Barbara Turner, Screenwriter and Mother of Jennifer Jason Leigh, Dead at 79

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Leigh, Turner. Photo: Ron Galella

Barbara Turner, the Emmy-nominated scribe behind Georgia and Hemingway & Gellhorn, died in L.A. on Tuesday. Variety first reported the 79-year-old's death, but a cause wasn't initially noted. The New York native's showbiz career began in the late-’50s, with appearances on Playhouse 90, The Frank Sinatra Show, and Mike Hammer, among other TV series. Her first screenplay came in 1966, as an adaptation of Jean Genet's Deathwatch, and later that decade, Turner began focusing less on acting and more on writing and producing. "I realized that I was making my living as a writer and not as an actress [after having adapted Petulia]," she said in 2003, per THR. "So I said, I guess I’m a writer … and the rest is sort of the rest."

Turner went on to pen more than a dozen projects for TV and film, including Pollock, The Company, and Georgia — the last of which starred her daughter, Jennifer Jason Leigh. "My mother always helped me because she was kind of a research fanatic," Leigh told People earlier this year. "When she would write a screenplay there would be so much research all over the walls. And so when I started working as an actress I would do the same thing. She instilled in me a love of taking everything very seriously. It didn't matter what it was."

The War Between the Tates earned Turner an Emmy nom in 1978, and her work on Hemingway was nominated for both an Emmy and a WGA Award after it premiered in 2012. Turner, who was first married to Vic Morrow and then to Reza Badiyi, is survived by her three daughters, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

This post has been updated throughout.