Comedy veteran Robin Shlien dies at 54

Credits included 'SNL,' HBO's 'One Night Stand'

Robin Shlien, a production assistant during the glory years of "Saturday Night Live" and later a comedy producer, died April 12 of pancreatic cancer at her home in Santa Monica. She was 54.

Shlien began her career at pubcaster WGBH in Boston before joining "SNL" in 1978 as a production assistant. She stayed there through 1984 and worked on 79 episodes of the NBC show, also serving as an assistant to the director.

In 1985, Shlien moved to Los Angeles and produced a string of comedy shows for HBO including "One Night Stand" and "Women of the Night." Later, Paula Poundstone-starrer "Cats, Cops and Stuff," which Shlien co-produced, won a CableACE award for best stand-up comedy special.

Shlien left the entertainment business in the late 1990s to attend graduate school and study psychology and social work.

After receiving her master's degree, the Connecticut native became active at the Wellness Community, a cancer support group in Santa Monica. She combined her interest in humor with therapy by facilitating a workshop called Humor Heals, in which patients use their sense of humor to cope with their illness.

Shlien also worked as community outreach manager at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Greater Los Angeles.

Survivors include her parents, Morris and Elinor Shlien; her brother, Robert Shlien; her sister-in-law Emmeline Wexer; and her niece and nephew, Rebecca and Daniel Shlien.

Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Shlien's memory to the Wellness Community in Santa Monica or to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Greater Los Angeles.