Margaret Armen, 82, one of the first successful female television writers, who wrote episodes of “The Rifleman” and “The Big Valley,” died Nov. 10 of heart failure at her home in Woodland Hills.
Born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of a naval officer, she grew up in China and traveled extensively as a child. She earned a bachelor’s degree at UCLA and, while raising a family, began her writing career with scripts for “Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater.” She also wrote for the TV westerns “The Rebel” and “The Lawman.”
As westerns waned in popularity, Armen moved on to scripting shows for such series as “Star Trek,” “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” “Cannon,” “Barnaby Jones,” “Wonder Woman,” “Land of the Lost” and “The New Daughters of Joshua Cabe” and, in the 1980s, “Flamingo Road” and “Emerald Point N.A.S.”
Late in her career, Armen turned to writing novels with “The Hanging of Father Miguel,” published in 1984. She served on the board of governors of the Television Academy and on the board of directors of the Writers Guild of America West.