Radio and TV writer Barbara Smitten Merlin, who began writing for radio programs in the late 1930s and later produced scripts for such TV shows as “The Millionaire” and “77 Sunset Strip,” died July 24 in Los Angeles of unreported causes. She was 81.
Raised in San Francisco, Merlin began her career writing for radio station KFRC in San Francisco.
She later moved to Hollywood and worked briefly for Los Angeles radio station KHJ before joining Ruthrauff & Ryan, where she worked as a script supervisor on radio shows that included “Amos & Andy” and “Mayor of the Town.”
In 1945, she married Milton Merlin. Together, they collaborated as writers on major radio series including “Boston Blackie” and “The Halls of Ivy.”
The couple segued to television in the early 1950s and collaborated on a number of TV shows including “Four Star Playhouse,” “Bonanza,” “The Fugitive,” “Ben Casey” and “I Spy.”
Between 1968 and 1971 she worked in the publicity department for United Artists.
Merlin then enjoyed a 23-year career with the National Enquirer, where she served as West Coast coordinator.
She is survived by a daughter, two sons, four grandsons and a great-grandson.