By: Kassidy Fraser’22
On Monday December 2, screenwriter and PV alumna Dorothy Catherine “DC” Fontana passed away at age 80. The incredibly successful writer was most known as a pioneer for women in entertainment, especially in the science fiction genre.
Fontana was raised in Totowa and graduated from Passaic Valley in 1957. Just three years after graduating, she joined the Writers Guild of America.
Fontana faced several struggles as a female writer during the time period. She used her initials “DC” so people could not identify her gender, considering the male dominated industry’s prejudices.
Fontana became the first female on the Star Trek writing staff. Fontana quickly became known for her work fleshing out the famous Spock character and his Vulcan background. She wrote several famous episodes for Star Trek: The Original Series including 1963’s “Journey to Babel”, worked as a writer and associate producer of Star Trek: The Animated Series, and co-wrote the pilot that launched Stark Trek: The Next Generation with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Though she is most remembered for her Star Trek work, Fontana’s career includes over 50 writing credits for several of television’s most famous and influential programs.
Fontana not only revolutionized Star Trek, but the industry itself. Fontana received several notable nominations, such as the Writers’ Guild of America Award for Television: Episodic Drama in 1970 and the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1988.
Passaic Valley had the pleasure of welcoming Fontana back as a guest speaker for media and theater classes. She spoke of how she became such a successful woman and the people that helped her along the way.
“It was pretty special to have someone like her, a PV alum, come back and take the time to talk to all of the media students about the industry,” said Billy Pinckney ’20. “She had a great career in the field and it was a pleasure to listen to her talk about her experiences.”
In addition to her incredible story, Fontana made an impact with her personality as well. “She was just such a lovely person, so accomplished yet so humble,” said Teacher of Broadcasting Mrs. Stephanie Roberts.
Fontana will be missed by all and her accomplishments will never be forgotten. Passaic Valley is proud to have had her as a student and alumna.