Robert Justman Passes AwayBy T'Bonz
June 1, 2008 - 7:37 PM
Robert H. Justman passed away Wednesday of complications from Parkinson's disease.
As reported by The Los Angeles Times, Justman died at his home in Los Angeles.
Justman's death follows that of director Joseph Pevney and composer Alexander Courage, who also worked on the original series. "There seems to be a big 'Star Trek' convention and everyone is going," said Jonathan Justman, son of Robert.
Born July 13, 1926 in New York City, Justman attended the University of California in Los Angeles after a stint in the Navy during World War II. He began his career in film and television production after college, serving as a production assistant in the early 1950s. He moved on to become a television producer and an assistant director, working on movies and television shows such as Mutiny on the Bounty, Lassie, One Step Beyond, The Outer Limits and The Adventures of Superman.
Justman began work in 1964 as an associate producer/director for Star Trek: The Cage and then for Star Trek: Where No Man Has Gone Before. Once Star Trek was greenlit as a series, he became an associate producer for the series, sharing the role with John D.F. Black. Justman took care of hiring and firing of production staff and duties such as set dressing, props, and budget.
Partway through the third season of the original series, he resigned due to the decline in quality of the scripts and due to a lack of support of Star Trek from NBC, which had cut Star Trek's budget.
After Star Trek, Justman worked as an associate producer on Mission: Impossible, Then Came Bronson and Man from Atlantis as well as other short-lived series. He worked again with Gene Roddenberry on a pilot for Planet Earth, but the show was not bought as a series.
With Star Trek: The Next Generation, Justman returned as supervising producer during the first season. He was responsible for the casting of Patrick Stewart. "Roddenberry was very against the idea of a bald British actor playing the next Captain Kirk," said Rick Berman, who was executive producer on The Next Generation. At the end of the first season, Justman retired, closing a forty year long career.
"I can't tell you how nurturing this guy was to me," said Berman. "He was like a mentor and a father. He was extraordinary." Leonard Nimoy, in a message to fans at Trekmovie.com, said "In quick succession we have lost Joe Pevney who was one of the best directors of Star Trek episodes along with Marc Daniels who passed some time ago. Both brought a rich theatricality to the work which made their episodes shine. We have also lost Bob Justman who was a treasure to me. He would listen wisely, with an honest ear, and respond helpfully whenever there were creative differences of opinion. Also Alexander Courage who wrote the, now, unforgettable original theme music. All made major contributions for which we can all be thankful.
Justman is survived by his wife of fifty-one years, Jacqueline Justman, two sons (Jonathan and William), a daughter Jennifer, and five grandchildren.