Longtime entertainment executive Barbara Dunn-Leonard died in her sleep from natural causes on Nov. 9. She was 60.
Dunn-Leonard worked in senior management at Ralph Edwards Productions (REP) from 1983 until her retirement in 2009. She was best known for co-producing “The People’s Court” with Stu Billet Productions and for working in the early days of the radio and television industries, including her work on shows such as “Truth or Consequences.”
During her 26-year tenure at REP, Dunn-Leonard held a variety of roles, most recently as president. She served at the company as director of development of programming and marketing; producer of TV shows and live events; and manager of REP’s library. Additionally, she held the position of co-executive producer for a series of “This is Your Life” NBC specials as well as “This is Your Life: The Classics” a 52-episode reprise for AMC. She also served as co-executive producer/producer of the 1997 animated film “Annabelle’s Wish.”
From 2000 to 2007, Dunn-Leonard developed and oversaw WishWorks, a project she founded to support the activation of the United Auto Workers/General Motors’ national sponsorship of the Make-a-Wish Foundation of America which, at the time, was the largest in its history. The sponsorship and cause marketing campaign spawned extensive awareness for both the charity and UAW-GM, raising more than $27 million — enough money to grant over 10,000 wishes in communities countrywide for children fighting life-threatening illnesses. A dedicated member of Women in Film, she also spearheaded GM’s sponsorship of the organization from 2005 to 2007 and assisted in the launch of initiatives including the Latina Filmmakers Grant.
Dunn-Leonard’s career in the industry started with her position as an entertainment booker and agent for live venues representing Knott’s Berry Farm and artists such as Alabama, John Denver, Dan Fogelberg, and Dick Clark’s “Good ‘ol Rock ‘n’ Roll Show.” She graduated from USC with a B.A. degree in public relations and journalism. Professionally, she maintained associations with WIF, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
Survivors include her children, Katie and Jeff.
A service will be held at 2 p.m. on Dec. 17 at Acheson and Graham Garden of Prayer Mortuary in Riverside, Calif., followed by a celebration of life at 5 p.m. at the Mission Inn Hotel.