Watch: Star Trek’s René Auberjonois And D.C. Fontana Remembered At The Emmy Awards

The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony was broadcast on Sunday night. While all the categories Star Trek was nominated for this year were handed out earlier in the week at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards (with one win), a couple of Star Trek legends were remembered during Sunday’s “In Memoriam” segment, which remembers noteworthy figures in television who have passed away in the last year.

Remembering D.C. and René

Actor René Auberjonois had a career spanning decades beginning in the 1960s, including five seasons on Boston Legal alongside William Shatner. Auberjonois’ accolades include two Emmy nominations and a Tony Award. He passed away in December 2019 at the age of 79. He may be best known for his role for seven seasons as Odo in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and the Emmys In Memorium segment showed the actor alongside the iconic station.

Dorothy “D.C.” Fontana began her career as an assistant to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, who recognized her talent quickly. She soon began writing on a number of series, and became one of the driving creative forces for the original Star Trek. Roddenberry brought her back to the franchise to help develop Star Trek: The Next Generation two decades later, for which she won a Hugo Award. She also won a number of WGA Awards and was inducted into the Screenwriting Hall of Fame. She passed away in December 2019 at the age of 80. The Television Academy remembered Fontana in 2020 montage, with her image projected onto the USS Enterprise-D.

You can watch the entire In Memoriam segment from the 2020 Emmys below.

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I watched the Emmys tonight and I enjoyed it a lot.

Jimmy Kimmel did a great job as the host. COVID is still hanging around so things had to change a bit. The show was a lot better than last year.

Lots of interesting shows won the evening.

Watchmen is one show that is really good. Really recommend Watchmen because it’s surreal.

DC Fontana is a name I remember seeing before in Star Trek to be sure. Rest in power.

Live long and prosper our Star Trek heroes.

What a brilliant review. Thank you for your contribution.

Wow, some big names were really gone this year. Goes to show what kind of a horrible year this has been in all aspects. May they all rest in peace. Hopefully the future will be brighter than 2020.

2020 is the worst year ever.

Hopefully the future is better than 2020.

We need to stay strong and united together to get through this.

That memoriam moment was very sweet.

2020 is the worst year ever.

Some perspective is required here. 2020 is awful, but it isn’t even in the Top 10 (Bottom 10?) for worst years.

40 million people died in World War I (1914-1918), averaging 10 million per pear.

That was followed immediately by the 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic, which had 500 million (yes, MILLION) cases and 50 million deaths. This at a time when the world’s population was less than 2 billion, compared to almost 8 billion today. That means 25% of the world’s population was afflicted, and 10% of the afflicted died.

Every year of World War II (1939-45) was much worse. 85 million people died in that war, averaging 14 million dead per year.

COVID-19 worldwide death toll is presently less than 1 million.

This is probably the worst year of my lifetime, but my parents and grandparents suffered through far, far worse.

Thanks for putting things in perspective with data, Thorny. I’m sure if you go back in time even further to events like the American Civil War, 100 years war, slavery, Bubonic plague, etc., we can find years that are worse than current times.

However, worst year of the current generation sounds apt.

Sadly, I must agree (with deep respect and condolences to those who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus). My parents lived through WWII in an internment camp and went to sleep hungry for years – meanwhile literally 10s of millions of people were being killed. When put into perspective 6 months of the pandemic seems more manageable compared to the multi-year ordeal people suffered through beginning in 1939. Hopefully the pandemic will end sometime in the next year (the sooner the better) and we can focus on solving the other issues that need desperate attention.
It is interesting to note that Gene created Star Trek and The Cage a mere 19 years after the end of WWII. He obviously knew the horror of global war and in TOS he created a future where war, disease and hunger were eliminated at least on Earth. Something we can all hope will still eventually happen, even though today’s troubles seem to rival what Gene and the creators of Star Trek were facing back in the mid and late 1960s.

Gene was deeply scarred and affected by World War II. His experiences affected all of his artistic works—especially Star Trek.

Nice to see D.C. Fontana remembered in this. This year’s Emmys aired a day before the anniversary of the passing of Aron Eisenberg, who I didn’t figure would be represented, but it would’ve been a nice nod if they had chosen a photo of Rene that also had Aron in it. I had pretty much no expectations that they’d include another “Trek” figure, who actually died a year ago this past Saturday: John Winston, who portrayed Lt. Kyle on the original series. When he died at 91 a year ago, the news was literally entirely overlooked, and most “Trek” fans probably still don’t know that he passed away. (There were eBay “estate auction” listings of Winston’s possessions that preceded the SAG-AFTRA reports of his death that finally emerged last spring.)

Thanks P-D Cougar, I didn’t know about John Winston. I wish they could have stayed focused on each person who passed away instead of cutting to the singer waving her guitar in front the slide show. Diana Rigg’s slide deserved more respect than being shoved to the corner of the screen. The singer and song were fine but not the purpose of the segment. They need to think of what the audience cares about and shoe some respect for that.
Thank you trekmovie for posting the entire clip of the “in memorial” segment. Due to a fire in my home I don’t have TV right now.

