Wednesday, January 12, 2011

'90210' writer Padma Atluri has died.

TV writer Padma Atluri (90210) died on Saturday night from leiomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer. She was 39.

Atluri, a 1995 Boston University communications graduate, began her writing career at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. A year later, she made a move to the entertainment industry, starting off as an assistant in the current department at Fox. In 1999, she joined HBO as manager of Awards & Festivals, position she held for 7 years. Then in 2006, Atluri, who grew up as a fan of I Love Lucy, Mary Tyler Moore, 60 Minutes, Family Ties and Growing Pains, made another career switch, to TV writing. She landed a gig on ABC's dramedy Men in Trees, followed by a writing job on 90210 on which she worked until her death. 90210 executive producer Rebecca Sinclair called Atluri "an extraordinary woman." "She was a terrific writer whose scripts bristled with vitality. She was an excellent producer whose incredible charisma and good humor endeared her to every single member of our cast and crew. And as a friend, she was peerless. Generous, gregarious, brave and hilarious, Padma was a great writer and a truly good person. Padma was special. She was incandescent. We miss her terribly and will be inspired by her forever." The most recent 90210 episode written by Atluri premiered on Sept. 20. Her final episode will air on Feb. 21 and will be in memorium of her.

In late summer 2008, Atluri attended Camp Obama and worked on the final stages of the Obama campaign, chronicling her experiences on the Huffington Post. She has also contributed to Marie Claire, Oprah's O Magazine and msn.com

Atluri was diagnosed in early 2010, with her condition suddenly deteriorating over the holidays in December. In an interview for a BU newsletter last May, she was asked where she saw herself in 10 years. Here is her response: "Ten years from now, I really hope I am in television. I love television so much. Back when I started, people would ask me, 'Are you sure you don’t want to go into film?' I always knew it was television because television is what spoke to me as a kid. My heart’s always going to stay with television—I can’t help it. That’s what’s inspired me in the beginning, and I hope that’s what’s going to inspire me to the end."

Atluri is survived by her mother Hyma Atluri, sister Jyothi, brother Bob, niece Shivani as well as a small army of friends.
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