Yeppers, kids, we said it. Dorothy Fontana is first and foremost a dear, dear friend to our Beloved Leader LB.
Secondly, she was the Story Editor of a little series now called Star Trek: The Original Series.
Thirdly, she also just happens to be one of the biggest influences on Senor Brody’s life and work. So, without meaning to denigrate any other of the writers on this most important show, she’ll always be #1 with TVWriter™.
With that taken care of, here’s some cool stuff y’all need to know:
Dorothy (D.C.) Fontana wrote her way into ‘Star Trek’ lore
by Nick Thomas
In the Star Trek universe, D.C. Fontana is legendary for her role as a scriptwriter. She contributed, at least in part, to almost half the original series’ scripts and went on to write in various capacities for the Star Trek animated series, as well as The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. She even contributed to the recent fan-created online production of “Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II.”
While the vast majority of her work involved television (including other shows such as “Babylon 5,” “Dallas,” “The Waltons,” “Logan’s Run,” and dozens more), she has penned novels and is currently turning her attention to films.
“I’ve got 5 or 6 scripts out for consideration with themes such as science fiction, fantasy, and historical romance, as well as a contemporary murder-mystery horror story,” said Fontana from Los Angeles.
Young Dorothy’s writing journey began in 5th grade, composing horror adventure tales featuring her classmates as characters.
“I’d write stories out on yellow notepads and pass them around to my friends. So I always wanted to write and hoped to become a novelist.”
That all changed after graduating from New Jersey’s Fairleigh Dickinson University when she became a secretary for the head of Screen Gems in New York.
“At the time, it was the television arm of Columbia Pictures, and scripts for various TV shows would come across my desk. I remember thinking, ‘Gee, I could write those!’ In 1959, I moved to Los Angeles which was the place to be for TV productions and worked in the typing pool at Revue Studios (later to become Universal Television).”
She was encouraged by the studio’s writer/producer Samuel A. Peeples.
“He knew I wanted to write and said if I came to him with a good story, he would buy it. In June 1960, I sold my first story for the TV western ‘The Tall Man.’ I was 21-years-old and have been writing ever since.”
“Leonard Nimoy was a guest star,” she recalled. “He was such a fine man and became a good friend. Leonard, William Shatner, and I all have a cluster of March birthdays, just a few days apart and we got along well.”
Nimoy would find immortality as Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, and Fontana emphasizes he was the only actor creator Gene Roddenberry ever considered for the role. Despite claims to the contrary by others, it’s a piece of TV history Fontana says she knows firsthand, having worked briefly as Roddenberry’s secretary during his pre-Star Trek days.
“In 1964, Gene was working on his (short-lived) series, ‘The Lieutenant,’ and asked me to read a 15-page draft of a story that would become Star Trek. I read it overnight and told him it was really, really good and asked who would play the Spock character. He nudged a photo of Leonard across the desk to me. I’ve heard stories all my life that others were considered or auditioned for the role, but it was always only Leonard. Never anybody else! It really fractured me when I heard Leonard died in 2015, a month before his birthday….”