It’s a sad time in the Final Frontier, as legendary Star Trek writer Dorothy “D.C.” Fontana has passed away.
Fontana died on Monday, Dec. 2 at the age of 80. Beginning her career as a television writer in the 1960s when few women were welcome in the profession, Fontana used the gender-neutral moniker “D.C.” so as to avoid any sexism related to her being female. Her long association with Star Trek began while working as creator Gene Roddenberry’s secretary before going on to pen 11 episodes of the Original Series, including the all-time classic episode “Journey to Babel,” which introduced Spock’s parents. But Fontana’s journey with Star Trek didn’t end with the Original Series. She also wrote an episode each of the 1970s Animated Series and Deep Space Nine, wrote on a number of Star Trek videogames, penned the novel Vulcan’s Glory, and wrote five episodes of The Next Generation; including the series pilot, which she co-wrote with Roddenberry. Fontana’s sci-fi TV writing wasn’t just confined to Star Trek, either. Over her decades-spanning career, the prolific writer also scripted episodes for the likes of Babylon 5, Logan’s Run, Buck Rogers and the 25th Century, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Land of the Lost, The Six Million Dollar Man, Earth: Final Conflict, Reboot, and more.
Fontana’s death has led to an outpouring of sadness from the Star Trek community, including TOS star William Shatner, who tweeted, “She was a pioneer. Her work will continue to influence … generations to come,” and TNG star Jonathan Frakes, who referenced the TNS pilot in his own tweet: “R.I.P. #DCFontana thanks for #EncounterAtFarpoint. It changed my trajectory.”
Dorothy Fontana’s impact on the sci-fi television industry was immense, and her presence will be missed greatly.