Heather Gray, executive producer and showrunner on The Talk, died Saturday in Los Angeles after battling an undisclosed illness. She was 50.
The CBS daytime talk show issued a statement on Gray’s passing on Instagram over the weekend, saying she was admired and beloved by the staff.
“It is with heavy hearts to share the unexpected passing of our beloved Heather Gray,” the statement read. “Heather has been the heart and soul of The Talk from day one. Her brilliance as an innovative producer was only outmatched by her huge smile and infectious laugh.”
The statement went on to say Gray was “an admired, beloved mama bear of our family and a leader that all looked up to.”
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Gray died from an “unforgiving disease,” CBS told The Hollywood Reporter, without elaborating on the specific illness.
She joined The Talk as a senior supervising producer during the show’s first season in 2010, and was promoted to executive producer in August 2019.
Among her other credits, she served as a development producer at Endemol USA for a year, and as a supervising producer on The Tyra Banks Show from 2006 to 2010, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Gray picked up her first Daytime Emmy Award when The Tyra Banks Show won outstanding informative talk show in 2009. After joining The Talk, she took home two more Daytime Emmys in 2016 and 2018 for outstanding entertainment talk show.
CBS executives sent a letter The Talk staff on Sunday describing Gray as an inspiration. The letter was signed by CBS President and CEO George Cheeks, CBS Studios President David Stapf, CBS Network Entertainment President Kelly Kahl, CBS Network Entertainment Senior Executive VP Programming Thom Sherman, CBS Network Entertainment Executive VP Current Programs Amy Reisenbach and CBS Network Entertainment Senior VP Daytime Programs Laurie Seidman. Read the letter below.
Dear Talk Family,
On behalf of all of us at CBS, we want to extend our deep condolences to you for the painful loss of our beloved Heather. She was an inspiration to us all, living and thriving while bravely battling an unforgiving disease. She showed us what true courage looks like.
Heather has been the heart and soul of “The Talk” from day one. Her brilliance as an innovative producer was only outmatched by her huge smile and infectious laugh. She was an admired, beloved mama bear of your family and a leader that all looked up to. Her contributions to the success of the show are immeasurable, but more importantly, she was a boss that proved you can lead with kindness, caring and friendship. Heather was everyone’s friend, everyone’s champion, everyone’s favorite person on the set. We will miss her terribly.
We recognize and share the pain and shock you are feeling at this moment, as well as the grief you will feel in the days ahead. While the show is starting its hiatus as of August 1 (Monday), we do not want you to grieve and mourn alone. The set will be open, and HR will have staff and grief counseling available in person and by phone. HR support will be on site as well. We understand how difficult this will be for all of you and want you to all know, that we are here for you.
George, Kelly, David, Thom, Amy, Laurie