Harlem Fave, The Talk Executive Producer And ‘Beloved Mama Bear’ Heather Gray Passes

Heather Gray, with her deep roots in Harlem, the Emmy Award-winning executive producer and showrunner on the CBS series The Talk, has passed at age 50 after ‘bravely battling an unforgiving disease.’

The cause of Gray’s death has not been announced, but CBS shared the heartbreaking news in a joint letter to staffers on Sunday while paying tribute to the ‘mama bear,’ reports a source

‘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,’ the statement read, according to Entertainment Tonight. ‘She was an inspiration to us all, living and thriving while bravely battling an unforgiving disease. She showed us what true courage looks like.’

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. 

The Talk is currently on summer hiatus starting on Monday, but CBS also announced that their grief resources are available for the cast and crew of the show, People reported. 

A tribute to the beloved executive producer was also shared on The Talk’s Instagram page on Sunday after her ‘unexpected passing.’

Gray, who joined The Talk in 2010 during its first season, was praised for being ‘the heart and soul’ of the show for more than a decade. 

‘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,’ the post read. 

‘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, and everyone’s favorite person on the set. We will miss her terribly.’

Actress Jenna Dewan was among the hundreds of people who took to the comment to share their condolences. 

‘I’m so sad to hear this [broken heart emoji] all my love to you all,’ she wrote. 

Singer Mark McGrath added: ‘Awww man, such a beautiful, talented and welcoming soul…sending love to my @thetalkcbs Family, may her memory always bring comfort and joy.’

A number of people were shocked by the news of Gray’s death, recalling how they had just seen or spoken to her. 

‘I’m in shock. This is heartbreaking. I just saw her while guest hosting,’ journalist David Begnaud shared. ‘She gave me a wonderful hug and was smiling ear to ear. 

‘Her energy level was a 10,’ he added. ‘She was a warrior. Her resilience and optimism inspired me. Last we spoke you said let’s do dinner next time you’re in town. I know you meant it. I wish I wouldn’t have waited to make that happen. You was a bright light. A blessing. I adored her. This is devastating. I am grateful to have met you, Heather.’ 

‘How???!? This is heartbreaking…. We just spoke last week on the show????’ Bill Bellamy commented. 

The Talk co-hosts Amanda Kloots and Akbar Gbajabiamila also paid their respects to their late colleague. 

‘An incredible woman inside and out. I will miss her greatly,’ Kloots wrote. 

‘Heather lived every day of her life that I knew her with excitement and no complaint,’ Gbajabiamila added. ‘I feel truly blessed to have been in her circle. This loss hits different. In my heart as well I’ll keep you, friend. Rest In Peace.’

Kloots opened up about the loss on her own Instagram page while sharing a few photos of Gray with the show’s hosts. 

‘Heather had been battling disease for years although you’d never know it because she never complained, was incredibly strong, always wore a smile and was always expressing a laugh. She was the boss everyone loved. A boss that was your true friend,’ she wrote. 

‘My heart is extremely heavy today. The Talk will not be the same without her. I never thought leaving work on Thursday afternoon that she wouldn’t be back at work Monday morning. It’s just heartbreaking news that makes me yet again remember how precious life is.

‘Heather, we will all miss you. You are a glorious angel in heaven now. Rest In Peace.’ 

Gray worked as a supervising producer for The Tyra Banks Show from 2006 to 2010 before joining The Talk shortly after it first aired. 

She won two Daytime Emmy Awards for her production roles on the Talk, in 2016 and 2018. She also received an NAACP Image Award in 2016. She was named an executive producer of the show in 2020.

Gray spent the last weeks of her life in Italy with her sister and her best friends from high school and college, according to Instagram.  

She shared videos of the trip, including one of her and her loved ones soaking up the sun at their villa in Rome that was posted on July 10, 2022. 

‘We laughed our a***s off. We stayed up until the wee hours catching up and looking ahead,’ she wrote. ‘We saw the sites, ate great food, swam in the sea, shopped ’til we almost dropped and of course ate delicious food. We bonded and created memories we will always cherish.’

Gray called the trip a ‘magical vacation’ in her last post on July 15, 2022. 

Photo credit: Source.

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