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D.C. Fontana

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
D.C. Fontana
D.C. Fontana
Birth name: Dorothy Catherine Fontana
Gender: Female
Date of birth: 25 March 1939
Place of birth: Sussex, New Jersey
Awards for Trek: 1 Hugo Award nomination
Roles: Story Editor, Writer, Producer, Production Staff, Star Trek Author

Template:Disambiguate Dorothy Catherine Fontana (born 25 March 1939; age 75) is a writer and script editor who has the distinction of being one of the few people to have worked on Star Trek: The Original Series, as well as Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Deep Space Nine is her favorite Star Trek spinoff. She especially liked the show's strong characters. When writing, Fontana has used pseudonyms, including Michael Richards and J. Michael Bingham.

Fontana worked as a writer for a few television series before Star Trek, then briefly worked as Gene Roddenberry's secretary, before she became a writer on the show. The first episode she penned was "Charlie X", based on a premise by Roddenberry entitled "The Day Charlie Became God". Fontana wrote several notable Original Series episodes, including "Tomorrow is Yesterday" and "Journey to Babel". Also, after the departure of Steven W. Carabatsos, she was promoted to story editor (after successfully re-writing "This Side of Paradise"). At the age of 27, Fontana became the youngest story editor in Hollywood at the time, and also one of the few female staff writers. (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, introduction) She remained in this capacity until the end of the second season.

She left the story editor position before the third season went into production: "I had told Gene Roddenberry that I did not wish to continue on Star Trek as story editor because I wanted to freelance and write for other series. I did, however, want to continue to do scripts for Star Trek. Gene was agreeable to this, and I was given a contract in February of 1968 which called for a guarantee of three scripts, with an option for three more. Whenever anyone has asked why I chose to leave Star Trek's story editorship, I have always given this reply." [1]

However, Fontana was very unhappy with the rewrites done on her third season scripts, including "The Enterprise Incident" and "The Way to Eden" (originally submitted as "Joanna" by Fontana, featuring Doctor McCoy's daughter). [2]

Fontana's other noticeable contribution to The Original Series was her discovery and introduction to Gene Roddenberry of costume designer William Ware Theiss. [3]

Four years after the end of the Original Series, she became the associate producer and story editor of Star Trek: The Animated Series, for which she also wrote the episode "Yesteryear".

She later co-wrote the Next Generation's "Encounter at Farpoint", earning a Hugo Award nomination, where she invented the "LCARS" concept, and four other episodes of TNG's first season beside being credited as Associate Producer on thirteen episodes of the first season. She also penned DS9: "Dax", her last involvement with Star Trek, in which a great deal of Jadzia Dax' backstory was fleshed out.

In the DS9 episode "Far Beyond the Stars", the character Kay Eaton, who had to pose as a male to get her science fiction stories published, was an homage to Fontana.

In 2006, she gave an interview to Star Trek Monthly in which she talked about writing for three Star Trek series. She notes how unhappy she was with the way Gene Roddenberry re-wrote the episodes they wrote together. She used the pseudonym "J. Michael Bingham" for "The Naked Now", as she was especially unhappy with the episode. She liked writing "Dax" much more.

Outside of Trek, Fontana wrote scripts for dozens of shows, including Babylon 5 and Earth: Final Conflict. In a 1974 episode scripted for The Six Million Dollar Man, "The Rescue of Athena One", Fontana pays homage to Star Trek by having Lee Majors' character of Colonel Steve Austin speak the line "Space... it really is the final frontier, isn't it?"

Fontana wrote the stories of the video games Star Trek: Secret of Vulcan Fury (unreleased), Star Trek: Bridge Commander, Star Trek: Legacy and Star Trek: Tactical Assault all with Derek Chester, and an episode of the fan production Star Trek: New Voyages, the episode "To Serve All My Days" in 2006, on which she worked alongside Jack Treviño and Ethan H. Calk.

Writing credits

Hugo Award nomination

Bibliography

Outside Star Trek

  • The Questor Tapes (1974)

Star Trek interviews

External links

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