On This Day: Gene Roddenberry Shot Into Space


Happy April 21, dear reader! Time to join Movieline on another breezy expedition through the historical arcana and milestones that helped shaped the pop culture you know and love today. It's the second big Star Trek commemoration in as many days as we contemplate its singular creator's even more singular final resting place.

· 1935: The droll, brilliant actor-comic-author Charles Grodin is born in Pittsburgh, Penn. Which raises the question: Will somebody please give this guy a role in a new film for his birthday? The world needs more Grodin. It just does.

· 1951: Anthony Salvatore Iadanza is born to Italian immigrant parents in Brooklyn. After scoring a near-perfect SAT score and winning a wrestling scholarship to the University of Dubuque, he later took up acting and became the man we eventually came to know by the '70s as Tony Danza.

· 1963: Hedwig and Shortbus director John Cameron Mitchell is born in El Paso Texas. He's 47! The guy's looked 17 for, like, ever.

· 1984: The Footloose soundtrack reaches the top of the Billboard 200, ending the 37-week reign of supremacy for Michael Jackson's Thriller.

· 1997: Six years after his death in 1991, a portion of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's ashes are launched into space aboard a Pegasus XL rocket. They joined Timothy Leary's remains as the first shot into orbit. Roddenberry's wife's ashes will join a second round of his own to go into orbit following a planned 2012 launch.