2ND UPDATE: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition host Ty Pennington was among Denise Cramsey’s closest industry friends. He worked with her on two series, Trading Spaces and EMHE. The note he sent today to the EMHE crew is below.
UPDATE: Cheryl Hines, who executive produced NBC’s reality series School Pride with Cramsey, weighs in on Cramsey’s passing below.
9:30 AM: Emmy-winning reality TV producer Denise Cramsey died of a brain aneurysm while exercising yesterday. She was 41. She most recently executive produced the school makeover series School Pride, which airs Fridays on NBC. Cramsey, who had a first-look deal with Warner Horizon, previously created, executive produced and ran the ABC primetime reality series True Beauty alongside Tyra Banks and Ashton Kutcher. Earlier this year, she exec-produced the Jeff Probst/Mark Burnett special Live For The Moment. An impressive track record with TLC led her to take the helm of Trading Spaces for over 100 episodes. She moved from Philadelphia to Los Angeles in 2003 and helped produce USA’s House Wars, Bravo’s Manhunt, and ABC’s long-running Extreme Makeover: Home Edition where she rose to executive producer/showrunner. She received 4 Emmy nominations, 2 Emmy wins, and a Producers’ Guild Nomination. Cramsey also recently produced her first feature, a documentary entitled Expedition Inspiration which tells the story of the non-profit group that takes breast cancer survivors up mountains after their treatment.
Ty Pennington’s e-mail to the crew:
As you all know I was very close to Denise. She was like a sister, a mom, a best friend. Just when you thought you were at the end of your rope, she would make a comment that made you laugh but keep going. She believed in Extreme Makeover: Home Edition because the over all outcome was REAL. No matter how much behind the scenes crap was going on, she knew what we did mattered. I will never forget her first time as EP on the show in New Orleans. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. She never slept, she never cried and she never gave up. To rally the team, her and (story producer) Robin (Samuels) played John Belushi’s “When the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor” speech from Animal House over the speakers from Wexler.
I have never met a stronger, more determined person with a heart that loved EVERYONE. She took the time to appreciate who you were as a person. There are people you meet in life that change you. Denise Cramsey made me a better man because she forced me to believe in myself the way she believed in me. For those of us who knew her, let’s consider ourselves damn lucky and never forget her strength, spirit and her laugh.
This holiday raise a glass, give a hug, and laugh out loud …and GIVE THANKS that our lives are better because she was is in it. She will always be my team leader.”
Cheryl Hines’ statement:
I am overcome by the loss of Denise Cramsey. She was a talented, strong, inspirational woman. I only hope her family can find some comfort in knowing that she gave thousands of children hope and happiness with the exceptional work she did on School Pride. When I think of Denise, I remember her surrounded by the friends she loved to work with, laughing at the little, unexpected moments most might have overlooked.
Here is a statement by Cramsey’s agency WME, which confirmed her death this morning:
It is with tremendous sadness that the immediate and extended family of Denise Cramsey is confirming her death yesterday due to a brain aneurysm suffered in the morning. At Denise’s side were her fiancé Scott, best friend Risa and brother Billy. Continuing the spirit of charity and kindness that embodied Denise, her organs will be donated. We thank everybody for their thoughts and prayers and words cannot express our sadness with the loss of Denise.
Warner Horizon and NBC also issued statements mourning Cramsey’s passing:
“Denise was an amazing and deeply committed producer, an Emmy winner who passionately cared about all the projects she worked on. She was an inspiration to many, whether it was from her professional work to improve public schools, help those in need or raise money for breast cancer research, or her personal love of scaling the mountains of the world,” Warner Horizon’s statement reads.
Said NBC, “Cramsey was not only a friend and colleague, she was a respected producer and passionate about her craft.”