Dorothy “D.C.” Fontana has died at age 80.

She, and Gene L. Coon were major formative figures in Star Trek who never got the credit that they deserved:

D.C. Fontana, the famed TV writer best known for Star Trek: The Original Series and who blazed a trail for storytelling and women in science fiction, died Monday after a brief illness. She was 80.

The American Film Institute announced today the news of Fontana’s passing.

Fontana, whose full name was Dorothy Catherine, wrote several episodes of Star Trek (some under the pseudonym Michael Richards) and was most noted for creating Spock’s backstory and expanding Vulcan culture. In the episode “Journey to Babel,” she established the characters of Spock’s father Sarek and mother Amanda. In the “Yesteryear” episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series, for which Fontana served as story editor and associate producer, she created Spock’s childhood history.


She is survived by her husband, Oscar-winning visual effects cinematographer Dennis Skotak. In lieu of flowers, her family asks that donations be made to the Humane Society, Best Friends Animal Society, or the American Film Institute in her memory.

We have lost a giant.

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