'Star Trek' writer passes away

Los Angeles: Dorothy Catherine Fontana, a writer on the original Star Trek series who had a long association with the franchise, has passed away. She was 80.

Fontana passed away on December 2.

Fontana's death was confirmed by the official Star Trek website, which described her as "the legendary writer who brought many of 'Star Trek's' greatest episodes to life", reports

The website reported that she died after a brief illness but offered no other details.

Fontana was active in the Writers Guild of America for many years, and most recently worked as a lecturer for the American Film Institute.

A native of New Jersey, Fontana was the rare example of a female scribe of the enduring sci-fi franchise, although she used the gender-blind screen credit of "D.C. Fontana".

She was credited with creating key elements of the Star Trek mythos, including the details on the backstory of

Mr. Spock's upbringing by his human mother Amanda and Vulcan father Sarek.

Fontana had writing credits on 11 episodes of the original Star Trek, which ran for three seasons.

Fontana is survived by her husband, cinematographer Dennis Skotak.

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