Julia Dray, Entertainment Executive and Producer of Broken Lizard Films, Dies at 56

She worked on movies including 'Half Baked,' 'Dirty Work' and 'Diary of a Mad Black Woman.'

Julia Dray, an executive at Disney, Fox Searchlight and Broken Lizard and a producer on comedy films including Dave Chappelle's Half Baked and Norm Macdonald's Dirty Work, has died. She was 56.

Dray died Sunday in Los Angeles after a long illness, friend Christina Kounelias, president of worldwide marketing at Participant, told The Hollywood Reporter.

In 2006, Dray joined Broken Lizard — founded by Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske and best known for Super Trooper (2001) — and helped with a slate of projects for the company's first-look deal with Warner Bros.

During her stint with Broken Lizard and then as the head of her own consulting business, J Dray Productions, she executive produced The Slammin' Salmon (2009), starring Michael Clarke Duncan, the Chandrasekhar-directed The Babymakers (2012), starring Olivia Munn, and Freeloaders (2012), starring Josh Lawson.

Born in Deerfield, Massachusetts, Dray graduated from Brown University in 1986. She served as a Disney creative executive from 1993 to 1996, working on projects that included the two Mighty Ducks films released in 1994 and 1996, Angels in the Outfield (1994) and That Darn Cat (1997).

She joined the Robert Simonds Co., where she produced Half Baked (1998), directed by Tamra Davis; Dirty Work (1998), helmed by Bob Saget; Screwed (2000), written and directed by Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander; and Head Over Heels (2001), helmed by Mark Waters.

Dray was president of production at Horseshoe Bay Productions, which had a first-look deal at Disney, from 1999 to 2001, then worked from 2002 to 2004 as a senior vp at Fox Searchlight, where she managed the acquisition of the Sundance hit Garden State (2004), helped bring Tyler Perry's first feature, Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005), from the stage to the big screen and oversaw The Ringer (2005), starring Johnny Knoxville.

She came to Broken Lizard after a year at Mosaic Media Group and also worked at Gold/Miller.

Survivors include her parents and four siblings.