Star Trek Writer D.C. Fontana Passes Away at 80

D.C. Fontana, the writer and producer who was one of the architects of the Star Trek universe, died yesterday following an undisclosed illness. She was 80. broke the news about Fontana’s passing. Fontana began her career as a writer of short fiction and Western TV shows. She later found work as a secretary for one of the producers of The Lieutenant, a 1960s  TV series created by Gene Roddenberry. Fontana eventually became Roddenberry’s secretary, and when he began developing Star Trek, he drafted her to write her own teleplays. She was quickly promoted to story editor position, and she is credited with creating several important aspects of Vulcan culture.

Fontana has writing credits on 11 episodes of the original Star Trek series, including “This Side of Paradise,” “Journey to Babel,” and “The Enterprise Incident.” Even after the show ended in 1969, she returned to the Star Trek universe on multiple occasions. She penned episodes of Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

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When she first joined Star Trek, Roddenberry suggested that Fontana be credited as “D.C.” rather than her given name, Dorothy Catherine. Roddenberry believed that Fontana wouldn’t be taken seriously as a writer if it was known that she was a woman. Regardless, Fontana went on to become a trailblazing influence on female writers within the genre. She also worked on a variety of other sci-fi series, including Logan’s Run, Babylon 5, The Six Million Dollar Man, Beast Wars: Transformers, and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Additionally, Fontana lent her talents to classic shows like Bonanza and The Waltons.

Fontana was also recently a senior lecturer at the American Film Institute. There, she mentored a new generation of aspiring screenwriters, producers, and directors.

You can share your favorite memories of D.C. Fontana’s stories in the comment section below.

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Photo Credit: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images
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