Barbara Esensten, Award-Winning Writer for Top Daytime Dramas
After a successful career in radio news, Esensten went on to write for Guiding Light, Days of Our Lives and more.
Barbara Esensten, who began her career as a news writer and reporter for various Los Angeles radio stations and went on to achieve success as a writer for several daytime dramas, died November 14, 2012. She was 75.
A native of Los Angeles, Esensten studied at UCLA, where she wrote a column for the university newspaper, The Daily Bruin. She left school to marry attorney Jack Esensten, with whom she had three daughters.
When the marriage ended in divorce, Esensten worked as a reporter and writer for various L.A. news outlets, including radio stations KPFK, KFWB and KABC.
In 1974 she was featured in Why Me?, an acclaimed 1974 documentary about breast cancer in which she performed a breast self-examination, which is credited with helping to elevate awareness and saving lives.
Two years later, the Womanpowerful Awards honored Esensten for helping to establish a breast self-examination program for the American Cancer Society.
In 1987, the Richard and Esther Shapiro, creators of the television drama Dynasty, hired Esensten to write for the show, pairing her with former Los Angeles Times reporter James Harmon Brown.
Esensten and Brown continued to work together as a writing team for years. After Dynasty, they contributed to several popular daytime dramas, including Loving, Guiding Light, Port Charles, One Life to Live, Days of Our Lives and All My Children.
They also and wrote episode of Father Dowling Mysteries and contributed to the made-for-television movie The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage.
Esensten and Harmon were nominated for two Writers Guild of America Awards and five Daytime Emmys. They won a Daytime Emmy in 1993 for Guiding Light and were part of the All My Children team nominated in 2012.
More about her life and work is available at: