Star Trek writer Dorothy Catherine “D.C.” Fontana, best known for her work on Star Trek: The Original Series has sadly passed away at the age of 80.
Star Trek reports, Fontana “passed away peacefully at age 80 on the evening of December 2nd, following a short illness.”
Fontana wrote many episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Animated Series.
Some of her greatest contributions to Trek lore has to do with Spock’s backstory and the expansion of Vulcan culture.
For example, in Star Trek: The Animated Series’ “Yesteryear” episode, Fontana explores the childhood history of the half-human and half Vulcan.
She also introduced Spock’s father Sarek and his mother Amanda in the The Original Series episode “Journey to Babel.”
This piece of Trek lore helped to establish the contradicting human and Vulcan nature of Spock. A duality we see the character explore throughout his life.
This was highlighted wonderfully in the 2009 Kevlin Timeline Spock as we see the young Vulcan grow into an adult in a society that saw his humanity as a handicap.
D.C. was born on March 25th, 1939 in Sussex, New Jersey. She began writing horror stories in the fifth grade that featured her own classmates.
She would go on to earn an Associate in Arts Degree as an Executive Secretarial major at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Afterward, she would get a job working at Screen Gems as a junior secretary to the President of the studio.
She would then move to Los Angeles and join the typing pool at Revue Studios as the secretary for writer Samuel A. Peeples, while he worked on the western Overland Trail.
After the show’s cancellation, she and Peeples moved on to The Tall Man, where she sold him her first story at age 21 titled “A Bounty for Billy.”
D.C. would continue her work in westerns for some time where she sold six more of her ideas.
Later on, she would meet future Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry after finding a position working on the show The Lieutenant as the secretary of producer Del Reisman.
Fontana would eventually come to work directly for Roddenberry after his secretary took ill. Roddenberry would encourage Fontana’s writing and would bring her to Star Trek after The Lieutenant was cancelled after one season.
She would eventually become the story editor on Star Trek in September 1966. She would leave Star Trek just before the third season, but would continue to contribute on a freelance basis sometimes using the pseudonym Michael Richards.
The last time she wrote for Star Trek was back in 2006 where she penned an episode of Star Trek: New Voyages.
Aside from Star Trek she would also work on Babylon 5, The Waltons, Bonanza, Six Million Dollar Man, Beast Wars: Transformers, and Silver Surfer.
D.C was inducted into the American Screenwriters Association Hall of Fame twice, first in 1997 and then again in 2002.
She is survived by her husband Dennis Skotak.
William Shatner praised Fontana saying, “She was a pioneer. Her work will continue to influence for generations to come.”
😢 She was a pioneer. Her work will continue to influence for generations to come. https://t.co/ajJ05liZM7
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) December 3, 2019
Her family is requesting that memorial donations be made to the Humane Society, Best Friends Animal Society, or the American Film Institute.