D.C. Fontana, 1939-2019 🖖
December 5, 2019 9:49 AM   Subscribe

Dorothy "D.C." Fontana, most famous as a writer for The Original Series, has died. Starting as a writer in an era when it was typical for women to use initials to hide their gender, she became a story editor on The Original Series, wrote several classic episodes, and helped shape many more. She then went on to write for many other shows, including 3 Star Trek spinoffs. She also taught and mentored aspiring screenwriters, and served on the Writers Guild of America's Board of Directors. A true trailblazer.
posted by Automocar (65 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
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I rewatched the original series with a friend a few years back, and it was amazing how consistently true it was that if a episode had a notably well done female character, that DC Fontana would be in the credits either as a writer or a story editor.
posted by tavella at 9:53 AM on December 5, 2019 [14 favorites]


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posted by Splunge at 10:20 AM on December 5, 2019


Thanks for the godlike spoiled brats, space hippies, and LCARS.

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posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:21 AM on December 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


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posted by jim in austin at 10:23 AM on December 5, 2019


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posted by JamesD at 10:30 AM on December 5, 2019


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posted by /\/\/\/ at 10:30 AM on December 5, 2019


Who will now describe our futures?
posted by Freedomboy at 10:39 AM on December 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


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To her and to Lucille Ball.
posted by SoberHighland at 10:42 AM on December 5, 2019 [6 favorites]


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posted by eckeric at 11:00 AM on December 5, 2019


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posted by hanov3r at 11:04 AM on December 5, 2019


what a great writer.

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posted by valkane at 11:05 AM on December 5, 2019


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posted by ZeusHumms at 11:13 AM on December 5, 2019


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I think hers was the first TV writer's name I recognized, and I will miss her.
posted by kalimac at 11:15 AM on December 5, 2019 [6 favorites]


Many of Star Trek's most dedicated fans did not know that D.C. Fontana was a woman until many years after the series first aired.

And neither did I, until just now. Delighted to learn this, sad I did not know sooner.
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:19 AM on December 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


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posted by ottereroticist at 11:19 AM on December 5, 2019


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posted by oozy rat in a sanitary zoo at 11:30 AM on December 5, 2019


For the less Trek-familiar, this story gives a nice rundown of some of her best episodes.

I remembered "Yesteryear" from the animated series -- loved that one as a kid and still do -- but had forgotten she created that *female* Romulan commander. And Q, basically. Wow.

I remember reading David Gerrold's book on the making of Star Trek, and him saying that the best episodes carried the D.C. Fontana name. Truth.

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posted by martin q blank at 11:30 AM on December 5, 2019 [13 favorites]


I wanted to let the thread chug away for a bit before I added this tidbit, which I love:

D.C. Fontana helped shut down an original design concept for a three-breasted Deanna Troi during the early days of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." #StarTrek (tweet with interview video)
posted by Automocar at 11:35 AM on December 5, 2019 [10 favorites]


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I recently re-watched the whole series and found myself going "Oo! THAT one was good! Who wrote it??" Nine times out of ten, it was D.C. Fontana. Including one of the only good Season 3 episodes THE ENTERPRISE INDECENT.
posted by UltraMorgnus at 11:38 AM on December 5, 2019 [5 favorites]


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posted by Archer25 at 11:39 AM on December 5, 2019


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posted by suelac at 11:43 AM on December 5, 2019


I used to wonder why that one writer used initials and not a first name.

