm glad that the makers at least paid that sort of tribute to the universe that currently exists even while glamming it beyond all recognition.