Star Trek writer D.C. Fontana dead at 80

Star Trek writer and story editor D.C. Fontana has died at the age of 80.

William Shatner calls her a 'pioneer'

Writer D.C. Fontana at the Star Trek 50th anniversary celebration in Los Angeles, Sept. 9, 2016. (Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

D.C. Fontana, a writer and story editor for the original Star Trek television series and later a contributor to Star Trek: The Next Generation and other related projects, has died at age 80.

A statement on the Star Trek website said she died Monday after a brief illness.

Dorothy Catherine Fontana, who used the initials D.C. after struggling to find work in a male-dominated industry, had befriended Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and rose from secretary to story editor for the 1960s show.

Her credits included such episodes as Journey to Babel and Friday's Child, and Leonard Nimoy would praise her for broadening the back story of Mr. Spock's Vulcan culture.

William Shatner, who starred as Capt. James T. Kirk, tweeted that Fontana was a "pioneer" and added that "her work will continue to influence for generations to come."

A native of Sussex, New Jersey, Fontana worked on a wide range of other TV shows, including Bonanza and Ben Casey, along with Star Trek: The Next Generation and the web series Star Trek: New Voyages

She also wrote the Star Trek novel Vulcan's Glory, about Spock's first mission on the USS Enterprise.

LISTEN: Writers D.C. Fontana and David Gerrold talk to CBC Radio's q about 50 years of Star Trek. 

Writers Dorothy “D. C.” Fontana and David Gerrold reflect on the show's cultural influence and long-standing success. 16:50