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Beloved Entertainment Tonight producer Bonnie Tiegel died Monday following a battle with cancer. She was 67.
An ET spokesman confirmed her passing, telling The Hollywood Reporter that the entire ET family is mourning the loss “of our dear friend and colleague.” No other personal details, including her age, were offered. She was described in a 2011 THR feature about ET as “one of the show’s most admired newshounds,” and was honored with four Emmy Awards during her insider career.
“For over 20 years, Bonnie has been the heart and soul of our show and a respected member of the Hollywood community,” the spokesman added in a statement. “Her energy, laughter and love will be immensely missed by all who knew her.”
A post on the ET website Monday morning called Tiegel a “mainstay of our show for decades,” someone who tackled celebrity news with “joy and verve.” “Her exuberant personality will be profoundly missed not only by those of us who worked with her daily, but by those who encountered her over the years on the red carpet, at awards shows and behind the scenes at every event that matters to the entertainment industry,” reads the post.
In the days leading up to her passing, Tiegel was receiving visitors at a local Los Angeles hospital where she was surrounded by family and friends. Social media was flooded by posts of love and support from veteran entertainment publicists and colleagues with whom she worked closely during her career. A tribute page also popped up, offering updates on her condition and a place to post messages and photos, many of which included the hashtag #TeamBonnieT.
Longtime ET host Mary Hart tells THR: “Bonnie Tiegel was always a joy in my life as a friend and professional. I never saw Bonnie without a smile on her face. At award shows she always had a cell in each ear. I will miss her so, so much.”
In addition to her work on ET, Tiegel’s other credits include Vicki Lawrence’s talk show Vicki! and the TV documentaries The Bat, the Cat, and the Penguin and Robin Hood: The Myth, the Man and the Movie.
Says Lawrence: “Just looked up the definition of Bonnie in the dictionary. Gay, merry, cheerful, blithe, beautiful, frolicsome. How did her mother know exactly what to name our Bonnie? ‘Tutu,’ you are my favorite producer ever, a giant burst of fun and energy, an unstoppable spirit. I have not been a diligent enough friend and it just sucks that this has happened while my back was turned.”
In May 2015, Tiegel was honored with the Phenomenal Woman Media Award for her feature series on YWCA GLA’s campaign to end domestic human sex trafficking. (Hart was on hand to present the trophy.) Praised as a longtime advocate of women’s rights, Tiegel said when accepting the award that she felt lucky to be able to tell stories on TV about people and their humanity.
“It’s a very important task that we really don’t take lightly, and should not. Not only are we here to entertain, but we also have a responsibility — and I feel that responsibility in the media -— to educate and give meaning to people’s lives through the stories that we tell,” she said at the time.
Tiegel is survived by her husband of 44 years, Eliot; son Kenny; and three granddaughters.
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