Brooklyn Heights

Emmy-winning writer Martha Atwater, 48, mourned in Brooklyn. Killed when pickup truck jumped curb

February 25, 2013 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Services Set in Brooklyn Heights Friday

Brooklyn is mourning the tragic death of Emmy-award winning TV writer and producer Martha Carr Atwater, 48, killed on February 22 when an out-of-control pickup truck struck her as she stepped out of a café at the corner of Clinton Street and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights.

The truck jumped the curb just after Ms. Atwater left the Bagel Cafe at 5:40 p.m. There is “no suspected criminality” in the incident, an NYPD spokesperson told the Brooklyn Eagle. The driver stayed at the scene of the crash. Atwater was taken to University Hospital of Brooklyn at Long Island College Hospital (LICH) where she was pronounced DOA.

Ms. Atwater, who produced such familiar children’s television shows as “Clifford The Big Red Dog,” and “Goosebumps” was married to Tom Wallack and had two young daughters. She had just bought cookies for the family at the café.

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Her death is a “tremendous loss for Brooklyn,” said fellow Brooklyn mom Karen Auster.

“Martha was an integral part of the sisterhood of mothers in Downtown Brooklyn. The entire neighborhood has been affected, it’s a nightmare realized — she went to pick up cookies for her kids and she never returned.

“She was enormously loved by her friends, family and community.”

Ms. Atwater, a Princeton University graduate, was an experienced television producer, writer, branding strategist and creative executive, with screen credits on over 200 half-hours of live-action and animated programming for children and families. She was also the author and co-author of several books for children.

As VP of the Entertainment Media Group at children’s publisher Scholastic Inc., she adapted best-selling book series into films and TV franchises. Besides “Clifford The Big Red Dog” and “Goosebumps,” her producing credits include “Animorphs,” “I-Spy,” “Dear America,” “Horrible Histories,” “Baby-sitters Club” and “Stellaluna.”

As a writer, Atwater’s credits include “Word World” where she was part of the team that won an Emmy for Best Writing, the popular “Arthur” and the UK series “Big and Small” which won a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts ) for Best Children’s Series in 2009. She was also nominated for Emmys for Outstanding Writing in Animation in three consecutive years, 2001 – 2003, for her work on “Clifford The Big Red Dog.”  

Among her other awards are a Humanitas Prize in the Children’s Animation Category for “A New Friend — Clifford The Big Red Dog” in 2001; and a Daytime Emmy Award for Best Writing Team in Children’s Series for “Word World” in 2009. More recently, she launched her own blog (

Last year she founded her own company, Oxymoron Print Media. On her LinkedIn page, Atwater listed her work credo as “Fast, Funny, Flexible.”

Deeply involved in the local community, Atwater was on the board of the Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA) and was a member of the Heights Casino.

Jane McGroarty, BHA president, said in a statement on Monday, “The Board of the Brooklyn Heights Association is profoundly saddened by the death of our fellow Board Member, Martha Atwater. Martha joined the Board in 2010 and quickly impressed us all with her thoughtfulness, energy and sharp humor. Her exceptional writing ability was an invaluable asset to us. For several years she wrote delightful house descriptions for the BHA House Tour brochure; in addition to the more mundane task of taking Board minutes as our Secretary.

“We could count on Martha to ask the question that was on everyone’s mind but most were afraid to ask. She was everything a Board member should be and at the same time, she made our Board meetings fun and interesting.  

“Martha was devoted mother to her two daughters – Chloe and Olivia and a loving wife to her husband, Tom Wallack.  To them we can only say, thank you for sharing this wonderful person with us.”

Martha Carr Atwater was born in Rochester, NY, on April 30, 1964, daughter of Julian and the late Patricia Carr Atwater of Rochester. Besides her husband of 19 years, Thomas Peter Wallack, and two children, Chloe and Olivia, she is survived by sister Sarah Mayer of Scarborough, NY. and her husband Robert, and brothers John Atwater of Potomac, MD with his wife Mary, and Stephen Atwater of Walnut Creek, CA, with his wife Leslie, and four nieces and three nephews.

Church service will be held Friday, March 1, at 3:30 p.m. at Grace Church, 254 Hicks St, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to The Packer Collegiate Institute, in memory of Martha Atwater, 170 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 or

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