Star Trek: The Original Series’ first pilot was The Cage
When NBC rejected the first pilot for Star Trek: The Original Series, more than a few people lost their jobs. In fact, only Leonard Nimoy retained his position as Mr. Spock, one of the original characters. Though Majel Barrett lost her job as Number One, she later returned in the series playing Nurse Christine Chapel. But one actress’ life changed dramatically because of the loss of her Star Trek career.
Laurel Goodwin played Captain Pike’s Yeoman Colt in “The Cage,” and when the first pilot wasn’t picked up, she told Startrek.com that she assumed she’d come back for the second pilot. But that didn’t happen, and when she learned that she wasn’t going to be returning, she was devastated and not just because of the loss of that job.
Star Trek: The Original Series went on without Laurel Goodwin
Though NBC had requested a second pilot, the studio had retained both Goodwin and Leonard Nimoy. That led to the natural assumption that she’d be returning. While things were being decided, Goodwin held onto the belief that Star Trek would happen and that it would be successful. In doing so, she turned down the pilots for two comedies that went on to be picked up and were highly successful. Then NBC lowered the boom, and she learned she wouldn’t be part of Star Trek anymore.
At the time, Goodwin was going through a divorce, and because of California law, she had to pay half of the salary she earned from “The Cage” to her soon-to-be ex-husband. The former actress admitted that the situation made her tired of the business, and it was “really sort of the straw that broke my back. It really soured me, and I lost my enthusiasm altogether of doing these pilots and such.”
Goodwin’s scenes were aired in “The Menagerie,” which reconnected her to Star Trek fandom, and she has appeared at several conventions throughout the years, having moved on past the pain. She is now the last remaining cast member from “The Cage” and believes Star Trek will outlive us all.