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RIP Jessica Klein
Jessica Klein, the beloved executive producer of “Beverly Hills, 90210,” died on Wednesday at age 66. The cause was pancreatic cancer.
The news was announced by Klein’s daughter.
Klein had a decades-long career as a television writer and producer, but is best known to teen drama fans for her work on “Beverly Hills, 90210.” She joined the series as a writer for season 2 in 1991, along with her partner and then-husband, the late Steve Wasserman. Klein and Wasserman added producer responsibilities to their writing duties, and later served as executive producers in seasons 6 and 7. They departed the show in 1997.
Klein wrote or was the story editor for some of the series’ most memorable episodes — my personal favorites include “Necessity is a Mother,” “The Next 50 Years,” “Shooting Star/American in Paris,” “Destiny Rides Again,” “Back in the High Life Again,” “A Night to Remember,” “Mr. Walsh Goes to Washington,” “Life After Death,” “Intervention,” “Hello Life, Goodbye Beverly Hills,” “My Funny Valentine,” and “Mother’s Day.”
Klein may best be remembered for writing one of the show’s most iconic lines: “I choose me.” Also: “Donna Martin Graduates.”
Other notable credits include “Capitol,” “As the World Turns,” “One Life to Live,” and “Just Deal.”
On a personal note, I never dreamed I’d get to know the executive producers of my favorite show. Around the time I interviewed Charles Rosin, the show’s original executive producer and showrunner, and Larry Mollin, another executive producer, in 2009-2010, I was in touch with Klein too. We were planning an interview that I called off when I put the original TeenDramaWhore on hiatus.
How lucky am I that we stayed in touch on and off through the years. Over the last year and a half in particular, it always meant so much to me anytime Klein replied to a new edition of this newsletter, offering a comment or perspective. It has also been a privilege to witness her rich family life and the love that she shared with her children, stepchildren, and grandkids.
“Beverly Hills, 90210,” and the teen drama genre, are immeasurably better because of Klein. I am indebted to her contributions, personally and professionally, and I offer my sincere condolences to her family, whom I know she adored more than anything.
Should any cast or crew share public tributes, I will add them below.