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Matt Jefferies

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Walter Matthew "Matt" Jefferies (12 August 192121 July 2003; age 81) was the art director and production designer on all three seasons of Star Trek: The Original Series. He was the brother of fellow Star Trek designers Philip and John Jefferies.

He was the art director and designer in the original series who designed the original Enterprise with its saucer-shaped hull, engineering hull, and two nacelles, as well as the type 1 and type 2 phaser designs seen in the original series, for which he did drawings.

In his honor the crawl spaces on all Starfleet vessels are named Jefferies tubes, a reference used throughout the entire Star Trek franchise. In addition, the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "First Flight" mentioned Captain Jefferies, who was also named in honor of Matt Jefferies.

During World War II Jefferies was a bomber pilot (over Africa and Europe).

For other pilots among Star Trek personnel, see Gene Roddenberry, James Doohan, Franz Bachelin, and Michael Dorn.

After the war he became an illustrator at the Library of Congress, and in the 1950s he was hired as set decorator at Warner Brothers.

In 1964, Gene Roddenberry asked Jefferies to design a starship for his new TV series. The design survived and influenced starship designs in subsequent Trek series. As influential as his starship designs was his bridge design. Apart from these, he designed numerous sets, landscapes, props, and other ships (most notably the Klingon D7-class) for the original series and was highly regarded by producers Roddenberry and Justman.

Jefferies worked as production designer on the two Star Trek pilots, then became both production designer and art director, starting with the first season in 1966. He worked with fellow art director Rolland M. Brooks on the first season and the beginning of the second. After Brooks left the series, Jefferies became the sole art director for Star Trek.

Though mostly remembered for his work on Star Trek, at the time, it was but a small part of his career. Before Star Trek he worked on such productions as The Untouchables, Ben Casey, and Mission: Impossible (from which he was unexpectedly pulled by his then employer, Desilu, only to find himself working on the new show Star Trek), and afterwards on productions such as Little House on the Prairie and Dallas. He particularly enjoyed working for Little House and was not willing to give up his job there when he was sounded out by Roddenberry to come back for the the Star Trek: Phase II project, though he did some preliminary work on the redesign of the Enterprise. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 8, p. 84)

The series of interviews Jefferies has given for the 2000 run of the publication Star Trek: The Magazine were the most elaborate ones, done on his work on Star Trek, and has helped to clear up some of the misconceptions that had evolved over the years on some of his work in Star Trek lore, such as the origins of the Enterprise registry number and the raison d'etre for the D7-class studio model. Jefferies, along with his brother John, sold off virtually all of their Original Series production items, including all the design art featured the year previously in the Star Trek: The Magazine interviews, still in their possession in the Profiles in History The Star Trek Auction of 12 December 2001, in order to raise funds for the charitable organization "Motion Picture & Television Fund".

Both Roddenberry and Jefferies died of congestive heart failure, after a fight with cancer.

Emmy Award Nomination

  • 1969 Emmy Award nomination for TOS Season 3 in the category "Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction and Scenic Design", shared with set decorator John Dwyer.

Star Trek interviews

Further reading

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