‘Star Trek’ writer D.C. Fontana, who fought to find work in male-dominated Hollywood, dies

The Enterprise in the "Star Trek" episode "Plato's Stepchildren" in 1968.
(CBS Photo Archive)

D.C. Fontana, who overcame Hollywood’s sexism to become a writer and story editor for the original “Star Trek” television series and later a contributor to “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” has died after a brief illness.

Fontana died Tuesday, said family friend Fran Evans. She was 80.

Dorothy Catherine Fontana, who used the initials D.C. after struggling to find work in a male-dominated industry, had befriended “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry and rose from secretary to story editor for the 1960s show.

Her credits included such episodes as “Journey to Babel” and “Friday’s Child,” and Leonard Nimoy would praise her for broadening the back story of Mr. Spock’s Vulcan culture. William Shatner, who starred as Capt. James T. Kirk, tweeted that Fontana was a “pioneer” and added that “her work will continue to influence for generations to come.”

A native of Sussex, N.J., Fontana worked on a wide range of other TV shows including “Bonanza,” “Dallas” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” as well as the webseries “Star Trek: New Voyages.” She also wrote the “Star Trek” novel “Vulcan’s Glory,” about Spock’s first mission on the Enterprise.

Later in life, she was a senior lecturer at the American Film Institute and served as a Writers Guild of America board member.


Fontana is survived by her husband, cinematographer Dennis Skotak.