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Barbara Esensten passed away


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#1 dragonflies

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 06:28 PM

Wow, RIP :(

http://www.soapopera...oap-writer-dies

Emmy-winner Barbara Esensten, who created LOVING/THE CITY with James Harmon Brown and wrote for a slew of soaps including GUIDING LIGHT, PORT CHARLES, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, DAYS OF OUR LIVES, DYNASTY and ALL MY CHILDREN, passed away on November 14. Former GL writer Jill Lorie Hurst tweeted, "The wonderful GL headwriter Barbara Esensten died last night. Great boss, great girlfriend. Miss her already."
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#2 Khan

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 06:30 PM

Such terrible (and shocking) news. My condolences to Ms. Esensten's loved ones.
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#3 ~bl~

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 06:32 PM

How old was she? I'm just asking because there hasn't been an official obit.

Edited by ~bl~, 15 November 2012 - 06:55 PM.

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#4 DynamiteKiddo

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 06:47 PM

What a shame. :( And very shocking. RIP.
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#5 jcar03

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:11 PM

How old was she? I'm just asking because there hasn't been an official obit.


Esensten was born on March 7, 1937 so she was 75.
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#6 AllMyDaysatGH

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:20 PM

Her last script w/James was the 9/14/11 episode of AMC

RIP :(
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#7 DRW50

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:25 PM

I'm sorry to hear this. I had no idea she was 75. When I saw her in a photo when she was GL's headwriter she could have passed for her forties.

She was a big part of some fantastic moments at Loving, helped bring GL back from the dead, and helped bring one of daytime's best supercouples back to AMC.
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#8 LeClerc

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 08:46 PM

Sad and surprising news.

In amongst the many misses of Esensten & Brown's headwriting work on soaps there were some great stories (e.g. the Loving murders, Lizzie's battle with leukemia on GL, the return of the Hubbards on AMC).

Her and JHB's writing got me hooked on GL (a show I had never given more than 30 seconds of my time) in 1997. And they did help save that show from cancellation at that time.

A little of her background beyond her soap resume is outlined in this write-up:

http://www.welovesoa...n-has-died.html

Including

Esensten was featured in the 1974 breast cancer documentary, Why Me? Producer Joe Saltzman said of Esensten, "Historians now say she was the first woman to do a breast self-examination in the nude in the history of television. And doing so saved thousands of lives. R.I.P. Barbara. I will never forget you."


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#9 DRW50

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:27 PM

That isn't an exaggeration - GL was probably 98% done. They made 1997 exciting and while far from perfect, managed to combine the many disparate elements of GL in a way I had not seen in a long time, and would never see again.
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#10 Khan

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:58 PM

That isn't an exaggeration - GL was probably 98% done. They made 1997 exciting and while far from perfect, managed to combine the many disparate elements of GL in a way I had not seen in a long time, and would never see again.


Same. Even I must admit how, in retrospect, Esensten & Brown were the last HW'ing team to write GUIDING LIGHT with any sense of compassion. Unfortunately, they were done in by so many bad decisions -- San Cristobel, Clone Reva, Phillip & Beth's "plane sex" that produced James, Annie Dutton overload -- that probably weren't entirely their fault, or their doing.
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#11 LeClerc

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:02 PM

That isn't an exaggeration - GL was probably 98% done. They made 1997 exciting and while far from perfect, managed to combine the many disparate elements of GL in a way I had not seen in a long time, and would never see again.


ITA! I was up bright and early every morning of my summer vacation from school in '97 to watch GL. It was probably the most engrossed I ever was in a soap, even though AMC will always be my show.
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#12 DRW50

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:29 PM

Even when the bottom fell out and so much became about "Manny" and "Rassie", I still enjoyed more of the show than I didn't, and I kept watching. Once they were gone, the show very sharply changed, and as much as I respect Claire Labine and know what she faced and don't really blame her, the show became much more difficult for me to get through.
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#13 JAS0N47

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:29 AM

Here's my write-up on Barbara:

IN LOVING MEMORY

Barbara Esensten

March 7, 1937-November 14, 2012

"Days of Our Lives" Script Editor, 2007


Barbara Esensten, who was a script editor for "Days of Our Lives" in 2007 has passed away. She died on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at the age of 75.

Barbara Jean Sills was born in Los Angeles, California on March 7, 1937. She started her writing career as a reporter for her college's newspaper, UCLA's Daily Bruin. After college, she married Jack Esensten and had three daughters, Teri, Randi and Deena. After her divorce, Esensten went on to a career in radio news.

In 1987, she began her TV career and a long association with her writing partner, James Harmon Brown, as they were hired to write some scripts for "Dynasty." The writing duo would later write for "Loving" and co-create its spinoff "The City." They also wrote for "Guiding Light", "Port Charles", "One Life to Live", "All My Children" and spent six months at "Days of Our Lives" in 2007. She won a Daytime Emmy as a member of the "Guiding Light" writing team in 1993.

Esensten is survived by her second husband, Michael Chambers; three daughters, Teri, Randi and Deena; and several grandchildren. A funeral will be held on Sunday, November 18, 2012.
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#14 sheilaforever

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 05:53 AM

Same. Even I must admit how, in retrospect, Esensten & Brown were the last HW'ing team to write GUIDING LIGHT with any sense of compassion. Unfortunately, they were done in by so many bad decisions -- San Cristobel, Clone Reva, Phillip & Beth's "plane sex" that produced James, Annie Dutton overload -- that probably weren't entirely their fault, or their doing.

The clone story was the only I EVER watched GL regularly. This was great television...
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#15 Faulkner

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:26 PM

Yeah, I was so disgusted with GL during the mid-'90s, especially after McTavish's run. B&E made the show feel something like GL again, even if that was short-lived. I liked Pharley, Rick/Abby, the early days of Annie's reign of terror. Good, diverse soapy stuff. It all went to hell, but for a while there it was must-see TV.
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#16 Gray Bunny

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 04:09 PM

1997 is what sucked me in to Guiding Light full-time and forever a fan. Before then, I had only sampled it. It became so intriguing, exciting, and well-balanced. 1998 is when it became a 2-storyline soap (Clone and PHarley, then Clone and Ben/Blake/Ross), but even then I tuned in religiously until 2000. I'm guessing lots of interference from the higher-ups is what led to so many wacky over-the-top stories they did (Reva clone, Teri-is-Annie, Annie's truth serum, Nursery Rhyme Stalker, etc.)

Edited by Gray Bunny, 16 November 2012 - 04:10 PM.

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#17 EnglishTea

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:42 AM

The Loving murders were also well done. Stacey's death by powder puff was a great soapy twist, and yet also so damn creepy!
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#18 SFK

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 02:25 AM

The Loving murders were also well done. Stacey's death by powder puff was a great soapy twist, and yet also so damn creepy!


I thought Cabot and Isabelle in each other's arms dying in their sleep inhaling the fumes of poisonous scented candles was so sad, lovely, poignant... my "favorite" of the bizarre murders.
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#19 Y&RWorldTurner

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 02:31 AM

I must be the only one who hated the hell out of that storyline and thought Christine Tudor was terrible during the reveal.
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#20 Eric83

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 02:57 AM

1997 was one of my favorite years of GL. RIP.
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