Agreed, they could have shown a couple of seconds of footage for each person as well but I guess they just didn’t want to prolong the sadness.

I liked the way they did it, using backgrounds representative of the honoree’s profession or series, along with a still photo of the honoree.

I’d forgotten a few of those stars had died. Ian Holm and Bill Macy, for example.

I’d forgotten Robert Conrad.

Definitely agree, I found it pretty distracting when they cut to H.E.R. Diana Rigg was too big a name to have her be the literal backdrop.

I almost didn’t watch this year. I normally get a small kick out of the Emmys and Oscars but something told me ahead of time that this year’s version would be the worst ever.

And I was not wrong. Normally the highlight is the opening monologue. More often than not it’s clever and witty and fun to watch. (Colbert’s “Everything is better on TV” song was a hoot). But this was just gawd awful. None of the jokes landed. The show was dull and unentertaining. I was pleased to have DVR’d it. Only took me and the Mrs. about 90+ minutes to get through it. Amazing how quickly it goes when you remove a lot of the garbage. I mean, early on I started zipping through the acceptance speeches as without an orchestra to play them off they just went on and on and on!

But on the Trek front… I think it would have been a lot more appropriate if they put DC Fontana on the TOS Enterprise.

Yeah I thought Kimmel was pretty awkward during the Friends segment, and that was the most I really caught aside from the in memoriam. I agree Fontana is more associated with TOS, but the Enterprise D is definitely the most recognizable ship in the franchise.

It’s interesting how in the past decade or so, TOS has all but fallen by the wayside in terms of the collective consciousness. TNG is now the gold standard Trek, and all the fan groups I’m in on Facebook basically want to decanonize TOS, such is their disdain for it. So – I understand why they went for the recognition factor and picked the Ent-D

“It’s interesting how in the past decade or so, TOS has all but fallen by the wayside in terms of the collective consciousness. TNG is now the gold standard Trek, and all the fan groups I’m in on Facebook basically want to decanonize TOS, such is their disdain for it. So – I understand why they went for the recognition factor and picked the Ent-D”

I don’t know if I go that far. I mean we only have the Kelvin movies because of TOS obviously and they are (or were??) very popular at one point. And the reason why Discovery was set prior to TOS because they probably thought it would interest more people. Yeah, didn’t exactly turn out that way, but I can see why it was done even if I completely hated it personally.

But I will say TNG is probably more watched easily. But I don’t think its more popular in terms of how much its liked, just easier for younger people to get into to watch it. Few of my high school friends could get into TOS at the time because they felt it was too dated and this was the 90s. But you’re right, there are definitely people who hate the show and feels it’s too outdated on both a cultural and production level but those people are most likely in the vast minority.

Most of us just understand it was a show made for its time.

Wow… That is the first I’ve heard of such a thing. I have a VERY hard time buying that the E-D is the most recognizable ship in the franchise. I just can’t. The original design, even the movie versions (which still pretty much followed the classic design) would seem to still be the more instantly recognizable version. The D had always divided fans in a way the original never did. So forgive me if I have doubt on that. I also have a tough time believing that TNG is considered the “gold standard” of Trek.

I think it was just a decision made by people who just didn’t know any better. No other reason.

Well, there’re two discussion points here.

On the choice of the Enterprise-D, my thought is that, Hollywood and the WGA being so hierarchical, the Academy selected the series on which she had the highest ranking role. She was a writer and assistant to Roddenberry for TOS, the executive story editor for TAS (which got a series Emmy), but she was one of the creators of TNG.

In terms of why TNG has the bigger audience that sees the Enterprise-D as “the ship”, it’s simply a matter of numbers: TOS ran 3 years and had lower ratings than TNG which ran 7 years and had two contemporaneous series. It was the entry point into the franchise for a larger number of fans, and continues to draw in more in syndicated reruns. More, for many like me it eclipsed TOS, which seemed very campy and dated by the 90s. (I’m more appreciative of its trippy over-the-top moments now.)

Frankly, the number of new fans for whom Voyager is ” their series” is amazing. It shows that the series got more right than many realize in terms of recapturing the exploratory “new planets and new civilizations” of TOS than many gave it credit for at the time.

I think you are looking way too deep. Giving them too much credit. It is far more likely whoever was doing the graphic work just didn’t know any better.

No ML, I’m telling you TNG is far and away the most popular trek series. I’m on several Trek fb groups and they are all about TNG, DS9 and VOY. TOS is basically a historical footnote in the contemporary imagination, and this is coming from someone who is very, very plugged into the online Trek discourse. 99 out of 100 memes reference TNG. If that isn’t evidence of what resonates in the popular consciousness, I dunno what is. And it is just a fact that TNG is the Trek series with the most exposure, for all the reasons TG said above. So I’m pretty sure that’s all it boils down to, a numbers game, and that’s why they went with the Ent-D

I never said it wasn’t popular. But to say TOS is a mere footnote is a gross understatement.

