Known for her career as an actress and then as a VP at MGM Television Production Group, Marrissa O’Leary died October 2 in Palm Desert, CA, after a long battle with endometrial cancer, Deadline has learned. She was 61.
O’Leary was a performer and enjoyed all aspects of production, working with talent and protecting them. She acted in film and TV, and as a singer was a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and had a one-woman cabaret act that played to sold-out crowds throughout Los Angeles. In addition, her voice-over scream was used in Jaws 3-D.
She received her master’s degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine and worked as Brandon Tartikoff’s comedy development executive, as well as on various series and movies of the week with The Landsburg Company. She rose in the ranks and became VP Talent and Program Negotiations, then VP Business Affairs and Administration at MGM Worldwide Television Production Group.
She eventually created her own talent management and production company, Wackiland Productions. The company had a first-look deal with a division of Paramount and had the tagline: “Better living through giggles” — which was also her personal mantra. She was also a Board Member of the Hollywood political and social action group “Young Artists United.”
O’Leary is survived by her sister, Priscilla; as well as her beloved family of friends and clients. A private memorial has been planned. O’Leary was the COO of the Marina de Rey-based non-profit Hounds and Heroes, which will be the charity for her memorial fund.