July 14 2024

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Harve Bennett Passes

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Producer Harve Bennett has died at the age of eighty-four.

Bennett was the producer on four Star Trek films; Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and Star Trek VI: The Final Frontier.

Born in Chicago, Bennett began his career early, appearing on The Quiz Kids radio program in 1941. He appeared on The Quiz Kids more than two hundred times.

In his teens, Bennett wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times, and then went to college, graduating from UCLA with a degree in theater.

Bennett became a production executive at CBS in New York City, and also worked at ABC. He helped create or produce such television classics as The Mod Squad, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, Rich Man Poor Man, as well as Gemini Man, and Time Trax.

Fans will remember that Bennett was executive producer on A Woman Called Golda, which also featured Leonard Nimoy.

After Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Bennett was the one who convinced a reluctant Nimoy to return for the second Star Trek movie. “Everyone said, ‘How are you going to get Leonard to do another one?'” he said in a 2006 interview. “I had an idea. I went to see Leonard who was then in a play and we had dinner afterward, and I said to him, ‘I know you don’t want to do any more Star Trek. Leonard, do you remember Psycho? Do you remember that the biggest star in that picture was killed, to everyone’s shock, one-third of the way into the picture?’ He said yes, and I said, ‘I want to do that with Spock. I will give you the most glorious death scene ever played.’ He said that was a great idea, and he was on.”

Bennett was the one who “plucked out Khan,” said Nicholas Meyer, for the next Star Trek movie after watching the seventy-nine original series episodes. “The fact that actor Ricardo Montalban, who originated the role of Khan, was in the spotlight at the time with ABC‘s Fantasy Island also further fueled the return of the character to the Star Trek canon.

“He was a remarkable man and he was unpretentious and self-effacing. I don’t think there would be a Star Trek franchise without him. He rescued it. He’s endangered of being lost in the shuffle, but he’s the guy who figured it out.”

Photos courtesy TrekCore and StarTrek.com.

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19 thoughts on “Harve Bennett Passes

  1. Without Harve Bennett, Trek might very well have come to an end after TMP. It would not have been given a new lease on life in the ’80s. Not only would the Trek film franchise never have happenened; TNG and all 24th Century Trek probably wouldn’t have either.

    This is the man who truly saved Star Trek. He was largely responsible for shaping it into what we know it as today. His death is a loss to fandom as profound as Nimoy’s.

  2. I’ll watch STIII (my most-watched ST) this weekend to honor both Nimoy and Bennett. (Too bad we can’t see the deleted scenes from STIII–I’d love to see “Valkris” taking off her hood, and whatever other scenes were cut from the film.)

  3. Month! Well… 30 days… what with Hurley at the end of Feb. Not good… 🙁

  4. One of Mr. Bennett’s earliest sci-fi credits was as the creator and associate producer of a 1958 tv pilot, “Now is Tomorrow,” starring Robert Culp! This half-hour pilot episode, scripted by Richard Matheson (!) and directed by Irvin Kershner (!) is on YouTube in three chunks (found it quite by surprise last night). Just search YouTube for “Now is Tomorrow” parts 1, 2, and 3. It’s somewhat dry, but reminiscent of other filmed 1950s sci-fi tv shows like Science Fiction Theatre, Men Into Space, etc.

  5. A true loss; of a man who should be remembered as one of the giants of Trek.

  6. Bennett apparently died Feb 25, meaning it was Hurley, Bennett, Nimoy, within days.

  7. Thanks for posting this T’Bonz.

    I never met Harve Bennett, but he had an impact on my childhood. My first real experience with Star Trek was the TOS films. I didn’t really get fully into Trek till TNG, but the original films laid the ground work. Those films would not have been as good as they were without Harve’s leadership. RIP Mr. Bennett, and thanks.

  8. R.I.P. Mr Harve Bennett, and thanks for your galactic-sized contribution to Trek’s history.

    Wish the the producers of the rebooted Trek had learnt from your handling of the franchise instead of stealing from it !!!!!!!!!

  9. Unfortunately, due to the sheer number of hours of TV trek, Harve Bennett’s contribution is too often overlooked. But without Bennett there would have been no Wrath Of Kahn, and without that film and its successful sequels, there probably would have been no further Star Trek on TV. Apart from his ability to bring artists together and foment their creativity, he was a talented writer himself and made fundamentally important contributions to the most successful Star Trek movies starring the original cast. Bennett must always be remembered as one of the great parents and creators of Star Trek, who not only produced movies of power and substance, but paved the way for all future productions.

  10. Totally and enthusiastically agree. As he was apparently the sole scribe of both story and script for STIII: The Search for Spock, I owe him much gratitude for his authorship of that film especially. It is my most-watched DVD and Blu-ray, and most played soundtrack as well.

  11. After Star Trek V, Bennett proposed a Starfleet Academy film as a sequel with only cameos from the original cast. This did not sit well with the cast and Paramount rejected the idea, going instead with the Nimoy/Meyer pitch for Star Trek VI.

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