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posted by tommasz at 12:02 PM on December 5, 2019


Heading out to Eden
No more trouble in my body or my mind
Gonna live like a king on whatever I find
Eat all the fruit and throw away the rind

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posted by kyrademon at 12:06 PM on December 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


They weren't her best work but her Babylon 5 episodes from the first season of that show are some of the better episodes of that season.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:10 PM on December 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


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posted by Joey Michaels at 12:34 PM on December 5, 2019


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posted by Ber at 12:35 PM on December 5, 2019


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posted by Kikujiro's Summer at 12:40 PM on December 5, 2019


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Any enemy of Harlan Ellison is a friend of mine.
posted by octothorpe at 12:46 PM on December 5, 2019 [6 favorites]


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posted by Ignorantsavage at 12:47 PM on December 5, 2019


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posted by riverlife at 1:02 PM on December 5, 2019


One of my personal heroes and a true talent. A life well lived.
posted by vibrotronica at 1:19 PM on December 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


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posted by radwolf76 at 1:21 PM on December 5, 2019


THE ENTERPRISE INDECENT.

The link goes to "The Enterprise Incident". Should I search for The Enterprise Indecent on FanFiction.net?
posted by amtho at 1:42 PM on December 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


The link goes to "The Enterprise Incident". Should I search for The Enterprise Indecent on FanFiction.net?

Nah, ever since 2012, you'd need to go to Archive of our Own for anything indecent.
posted by tzikeh at 2:17 PM on December 5, 2019 [4 favorites]


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posted by XMLicious at 2:24 PM on December 5, 2019


She was so great.
posted by jb at 2:57 PM on December 5, 2019


I guess Losira finally got to her after all these years. "I am for you, Dorothy...Plese let me touch you."

One of the finest tv writers ever, gender qualifer never needed.

Live long and prosper DCF.

^.^ <- Vulcan dot
posted by zaixfeep at 3:09 PM on December 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


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posted by kinnakeet at 5:33 PM on December 5, 2019


I was hopeful, wondering if I'd missed seeing The Enterprise Indecent all these years--a wonder like finding a Sherlock Holmes story I'd never read. She was a great screenwriter, and I bet she could have written it and knocked it out of the park.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 5:37 PM on December 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


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posted by bryon at 10:06 PM on December 5, 2019


Hanging in our main hallcloseup of credits at bottom.

Separately, TOS influenced me and the mister. I stopped dreaming of being hairdresser and instead thought astronaut . . . RIP.
posted by lemon_icing at 12:15 AM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


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posted by Devonian at 3:53 AM on December 6, 2019 [8 favorites]


Many of Star Trek's most dedicated fans did not know that D.C. Fontana was a woman until many years after the series first aired.

And neither did I, until just now. Delighted to learn this, sad I did not know sooner.


Like A.C. Crispin before her, this was definitely one of those "oh look at how I'm sexist in ways I didn't realize" things I was fortunate enough to learn in my youth that helped me become a better person without realizing it was happening at the time.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:43 AM on December 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


I thought I remembered that Kira's counterpart on the Deep Space Nine episode "Far Beyond the Stars" (science fiction writer K.C. Hunter) used initials and wondered if that might be a nod to D.C. Fontana, and sure enough, Memory Alpha confirms:
According to an interview in Star Trek Monthly issue 40, the Incredible Tales staffers were based on various real-life genre authors. ... [Kira's counterpart] Kay Eaton, who wrote under the name "K.C. Hunter" to hide her gender, was a version of Catherine Moore, who similarly wrote under the name "C.L. Moore", as well as Star Trek's own D.C. Fontana, who wrote for Star Trek: The Original Series.
(And here's the Memory Alpha page about D.C. Fontana.)

Thank you for posting this, Automocar. She did some very fine work, and the world is a better place because of her creations.
posted by kristi at 11:51 AM on December 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


Thank you, D.C. Fontana, for forging new paths through the stars; for giving us “Journey to Babel,” “Friday’s Child,” “The Enterprise Incident,” “This Side of Paradise,” “Tomorrow is Yesterday” and many other indelible stories and characters; for making opportunities for other female writers of sci-fi; for expanding and carrying on Trek’s legacy. You will be missed. This one hurts the heart, even if it's not where a Vulcan's should be.
posted by ilana at 2:04 PM on December 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


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posted by allthinky at 2:59 PM on December 6, 2019




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