Jessica Klein, ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ Writer and Producer, Dies at 66

Jessica Klein, who spent six seasons on Beverly Hills, 90210 as an invaluable writer, producer and story editor, has died. She was 66.

Klein died July 13 of pancreatic cancer at her home in Beverly Hills, her daughter, Shira Rose, announced.

Klein joined the Darren Star-created Fox primetime soap for its second season (1991-92) and received a writing/story by credit on 46 episodes, a story editor credit on 14 episodes and a producing credit on 156 episodes through the seventh season (1996-97). 

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She worked on the show with her writing partner and then-husband, Steve Wasserman, who died in July 1998 when he fell overboard during a sailing trip from Marina del Rey to Santa Catalina Island. He was 45.

Klein and Wasserman also wrote for the CBS soap opera As the World Turns and for the primetime dramas Northern Exposure at CBS, Mancuso, F.B.I. at NBC and Gabriel’s Fire at ABC.

In 2013, she joined the ABC soap One Life to Live as a writer and producer. 

Klein was born in Manhattan on March 14, 1956. Her father, Saul, co-founded Barton’s Candy and was a Holocaust survivor who emigrated from Vienna in 1939; her mother, Ruth, was a senior administrator at Weill Medical College of Cornell and an avid collector of antique spectacles. 

After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Radcliffe in 1977 with a degree in psychology and social relations, she began her TV career at the Children’s Television Workshop as an assistant on Sesame Street

She moved to Los Angeles in the late 1970s and met and married Wasserman.

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The two-time Daytime Emmy nominee also wrote and/or produced shows including CapitolScout’s Safari and Just Deal; on the last two, she teamed with Tommy Lynch, her creative partner after Wasserman’s death. 

She taught screenwriting at Drexel University after she married Isaac Levenbrown, a painter and audiovisual expert who designed custom screening rooms, in 2000. After his death in 2014, she reunited with Lynch as head of creative on the TV shows Make It Pop and The Other Kingdom.

She returned to the L.A. area in 2018.

In addition to her daughter, survivors include her stepchildren, Josh, Brittany and Jonathan; grandchildren Shayna, Mendel, Zisi, Asher, Lily and Elliott; and brother David. 

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