And my original theory still stands. It was most likely the person doing the graphic work just didn’t know any better.

I have said this myself over and over again since I been on this site, it’s no doubt TNG is the most popular show, at least online. Like you I’m on other sites like Reddit and FB (well use to be there). And yes everywhere else TNG seems to be head and shoulders more popular. But to be fair, most of these sites tend to skew younger and its just easier to get into that show and the spin offs for people under a certain age compared to TOS.

Trekmovie just skews older, much older for whatever reason (and I’m certainly in the ‘older’ category myself so its not a slight) where most people were either watching TOS when it first aired OR when it was in reruns but the only Trek around before TNG showed up. But in the other places, you find a lot more 80s, 90s and 2000s kids and they are just online more overall and was around when either TNG started or the other spin offs. So for a lot of younger people TNG era was definitely the entry point. And the crazy thing is it still seems to be that way today. So I’m not arguing with you or TG’s assessment at all. We agree on that completely.

But I’m with ML31 on this one, you guys seem to be over thinking it a little too much. It was a five second slide and she actually did work on TNG. If you want to over analyze it (because when do we ever do that here ;)) you can argue the TNG graphic was used because it was the last thing (in relation to Trek) she worked on as well. Or they just shrugged and went with that. It could be anything. I just don’t think it was because more people are aware of TNG alone.

And I don’t think TOS is a ‘footnote’. That’s kind of an insult. Plenty of people still watch that show as the others, especially if that’s the show you watched first. It still makes ton in merchandise, still has novels and comic books published yearly and the characters are just as iconic today as they have always been.

But yes I do think because so many from the original show who worked on it has now passed like Fontana or retired like the few remaining actors, it’s not going to get the same amount of attention as it once did like the spin offs do now. Most of those writers, producers and actors in the TNG era are still around in abundance and in theory can all still show up or contribute to future projects such as Picard or LDS for instance. We’re not going to see the original TOS actors in any of the shows from this point on, minus MAYBE a role for Shatner at some point. But since he’s pushing 90 and prime Kirk has been dead for 25 years now (wow) that is most likely never to happen either since it hasn’t happened since Generations.

Sadly this was the first year I didn’t even bother watching it. I think for many, having it mostly done virtually from home is just not the same so I’m not surprised. These shows require audiences and a lot more participation. Without it, it just feels more empty. But, as they say, the show must go on! They can only do so much I guess.

As far as Fontana and showing the ENT D, my guess is they didn’t really think that hard about it. And she did work on TNG obviously. Only us Trek nerds are going to notice it lol.

To say that they didn’t think that hard about it, I think, is kinda insulting to the people who put together the single most important edited sequence of the entire Emmys. They put a lot of thought and effort into these in memoriam segments every year, and I think they knew exactly what they were doing. Is it really that hard to believe that TNG is the most popular Star Trek series? Cuz that’s all it really was about, the most popular, recognizable thing, and that is the Enterprise D

But it has nothing to do with what show was more popular at a specific moment. It has more to do with what the person was known for. DC Fontana was far more involved in TOS than TNG. Hence, it was more appropriate she have something TOS related on her image. Therefore, it is fair to conclude that the people doing the graphic were not Trek people in any way and just threw up something they thought might work because to them, Trek is Trek.

Well, you’re just skewered your own argument ML31.

Yes DC Fontana may be most “known for” TOS, but as a creative, a writer, she had greater impact at a senior level in the creation of TNG.

Not so. She was more involved in TOS than she ever was on TNG. The only reason TNG was used in the graphic is likely because the show was more popular and the graphic artist just didn’t know any better. Her involvement with TOS was substantially greater than her involvement with TNG. And a TOS graphic would have been more appropriate.

“To say that they didn’t think that hard about it, I think, is kinda insulting to the people who put together the single most important edited sequence of the entire Emmys. They put a lot of thought and effort into these in memoriam segments every year, and I think they knew exactly what they were doing. Is it really that hard to believe that TNG is the most popular Star Trek series? Cuz that’s all it really was about, the most popular, recognizable thing, and that is the Enterprise D”

All I meant was they weren’t arguing about what starship to show in the background, no one is going to care about that but Trek nerds. And she worked on both shows anyway, as I said, and so it was proper enough to show.

And I AGREE with you, TNG is definitely the most popular show in the franchise. I just don’t think that had anything remotely to do with why the D was used as a backdrop, that’s all. It’s not like they showed Rene Auberjonois with the D as well, but actually with DS9 since he was on that show. And DS9 is not as popular as TNG or TOS. So that kind of puts a dent in your argument, does it not? ;)

CHADWICK </3 I’m still heartbroken about him. But I loved the nod to DC and of course Rene is still a painful loss, but it is too bad they didn’t add Aron too. They did a good job though with the design of the graphics, with the Enterprise and DS9, I think they really stood out against the other shows that were represented.

Agreed. It’s always great to see DS9 in HD, albeit very sad circumstances. Hopefully it doesn’t take the death of another cast member for CBS to finally pay for the upgrade and put the series out on Blu-Ray!