Denise DuBarry Hay, a staunch advocate of the film industry in the Coachella Valley, died Saturday at UCLA Medical Center after battling a deadly fungus. She was 63 and her death was confirmed by her husband, Bill Hay.
DuBarry Hay began her career as an actress, apppearing in the TV series Black Sheep Squadron and CHiPs, as well as the film “Being There.”
But the business world was calling, and in 1990 she co-founded Thane International, a global direct response company, with husband, Bill Hay. The company was formed after Denise produced an infomercial in 1987 for a video, “Play the Piano Overnight.” The video became the basis for an “Overnight Music” series for Thane.
After selling Thane International, the Hays started Kaswit, Inc., an incubator for home and health products, including the book “Don Sullivan’s Secrets to Training the Perfect Dog” and training accessories.
In 1998, she was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and in 2000 Response Magazine included her in its list of the “21 People Leading Us Into the 21st Century.”
DuBarry became one of the leading philanthropists in the Coachella Valley, helping the Olive Crest nonprofit for abused and at-risk children. She was also a founder and president of the Palm Springs Women in Film and Television, working to separate the Coachella Valley as a film market for producers.
But she also kept her acting roots. She executive produced and acted in a film screened at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Walk to Vegas, produced by Kim Waltrip.
Survivors include her husband, Bill, and son, Adam; her parents, Pete DuBarry and Betty DuBarry Stein; and children Samantha Lockwood of Honolulu, Kyle Hay of Orange County, and Whitney Hay, a USC student; and three sisters, Audrey Walter, Diana DuBarry and Suzanne DuBarry, and two grandchildren.
A private celebration of life will be held in April, according to her husband.