Pioneering TV writer Ann Marcus, the Emmy-winning head writer of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and a former WGA board member and TV Academy governor, died December 3 at her home in Sherman Oaks. She was 93.
A successful playwright, Marcus broke through Hollywood’s glass ceiling in the 1960s to write for such TV shows as Lassie, Dennis The Menace, Gentle Ben, Please Don’t Eat The Daisies and The Hathaways. She was also a staff writer on Peyton Place and The Debbie Reynolds Show. In 1969, 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 WGA Award.
Tapped by Norman Lear, Marcus co-created and served as head writer on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, an innovative, radical spoof of soap operas and American consumer culture that put women’s stories at the forefront. She shared a special Emmy in 1976 for the show’s pilot. She wrote on several daytime soaps including One Life To Live, Love Of Life and Days Of Our Lives, serving as head writer during the show’s 1978-79 seasons, during which she received two Daytime Emmy nominations.
“Over the course of her prolific career, Marcus broke through the entertainment industry’s glass ceiling within the male-dominated television industry over and over again,” the WGA said in a statement today. A Writers Guild member since 1961, she received the WGA West’s Morgan Cox Award in 2000 in recognition of her longtime service to the guild. Besides serving on the WGAW’s board of directors for several terms (1977-81. 1984-86, 1990-91, 1997-2003) and was the guild’s Secretary-Treasurer from 1991-93.
Marcus also served on the steering committee of the Caucus for Writers, Producers and Directors.
In 1992, Marcus was brought in as supervising producer and executive story editor of Knots Landing – and later co-wrote the TV show’s 1997 reunion miniseries, Knots Landing: Back To The Cul-De-Sac. She also wrote several TV movies, including Women At West Point in 1979. Among the many TV shows she worked on, her personal favorite was the syndicated satirical soap The Life And Times Of Eddie Roberts, which she co-created and executive produced in 1980 with her husband.