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Old 12-03-2019, 04:16 PM
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D.C. Fontana, RIP


Dorothy (D.C.) Fontana, one of the best writers for the original Star Trek series, has died at the age of 80. Here is one of several obituaries I found, from Variety.

She was the first woman to write for Trek, and, as I said, one of the best they had. She wrote "Journey to Babel," which introduced Spock's parents, as well as several more episodes, and also served as story editor for a time. Outside of Trek, she also wrote for Bonanza, The Streets of San Francisco, and The Six Million Dollar Man, among many others.

She was a fine writer, and will be missed.
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Old 12-03-2019, 04:28 PM
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Indeed. It's appropriate that MrAtoz has beaten me in posting this.
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Old 12-03-2019, 04:32 PM
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RIP, Dorothy. IMHO, you had more to do in shaping Star Trek than anyone but Gene.

Last edited by KneadToKnow; 12-03-2019 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 12-03-2019, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by MrAtoz View Post
Here is one of several obituaries I found, from Variety.
Geez, you'd think for an obituary they would have used a photo of the deceased.

Here's one from The Hollywood Reporter.
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Old 12-03-2019, 05:07 PM
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Add me to the list as one who is a bit sadder today.

She gave me pleasure as a child that has continued to this day.

Rest in Peace Ma'am.
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Old 12-03-2019, 05:14 PM
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Old 12-03-2019, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MrAtoz View Post
Dorothy (D.C.) Fontana, one of the best writers for the original Star Trek series, has died at the age of 80. Here is one of several obituaries I found, from Variety.

She was the first woman to write for Trek, and, as I said, one of the best they had. She wrote "Journey to Babel," which introduced Spock's parents, as well as several more episodes, and also served as story editor for a time. Outside of Trek, she also wrote for Bonanza, The Streets of San Francisco, and The Six Million Dollar Man, among many others.

She was a fine writer, and will be missed.
She also wrote the animated episode Yesteryear, which saw the return of the Guardian of Forever and Mark Lenard as Sarek and which also established Spock's home city as Shi'Kahr and showed Spock's pet sehlat.
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Old 12-03-2019, 05:37 PM
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Did she go by DC at first so people would not know she was a woman?

That was the reason Harry Potter books were by JK Rowling - publisher felt boys would be reluctant to read that type of book written by a woman.
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Old 12-03-2019, 05:44 PM
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Did she go by DC at first so people would not know she was a woman?
That is my understanding, and I believe that it was not uncommon at all in screenwriting (or some genres of fiction) at that time.

RIP, Dorothy. She was tremendously important in shaping what Star Trek became.
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:30 PM
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Star Trek wouldn't be Star Trek without D.C. Fontana.

RIP
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:37 PM
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Other Trek episodes that she wrote or helped write, that I enjoyed:

She did the teleplay for "The Ultimate Computer" from TOS, and helped Gene Roddenberry write the TNG premiere episode, "Encounter at Farpoint". She also did "Heart of Glory", a good early Worf episode, with two other people, and co-wrote the teleplay for DS9's "Dax", which laid the groundwork for a lot of important questions about the character.
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:47 PM
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RIP, DC.

Interesting fact: some of her last non-Trek screenwriting credits include episodes of "Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys," "Beast Wars: Transformers," and something called "Make Way for Noddy".

I at least can personally confirm that the Transformers credit was indeed one of the best episodes.
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Old 12-03-2019, 08:01 PM
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RIP, indeed. She wrote some wonderful TOS scripts.

I am just at this very moment about to watch 'This Side of Paradise', one of my favorite Star Trek original series episodes. Where Mr. Spock 'falls in love' with Jill Ireland. <3
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Old 12-03-2019, 08:03 PM
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RIP, indeed - she wrote some wonderful scripts for Star Trek TOS.

I am at this very moment watching my favorite episode - This Side of Paradise - where Mr. Spock 'falls in love' with Jill Ireland.
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:47 PM
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I remember watching reruns of Star Trek in the late 70's. It came on after the news at 10:30. I saw DC Fontana in the credits and never knew it was a female writer.

