RIP DC Fontana

Dorothy Catherine Fontana or DC Fontana was an American television script writer and story editor, best known for her work on the original Star Trek franchise and several Western television series.

After a short period working for¬†Samuel A. Peeples¬†as a secretary, she moved to work for¬†Del Reisman, a producer on¬†The Lieutenant, whose creator was¬†Gene Roddenberry. Though¬†The Lieutenant¬†was soon cancelled, Roddenberry began working on¬†Star Trek, and Fontana was appointed as the series’ story editor but left after the second season to pursue freelance work. She later worked with Roddenberry again on¬†Genesis II¬†and then as story editor and associate producer on¬†Star Trek: The Animated Series. During the 1970s and early 1980s, she worked on¬†Logan’s Run,¬†The Six Million Dollar Man, and¬†Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

Roddenberry hired her to work on¬†Star Trek: The Next Generation, but, while she was given an associate producer credit, the experience soured their relationship and resulted in a claim put to the¬†Writers Guild of America. She later wrote an episode of¬†Star Trek: Deep Space Nine¬†and an episode of the¬†Star Trek fan-made¬†series¬†Star Trek: New Voyages. Leonard Nimoy¬†credited her for expanding¬†Vulcan¬†culture within¬†Star Trek. He was unsure when “This Side of Paradise” was proposed, as Fontana had changed the romantic lead from¬†Hikaru Sulu¬†to¬†Spock but he enjoyed being able to act out emotions with the character, and also praised her work on “Journey to Babel” and “The¬†Enterprise¬†Incident”. Nimoy also felt that unusually among¬†Star Trek‘s¬†writers, Fontana was able to write believable female characters who were fully developed in the screenplay.

She also sold stories to several more science fiction series, including The Six Million Dollar Man, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and Automan, although the latter never became an episode due to the cancellation of the show. Fontana wrote scripts with her brother for The Waltons and under her own name again for The Streets of San Francisco. Fontana married cinematographer Dennis Skotak. She died on December 2, 2019, following a short illness.