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ElectricWhite ElectricWhite is a Female
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Star Trek writer and Hollywood trailblazer D.C. Fontana has died

Her career included numerous episodes, plus deep explorations of Vulcan society.


Samuel Axon - 12/4/2019, 6:31 PM

Dorothy Fontana—one of the most influential writers in Star Trek's long history, a renowned teacher and mentor of screenwriters, and a trailblazer for women in Hollywood—passed away in her home in Los Angeles this week at the age of 80, according to a press release from the American Film Institute.

Her numerous Star Trek contributions and roles include story editor on The Original Series and writing credits for several key episodes of The Original Series including the introduction of Spock's parents and many explorations of Vulcan culture. She also co-wrote The Next Generation pilot "Encounter at Farpoint" with franchise creator Gene Roddenberry, and she had various writing and story roles for Star Trek video games and several individual The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and [/i]The Animated Series[/i] episodes, such as the DS9 episode "Dax," which established the background of the titular character and her species.

In addition to her work on Star Trek, Fontana wrote episodes of Babylon 5, Bonanza, Dallas, Kung Fu, The Six Million Dollar Man, and many more classic TV series. She was also a member of the board of directors for the Writers Guild of America, and she was most recently employed as a senior lecturer at the American Film Institute, where she taught classes to screenwriters, directors, and producers.

Born in New Jersey, Fontana spent her youth writing novels and short stories before she began working in the TV industry as a secretary. After she began writing teleplays, she went by the name D.C. Fontana to minimize dismissal of her work because of her gender. Many of Star Trek's most dedicated fans did not know that D.C. Fontana was a woman until many years after the series first aired.

As Fontana herself noted in a 2013 interview, there were very few women working in the action/adventure or speculative fiction genres when her career took off. In fact, there were not many women working as writers in Hollywood at all. While there were some other trailblazers and outliers, many women of the time worked instead on soap operas or variety shows, but even in those cases they faced frequent discrimination. Today, 36 percent of TV writers are women, according to the Writer's Guild of America.

Fontana's work on Star Trek was notable for her focus on fleshing out characters and societies to a degree that was uncommon in the sci-fi or action/adventure genres. She is often cited as the leading writer for the Vulcans of Star Trek.

Fontana is survived by her husband, a visual-effects director and Oscar recipient named Dennis Skotak (Escape from New York, Aliens, Titanic). Her death drew an outpouring of admiration and lamentation from other Trek alums such as Michael Okuda and George Takei on social platforms and in public statements.


Caroll Spinney, Big Bird’s Alter Ego on ‘Sesame Street,’ Is Dead at 85

Besides the sweet-natured giant yellow bird, he also played the misanthropic bellyacher Oscar the Grouch.


By Robert D. McFadden

Dec. 8, 2019

Sometimes he stood 8 feet 2 inches tall. Sometimes he lived in a garbage can. He often cited numbers and letters of the alphabet, and for nearly a half century on “Sesame Street” he was Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, opening magic doors for children on the secrets of growing up and the gentle arts of friendship.

His name was Caroll Spinney — not that many people would know it — and he was the comfortably anonymous whole-body puppeteer who, since the 1969 inception of the public television show that has nurtured untold millions of children, had portrayed the sweet-natured, canary-yellow giant bird and the misanthropic, furry-green bellyacher in the trash can outside 123 Sesame Street.
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Mr. Spinney, who also performed his characters in live concerts around the world and at the White House many times and was featured in films, documentaries and record albums, died on Sunday at his home in Woodstock, Conn. He was 85.

His death was announced by Sesame Workshop. It said in a statement that he had lived for some time with dystonia, which causes involuntary muscle contractions.

Star Trek and Fallout actor Rene Auberjonois has passed away

The actor appeared in more than 200 roles in a career spanning half a century.


Samuel Axon - 12/9/2019, 5:24 PM

Esteemed character actor Rene Auberjonois died in his home in Los Angeles on Sunday at the age of 79, The New York Times reports. The cause of death was lung cancer.

Auberjonois was a prolific actor whose 55-year career spanned well over 200 roles. To many, he was the shapeshifting security officer Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. To others, he was Father John Mulcahy from M.A.S.H. or Clayton Endicott III from Benson. Others still may know him as Paul Lewiston from Boston Legal or as Dr. Burton from Batman Forever. Many more would recognize him from his numerous guest roles on TV series like Stargate SG-1, Madam Secretary, The Good Wife, Archer, Grey's Anatomy, Criminal Minds, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and many more.

He also played numerous roles in video games. He voiced Mr. House, a central character in 2010's Fallout: New Vegas. He also appeared as Karl Schafer in Uncharted 2, Talos in God of War, and Janos Audron in the Legacy of Kain series. Additionally, he was an acclaimed audiobook reader, and a regular performer on the theatre stage.

Born in Manhattan in 1940, Auberjonois attended now-called Carnegie Mellon University before beginning his career in theatre, film, television, and voiceover. His father was a Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist, his grandfather was a notable painter, and his mother was descended from the family of Napoleon Bonaparte.

While he was not a professional artist like his grandfather, Auberjonois treated the visual arts as a hobby. He was known for selling drawings and other artworks to fans at Star Trek conventions and donating the proceeds to charity.

In the 2000s, Auberjonois reportedly expected to retire from acting, but the success of Boston Legal gave his career even longer legs than he had anticipated. He worked all the way until his death.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, a son and two daughters, and three grandchildren.

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Wow. I just watched a YouTube discussion with D.C. Fontana about Star Trek the original series and an attempt to restart the series in the early 70s a few days ago.

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Was so sad to hear this. I really enjoyed Rene Auberjonois as Odo on DS9, was one of my favorite characters from that series. Frown

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