Dorothy Catherine “D.C” Fontana has died at the age of 80. According to StarTrek.com, Fontana passed peacefully following a short illness on December 2nd.
Fontana is best recognized as a major figure in the early history of ‘Star Trek’. Having initially adopted the gender neutral screen credit “D.C. Fontana” to submit scripts for the earlier Roddenberry series ‘The Lieutenant’, she was among the first writers recruited for the original ‘Star Trek’. Over the course of its three season run, she would turn in several classic stories and contribute to several more, particularly during the second season, for which she served as story editor. In the early seventies, she resumed the role of story editor for ‘Star Trek: The Animated Series‘, for which she also served as an associate producer. She would later contribute scripts to the inaugural seasons of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ and ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’.
Her most important contribution to ‘Star Trek’, though, may well be Spock. No, she didn’t create the character, but it was the episodes she wrote – including classics like ‘This Side of Paradise’, ‘Journey to Babel‘, and the animated installment ‘Yesteryear‘ – that arguably did the most to establish the character and his unique pathos.
Outside of ‘Star Trek’, Fontana contributed to a litany of classic television series, including ‘Bonanza’, ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’, ‘Kung Fu’, ‘The Waltons’, and ‘Babylon 5’. In later years, she served on the board of the Writers Guild of America and worked as a lecturer at the American Film Institute.
Fontana is survived by her husband, the Oscar-winning visual effects artist Dennis Skotak. Her family asks that memorial donations be made to the Humane Society, the Best Friends Animal Society, or the American Film Institute.