Emmy-Winning TV Writer Ann Marcus Dies at 93
Active from the 1960s through the 2000s, her many credits included such classics as 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,' 'Days of Our Lives,' 'Knots Landing' and 'Peyton Place'
Award-winning television writer Ann Marcus died Wednesday at 93 at her home in Sherman Oaks, Calif., the Writers Guild of America West announced Thursday. In addition to her many credits — which included Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Days of Our Lives, Knots Landing and Peyton Place — Marcus was active in the guild as a board member, officer and committee member.
An Emmy winner for Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Marcus was recognized by The Paley Center for Media in 2006 as one of the women who helped shape the history of media. Marcus also served on the steering committee of the Caucus for Writers, Producers, and Directors and was a governor of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She received the WGAW's Morgan Cox Award in 2000 in recognition of her service to the guild.
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Born Dorothy Ann Goldstone in 1921, Marcus was raised in Little Falls, New York, the youngest of three children. After graduating from Western College in Ohio in 1943, she got a job at the New York Daily News as one of the first young women to become a "copy boy." In a matter of weeks, she was promoted to reporter, soon parlaying her first byline story into a job at Life magazine. She married screenwriter Ellis Marcus in 1944 and raised a family in New York and Los Angeles.
Her first play, A Woman's Place, a depiction of the conflicts presented to women between career and motherhood, premiered in Los Angeles in 1960 and led to a writing career in television. In the 1960s, Marcus wrote for such series as Lassie, Dennis the Menace, Gentle Ben and Please Don't Eat The Daisies and was a staff writer on Peyton Place and The Debbie Reynolds Show. In 1969, she became head writer of the soap opera Love Is a Many Splendored Thing, followed by Search for Tomorrow, for which she shared a 1975 Writers Guild Award.
Tapped by Norman Lear, Marcus co-created and served as head writer on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, a daily soap opera spoof that ran for about 15 months (325 episodes). During the '70s, '80s and '90s, she wrote on One Life to Live, Love of Life and Days of Our Lives, serving as head writer during for the show's 1978-79 seasons and receiving two Daytime Emmy nominations.
In 1992, Marcus became supervising producer and executive story editor of Knots Landing. Her other credits include The Life and Times of Eddie Roberts (co-created and executive produced with her husband), a miniseries, several TV movies and an indie feature film For Heaven's Sake!, which she wrote and executive produced at age 87. She also published her memoir, Whistling Girl, in 1999.
"Ann always put her family first, making each of her loved ones feel they were the center of her universe," her family said in a statement. "She was a warm, loving, supportive sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who taught her descendants strength, compassion, generosity, and love."
Marcus is survived by her three children, Steve, John and Ellyn, as well as six grandchildren and their spouses: Kevin; Katie; Ben; Etienne and his wife, Lizet; Jacobo and his wife, Lilian; Paola and her husband, Yosef. She also had seven great-grandchildren: Xavier, Ayden, Noah, Hawthorne, Metzli, Citlali and Poli'si.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made in Ann Marcus' name to the Los Angeles Animal Shelter: http://www.lacountyanimals.org/donate.html. Memorial service details are pending.
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