Manya Starr, president of the Writers Guild of America East from 1965 to 1976, died July 26 at Lennox Hill Hospital in New York, from complications after surgery. She was 79.
Starr, a longtime veteran of radio shows, began her career writing ad libs for the “Dorothy and Dick” radio show after graduating from Bryn Mawr College. During WWII, she was an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy. After the war, Starr continued writing for radio, most notably as principal writer of “Claudia,” a long-running soap based on a Rose Franken play.
Starr worked briefly with the production staff of the original “Today” with Arlene Frances. Soon afterward, she served as a writer for several TV soaps including “The Doctor’s Wife,” “First Love,” “Paradise Bay” and the comedy series “The Egg and I.”
Starr also jumped into the producer role for such shows as “Love of Life” and “Clear Horizon,” and served as a scribe for “Passport to Prague” and NBC’s “Experiments in Television.”
In 1981, Starr married documentary filmmaker Amram Nowak, which marked the start of a 20-year collaboration on dozens of documentary and dramatic films. These included the drama “The Cafeteria” and Academy Award- nominated “Isaac in America,” a documentary on Polish-born writer Isaac Bashevis Singer.
Starr is survived by her husband, two sons and three step-children.