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Obituaries

Jacqueline Babbin, 80; TV Writer, Editor and Producer

October 12, 2001|JON THURBER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Jacqueline Babbin, a television writer and producer who won Emmy and Peabody awards, has died. She was 80.

She died Saturday at her home in Kent, Conn., after a short illness.

Babbin had a broad career in TV, working initially with pioneering producer David Susskind. Later, she produced Emmy-winning dramas before switching to daytime television as producer of the soap opera "All My Children."

But not all of her shows were successes. In 1975-76, she produced the much-anticipated CBS prime time series "Beacon Hill," which folded after 11 episodes to become one of the biggest flops in CBS' history.

A native New Yorker, Babbin graduated from Smith College. One of her first jobs was as production secretary to Audrey Wood, who was Tennessee Williams' agent.

But her first big break in television was working as a story editor for Susskind. She built a reputation as one of the better story editors and drama producers in the industry, and broke new ground for a woman by producing episodes of the "Dupont Show of the Week" and "Armstrong Family Circle."

After leaving Susskind, she produced Arthur Miller's "A Memory of Two Mondays" and Lonnie Elder's "Ceremonies of Dark Old Men." She then turned to "Beacon Hill," which--though critically successful--failed in the ratings. Set in Boston, "Beacon Hill" tried to be America's answer to the popular British TV series "Upstairs, Downstairs."

Babbin moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s and produced the miniseries "Sybil" for NBC. Starring Sally Field and Joanne Woodward, "Sybil" told the story of a woman with multiple personalities. Field won an Emmy in the starring role. Woodward, who played her psychiatrist, was nominated for an Emmy.

Babbin was a producer in Los Angeles for several years after the success of "Sybil" and served as vice president for novels and miniseries at ABC-TV.

Then she jumped at the chance to return to New York when the offer came to produce "All My Children," which she worked on from 1982 to 1986.

She left the series, and later was the producer for a year on "Loving," another ABC soap.

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