Darcie Denkert, a longtime MGM/United Artists executive and pioneer for women in entertainment law, has died. She was 64. Her family said she died June 9 at her home in West Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer.
Denkert started out as a Broadway theater lawyer in New York but spent most of her career at United Artists and its successor company MGM. She was the first female lawyer at UA when she joined the company in 1976 and went on to hold various senior business and legal affairs positions there and at MGM. She spent about a quarter-century at MGM/UA, outside a short stint at ICM and Embassy Pictures in the mid-1980s.
In 2002, Denkert and her longtime business associate and friend Dean Stolber formed MGM on Stage, which aimed to tap MGM’s film library for the theatrical world. The duo produced 10 shows using the library, creating Broadway’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (2005), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (2005), Legally Blonde (2007) and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (2011), along with producing the 2010 revival of Promises, Promises. The success of MGM on Stage inspired many other studios to take their films to Broadway.
In 2005, Denkert wrote A Fine Romance: Hollywood/Broadway (The Magic, The Mayhem, The Musicals), a text on the great Main Stem shows and their translation to the screen. She donated all of the royalties from the book 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.
Denkert was a board member of MPTF for five years and in 2002 became the chair of its Case Committee, where all key decisions about charitable support for industry members are adjudicated.
Denkert is survived by her husband, Shelby Notkin; her mother Renee; stepdaughter Michelle; a step-grandson and four step-children from her first marriage to Allen Susman, who died in 2007. She was buried June 13 at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City.
Her family requests that donations be made to the CPMC Foundation/Notkin Family Breast Cancer Recovery Program or JCCF Simms/Mann Center.