Karolyn Ali, Film and Music Video Producer, Dies at 70

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Karolyn Ali

An Oscar nominee for the documentary 'Tupac: Resurrection,' she was a pioneer in the field of music videos.

Karolyn Ali, an Oscar-nominated producer of the 2003 documentary Tupac: Resurrection, died on Aug. 18 of natural causes at her home in Los Angeles. She was 70.

Over the course of her career, Ali collaborated on films, documentaries, music videos and commercials, working with such performers as Stevie Wonder, Ziggy Marley, Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach. Since 2003, she had served as executive assistant to her longtime friend Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, an Academy spokesman said in announcing her death.

Ali began her career in the music industry, working for Benny Ashburn, manager of the music group The Commodores, and she also served as an executive at Dick Griffey’s S.O.L.A.R. Records, where she began working in commercial and music video production. In 1984, she founded Renge Films with Bill Parker and Peter Allen, and they went on to produce commercials for Coca-Cola and McDonalds.

A pioneer in the field of music videos, she produced more than 200 videos with Renge, including Wonder’s American Music Award-winning song and video “Part Time Lover.” Her clients ranged from Sinbad, Steele Pulse and Marley to Warwick and Bacharach. 

Along with Carolyn Pfeiffer, Ali produced produced the crime tale Kla$h, starring Jasmine Guy and Giancarlo Esposito, in 1994. She went on to join Tupac Shakur's company, Amaru Entertainment, in 2000 as a senior production executive, and in 2004, received an Oscar nomination, along with Lauren Lazin, for their doc Tupac: Resurrection, about the late rapper.

Ali earned the Lillian Gish Award from Women in Film, as well as the NAACP/Legal Defense Fund’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. She also was a founding member and board chair of Theatre of Hearts/Youth First Artists-in-Residence, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that empowers underserved youth through mentoring and fine arts educational workshops.

She is survived by her mother, Jennie Golden, sister Daaiyah Ali, niece Shebibah Ali-Birdsong and step-brother Kermit Golden

Information about services is to be announced.

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