Gene Coon Biography

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Panem et circenses, Aug 5, 2016.

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  1. Panem et circenses

    Panem et circenses Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I'm trying to find out more about Gene Coon and his life, but Google and Amazon are failing me in telling me whether there is a biography about him or an autobiography, or memoir from him.

    Does anybody know if these exist? And if not, what are the best books to read to get information about him?
     
  2. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    No memoir, And no biography, at least to date. I would love to read that book someday, though.
     
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  3. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, good idea. That's a gap in the scholarship of Trek history that needs to be filled.
     
  4. mkstewartesq

    mkstewartesq Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Certainly no autobiography. We have to remember that he was still pretty young when he died and wasn't particularly a celebrity – he was just a working writer. It wasn't until much later after his death that he came to be recognized as one of the major formative influences behind the Star Trek we know today. I've even tried to find out some basic information on him such as where he is buried but have not been able to do so so far.

    M
     
  5. Green Shirt

    Green Shirt Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Sounds like a project for Cash Markman. :devil:
    "Ducking rocks being thrown my way" ;)


    I wonder if any of his papers and notes have been saved over the years.
     
  6. Panem et circenses

    Panem et circenses Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    It seems a real shame. He seems such an influence on the development of the series that I'd love to know more about him as a person. Does anyone know if his wife or relatives are still alive? It would be amazing if anything had been saved about him and his life.
     
  7. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The problem is that without diaries or access to relatives, there may not be much of a story to tell.
    American, probably did military service, became a jobbing TV writer, joined Star Trek, did a year of brilliant work before cracking under the strain, possibly because he was leaving his wife after a reunion with his childhood sweetheart. Then died young, of cancer, within a couple of years.
    It's a great subject for a biography, if there's more source material. But without it...
     
  8. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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  9. m.lp.ql.m

    m.lp.ql.m Commander Red Shirt

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    I've been meaning to binge watch some Wagon Train for years now....
     
  10. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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  11. Push The Button

    Push The Button Commodore Commodore

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    Well, there is his Wikipedia entry:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_L._Coon
     
  12. Panem et circenses

    Panem et circenses Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    These University of Wyoming documents look like they would be a treasure trove. Combined with interviews with family I bet you could make a really interesting night and thorough biography.

    I read his Wikipedia entry, but I just wanted more detail on his life and also his general beliefs. Would help figure out what was his influence on particular episodes and maybe separate his impact from Roddenberry's in the scripts. But I guess I will have to wait for someone to dive into those documents and write it...
     
  13. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I'd love to see what's there, but Wyoming isn't exactly driving distance from California. One day, maybe!
     
  14. mkstewartesq

    mkstewartesq Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I get the sense his second wife (the woman he was married to the last few years of his life) is still alive, as I have seen her interviewed in certain places (such as the new "Fifty Year Mission" book - but those could be old interviews.) Goes by the last name Fernandez now, so must have remarried after his death. His first wife died of cancer; it was a heartbreaking story as they split before she got sick and, when he tried to comfort her at the end, she shunned him and died with bad blood between them. Sad story, but goes to show what a compassionate man he was. His second wife was his high-school sweetheart with whom he reconnected as his first marriage (and his time on Trek, I think) was ending.

    As far as what is out there on him, I found the most detailed accountings to be in the Shatner/Kreski book "Star Trek Memories" from the late 1990s, and then, more recently, in the new "Fifty Year Mission" book, which has lots of insight from his secretary Ande, who adored him. I suspect the interviews with Ande are old, as the "cast of characters" list at the beginning of the book is written in a very vague way with respect to her, implying that the authors are not quite sure what her current whereabouts or status are.

    M
     
  15. Push The Button

    Push The Button Commodore Commodore

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    Gerrold mentions her (Ande) in his Tribbles book.
     
  16. mb22

    mb22 Captain Captain

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    For what it's worth, Cushman/'Markman' seems to have interviewed Ande Richardson, who supplied him with a photo of her and Coon together for Volume 2 of his books (adding to small number of photos publicly available).
     
  17. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Sad that he should die like that! Cigarettes are a terrible thing and yet people still smoke 'em! My best mate died at forty two years of age of lung cancer about ten years ago and he aged so fast in the last few weeks of his life!
    JB
     
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  18. UnknownSample

    UnknownSample Commodore Commodore

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    He's the big question mark at the center of Trek, for me. I want to credit him for ST more than Roddenberry, but don't have enough info to justify that. I think of him as the mature voice on ST, making sure it stayed an adult drama. But do I really know anything? No.

    I know he went on to "It Takes a Thief" After Trek, another favorite show. But to leave Trek? He was back for "Questor Tapes", a great TV SF movie. Roddenberry's later pilots without GC certainly show how essential Coon had been. Before Trek, the one project I know about is "The Killers" with Lee Marvin. I was very glad and interested when Gene Coon's name showed up as writer on that.
     
  19. Panem et circenses

    Panem et circenses Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I seem to be getting the same opinion of him. Similar to Bill Finger's role in the Batman mythos, but not as ignored as he was. Elements like the Spock-McCoy relationship, the character humour, and the Prime Directive, I've all seen ascribed to him. But, you're right, without looking really in-depth at his and Roddenberry's papers, it would be hard to separate his contributions from everyone else's.
     
  20. mb22

    mb22 Captain Captain

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    I found his high school photo at Ancestry.com:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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