R.I.P. D.C. Fontana, influential writer for Star Trek and the mind behind Vulcan culture
The hall of fame screenwriter was 80 years old.
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Perhaps what the Trek fandom owes most to her, aside from award-winning writing, is the expansion of much of Vulcan culture. Fontana wrote the episode "Journey to Babel", which introduces the characters of Sarek and Amanda Greyson, Spock's parents. It also brings us the first appearance of the Andorians and the Tellarites. Leonard Nimoy himself gave Fontana credit for expanding the Vulcan culture, and also praised her for writing fully-developed female characters.
That wasn't the only great episode that Fontana gave us. She also wrote for "This Side of Paradise", "Charlie X", "Tomorrow is Yesterday", and more. When "This Side of Paradise" was first pitched, the romantic lead was meant to be Sulu, but Fontana changed it to Spock. Nimoy said that he wasn't sure about playing Spock in a romantic storyline at first, but came to enjoy it. And now the episode is counted among the best of all Star Trek episodes.
The episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series that Fontana wrote, "Yesteryear," was nominated for a Daytime Emmy award, and is considered one of the essential episodes of the series.
Star Trek wasn't Fontana's only work. She wrote for many TV Westerns, including Bonanza, The High Chaparral, and Lancer. Outside of the genre, she wrote for shows like He-Man and The Masters of the Universe and Logan's Run.
For her accomplishments, she was inducted into the American Screenwriter's Association hall of fame twice, in 1997 and 2002.
Fontana was 80 years old.