IIRC she started as Gene's secretary/assistant? Then started contributing to scripts. She eventually began writing new scripts. DC had quite a remarkable career.

She'll be missed at the fan cons.

RIP

Last edited by aceplace57; 12-03-2019 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:32 PM
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Rip.
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Last edited by terentii; 12-03-2019 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 12-04-2019, 12:31 AM
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IIRC she started as Gene's secretary/assistant? Then started contributing to scripts.
Not precisely. She started out working as a secretary at a couple of studios, and also sold a few scripts, as early as 1960. She eventually wound up working as Roddenberry's assistant when he was doing the series The Lieutenant, in 1963-64, but by that point, she already had a handful of script credits to her name.

When Roddenberry learned of her interest in writing, he encouraged her to pursue it. By the time Star Trek premiered in '66, Roddenberry named Fontana the series' story editor, as well as one of its writers.
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Old 12-04-2019, 01:53 AM
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She's dead, Jim.

I wonder if she ever penned that line? In any case, one of the best writers Star Trek was ever blessed with. I hope they send her remains to the Genesis planet. They can't afford to lose someone of her caliber.
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Old 12-04-2019, 05:15 AM
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Some reports are saying she wrote "The Way to Eden," which she most emphatically did not. The original story was called "Joanna," and was supposed to be about Dr McCoy's grown daughter coming aboard the Enterprise and (of course) getting involved with Captain Kirk. However, the third season producer didn't think McCoy was old enough to have a grown daughter. When the story was rewritten beyond recognition, Joanna's part was given to Chekov's Russian girlfriend and Dorothy washed her hands of the whole matter.

She also wrote the first drafts of "The Enterprise Incident," which was supposed to be a retelling of the USS Pueblo story but was again mangled in rewrites. She went to Leonard Nimoy and apologized when she saw what had been done to the seduction scene with Spock and the Romulan Commander, making it clear that it was not her work.
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Old 12-04-2019, 05:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bijou Drains
Did she go by DC at first so people would not know she was a woman?
That is my understanding, and I believe that it was not uncommon at all in screenwriting (or some genres of fiction) at that time.
This attribute of hers became a plot point in Deep Space Nine. The episode "Far Beyond the Stars" is set in New York in the 1950s, and features a science fiction writer who uses the pen name "K. C. Hunter" in order to hide her gender.
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Old 12-04-2019, 09:24 AM
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Fellow Trek writer David Gerrold posted a lovely tribute to Fontana on Facebook. It's lengthy, but worth the read.
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Old 12-04-2019, 09:47 AM
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Fellow Trek writer David Gerrold posted a lovely tribute to Fontana on Facebook. It's lengthy, but worth the read.
Thanks for that.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:05 AM
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Fellow Trek writer David Gerrold posted a lovely tribute to Fontana on Facebook. It's lengthy, but worth the read.
Great, just great.

He really hit the nail on the head where TOS vs TNG was concerned, though it didn't just start in the '80s. Star Trek began going downhill the day Paramount bought Desilu and brought in their own people. The same thing happened at the independent radio station where I used to work, when it was purchased by a well-known international broadcasting company that shall remain nameless here but is best described by the word "cretins."
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:18 AM
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Deanna was supposed to have six breasts??

Thank the Great Bird of the Galaxy that Dorothy Fontana prevailed.
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Old 12-05-2019, 12:11 AM
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Deanna was supposed to have six breasts??

Thank the Great Bird of the Galaxy that Dorothy Fontana prevailed.
It WAS the Great Bird of the Galaxy's idea--Gene Roddenberry, that is. I swear, from some stuff I've read the man was sex-obsessed. In that one episode on the spa-like hippie planet, where Wesley is condemned to death for not keeping off the grass, he wanted lots more casual nudity among the planet's inhabitants.
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Old 12-05-2019, 01:52 AM
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Fellow Trek writer David Gerrold posted a lovely tribute to Fontana on Facebook. It's lengthy, but worth the read.
That was a good read. Thank you for that.

And to DC Fontana, thank you for your stories. Rest in Peace.
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