Star Trek Guide

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Early December 2019 was especially devastating for the Star Trek family.  On December 2 came the death of D.C. Fontana, among the last major links to Star Trek's beginning.  Starting out as a secretary, she wrote and rewrote early episodes and--rare in network TV as well as science fiction--became the series story editor.  Her involvement with Star Trek spanned 40 years, including an episode for Star Trek: New Voyages. 
How devoted to science fiction was Dorothy Fontana?  When the remnants of the original time machine model from the 1960 George Pal film was discovered in a junk shop, she was among a group of sci-fi friends who donated their time to restore it.

Fontana's first episode for Star Trek--and the second to be aired--was the memorable "Charlie x."  The death of its star, Robert Walker, was announced just three days after hers, on December 5, 2019.

On December 7, Michael Lamper passed away.  He was the husband of Marina Sirtis and a background actor on a Next Generation episode.

Then the next day came the death of Rene Auberjonis, a distinguished and dedicated actor, known to Star Trek fans for his portrayal of the shape-shifter Odo on Deep Space Nine.

Another fondly remembered DS9 regular, Aron Eisenberg (Nog), also passed in 2019.

Michael J. Pollard had several noted film roles, but Star Trek will remember him for the original series episode "Miri."

Other actors on the original series who died in 2019 include Morgan Woodward, Stephen D. Mines, David Hurst, Sid Haig, William Wintersole and Steven Marlo.

The Next Generation lost Jeremy Kemp, a distinguished British actor who played Captain Picard's older brother in "Family."  Another veteran British actor, W. Morgan Sheppard, played Dr. Ira Graves in Next Gen, as well as other characters in Star Trek: Voyager and two Star Trek feature films.

TNG also lost actor Barbara March (the memorable Klingon sister Lursa) as well as actor Dick Miller, story editor Scott Rubenstein and writer Peter Allen Fields, who also wrote for DS9. Cosmo Genovese was script supervisor for TNG and Voyager. Ivy Bethune appeared in the TNG episode "When the Bough Breaks."  She died in 2019 at the age of 101.  

Star Trek Voyager lost actor Beverly Swanson. Star Trek Enterprise lost actors Billy Mayo and Jack Donner, who was one of only five actors to appear in both Enterprise and the original Star Trek series.

Other 2019 deaths in the Star Trek universe include fictionist Vondra McIntyre who wrote the novelizations of Star Trek movies II through IV, and Keith Birdsong, who illustrated Star Trek novels.  Emil Richards was a percussionist on soundtracks for several Star Trek features and TV episodes.  James Schmerer wrote for the animated Star Trek TV series.

The perennial UK series Doctor Who lost one of its giants of the classic era, writer and script editor Terrance Dicks.  The world of Who also lost actors Wendy Williams, Paul Darrow, Royce Mills, Stephen Thorne, Ian Cullen, Stephen Moore, Glyn Houston, Clive Swift, W. Morgan Sheppard and Clinton Greyn, as well as writers Donald Tosh, Tommy Donbavand and Graeme Curry.

Finally, science fiction literature lost one of its all-time greats in Gene Wolfe, best known for his Book of the New Sun series.

May they rest in peace.  Their work lives on.