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Herbert F. Solow (1930–2020), TV exec who launched “Star Trek” & “Mission: Impossible”

by Linnea Crowther

Herbert F. Solow was a TV executive with Desilu Studios and MGM who helped develop classic shows including “Star Trek,” “Mission: Impossible,” and “Mannix.”

Making TV history

Solow began his career in entertainment working in the mail room at the William Morris Agency, rising through the ranks until he made it to the executive suite when he was hired as vice president of production by Desilu Studios in 1964. There, he signed Gene Roddenberry and began working closely with him to perfect his vision for “Star Trek.” Solow suggested changes to Spock, removing Roddenberry’s concept of the Vulcan as a red-skinned villain. He named characters, and he created the “captain’s log” framing device. While at Desilu, Solow also developed the hit series “Mission: Impossible” and “Mannix.” He moved on to MGM, where he developed shows including “Medical Center” and “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.” Solow co-wrote the book “Inside Star Trek: The Real Story.”

Solow on the importance of “Star Trek”

“[‘Star Trek’] has helped a lot of people. There’s a balance to it. Many of the astronauts … are astronauts because of ‘Star Trek.’ People have gone into science because of ‘Star Trek.’ People have changed their lives and live a better life because of ‘Star Trek.’” —from a 2008 interview with the Television Academy Foundation

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Tributes to Herbert F. Solow

Full obituary: The Hollywood Reporter

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