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Ann Marcus, Emmy-Winning Writer and WGA Activist, Dies at 93

Ann Marcus, who won an Emmy for “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” and worked on “Days of Our Lives,” “Knots Landing” and  “Peyton Place,” died Wednesday at her home in Sherman Oaks. She was 93.

Marcus, a member of the Writers Guild of America since 1961, was a longtime activist at the guild and received the WGA West’s Morgan Cox Award for service in 2000. She served on the guild’s board of directors in 1977-1981, 1984-86, 1990-91 and  1997-2003 and was secretary-treasurer from 1991-93.

She 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.

Marcus was a native of Little Falls, N.Y. After graduating from Western College in Ohio in 1943, she got a job at the New York Daily News and was promoted from “copy boy” to reporter. She then worked at Life magazine with photographers such as Alfred Eisenstaedt.

She married screenwriter Ellis Marcus in 1944 and raised a family in New York and Los Angeles.

Marcus’ 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 her TV writing career with credits on “Lassie,” “Dennis the Menace,” “Gentle Ben,” “Please Don’t Eat The Daisies” and “The Hathaways” and staff writing posts on “Peyton Place” and “The Debbie Reynolds Show.”

She became head writer of the daytime drama “Love is a Many Splendored Thing,” for which she shared a 1974 WGA nomination, followed by “Search for Tomorrow,” for which she shared a 1975 Writers Guild Award for Daytime Serials.

Marcus was selected by Norman Lear to co-create and serve as head writer on “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” for which she shared a Primetime Emmy  for co-writing the series’ pilot episode with Jerry Adelman and Daniel Gregory Browne.

She received two Daytime Emmy nominations for “Days of Our Lives” while head writer during for the show’s 1978-79 seasons,

Marcus was also supervising producer and executive story editor of “Knots Landing” – and later co-wrote the TV show’s 1997 reunion miniseries.

She wrote several TV movies, including “Women at West Point” and co-created and executive produced with her husband the satirical soap “The Life and Times of Eddie Roberts.”

In 1999 she published her memoir “Whistling Girl” and in  2008 oversaw the making of her screenplay “For Heaven’s Sake!” into an indie feature film, which she executive produced.

Marcus also served on several WGA West committees including Blacklisted Writers, Officers Nominating, Age Discrimination, Disciplinary, Membership/Finance, Board Nominating and Animation Strike Fund.

Her family said in a statement: “Ann always put her family first, making each of her loved ones feel they were the center of her universe. 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 two sons, a daughter, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Donations may be made in Ann Marcus’ name to the Los Angeles Animal Shelter.

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