Darcie Denkert, Broadway Producer and MGM Executive, Dies at 64

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Darcie Denkert

As head of MGM On Stage, she helped turn movie properties like 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' and 'Legally Blonde' into vibrant stage productions.

Darcie Denkert, a longtime MGM executive and former co-president of the studio's successful MGM On Stage theater division, has died. She was 64.

Denkert died Thursday at her home in West Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer, publicist Gene Schwam said.

A native of New York, Denkert began her career as a theatrical lawyer involved in Broadway and off-Broadway productions and joined the legal department of MGM sister studio United Artists in 1976 as the studio's first female lawyer.

Denkert rose through the ranks and in January 2002 was promoted to president of the newly formed MGM Entertainment Business Group. As part of that, she was put in charge of MGM on Stage, created to capitalize on licensing and development opportunities for studio properties as stage productions.

She then produced such Broadway shows as Dirty Rotten Scoundrels — a Tony Award nominee for best musical — and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 2005, Legally Blonde in 2007, Promises, Promises in 2010 and Priscilla Queen of the Desert in 2011. Several of the productions also played the West End in London.

Denkert shared the top MGM On Stage post with friend Dean Stolber until her retirement in December 2012.

In 2005, she published A Fine Romance, which chronicled the relationship between Hollywood and Broadway. All royalties from the book were donated to the Motion Picture & Television Fund and The Actors Fund.

A Fine Romance became the foundation for an annual musical fundraiser produced by MPTF to celebrate the intersection of Broadway and Hollywood and raise millions of dollars for the charity. She also served as a director of the MPTF.

Survivors include her husband Shelby, mother Renee, stepdaughter Michelle and four stepchildren from her previous marriage to Allen Susman, a founding partner of the law firm Rosenfeld, Meyer and Susman who died in January 2007.

A funeral service was held Monday at Hillside Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

Donations can be made to the CPMC Foundation/Notkin Family Breast Cancer Recovery Program or JCCF Simms/Mann Center.

Updated at 1:15 p.m. on June 14 to fix Denkert's age and where she died.