Karolyn Ali, Oscar-Nominated Producer and Academy Exec, Dies at 70

Karolyn Ali Dead
Courtesy of the Academy of Motion Pictures

Oscar-nominated producer Karolyn Ali died of natural causes on Aug. 18 at her home in Los Angeles. She was 70.

Ali collaborated on projects ranging from film, documentaries, musicvideos and commercials for more than three decades. Since 2013, she was executive assistant to Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, who was also a longtime friend.

In her early music industry career, Ali assisted Benny Ashburn, manager of the musical group the Commodores, as well as served as an executive at Dick Griffey’s Solar Records, which was a launching pad for her career in commercial and musicvideo production.

In 1984, Ali founded Renge Films along with Bill Parker and Peter Allen, and together they went on to produce commercials for Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. She also produced more than 200 musicvideos with Renge including Stevie Wonder’s “Part Time Lover.” Her wide range of clients included Sinbad, Steele Pulse, Ziggy Marley, Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach. In 1994, Ali produced her first feature film, along with Carolyn Pfeiffer, “Kla$h,” starring Jasmine Guy and Giancarlo Esposito.

Ali joined Tupac Shakur’s company Amaru Entertainment in 2000 as senior production executive. She and Lauren Lazin were Oscar-nominated for the 2004 documentary feature “Tupac: Resurrection.”

Heavily involved in her community, Ali was a founding member and board chair of Theatre of Hearts/Youth First Artists-in-Residence, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that empowers underserved youth through mentoring and fine arts educational workshops.

The recipient of numerous honors, Ali earned the Lillian Gish Award from Women in Film, as well as the NAACP/Legal Defense Fund’s Entrepreneur of the Year award.

She is survived by her mother Jennie Golden, sister Daaiyah Ali, niece Shebibah Ali-Birdsong and step-brother Kermit Golden.

Information on services will be announced later.

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