Suzanne Patmore Gibbs, a widely respected TV development executive who shepherded “Grey’s Anatomy” during her time at ABC and most recently headed Sony Pictures TV’s TriStar TV banner, died Thursday after complications from minor surgery. She was 50.
Patmore Gibbs died early Thursday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
“All of us at Sony Pictures Television were touched by Suzanne’s passion and friendship. She was a wonderful colleague and friend to all who worked with her,” Sony TV chiefs Jeff Frost, Chris Parnell and Jason Clodfelter said in a memo to Sony staffers. “She will be greatly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this difficult time.”
Patmore Gibbs had not been known to be facing health problems. Frost, Parnell and Clodfelter said in the memo that the news of her death was “a shock to all of us and we are heartbroken.”
Patmore Gibbs was well known in the TV industry and well regarded as a champion of distinctive writers and as an executive who nurtured younger and less experienced TV writers. In the early 2000s, that list included then-TV newcomer Shonda Rhimes. Rhimes credited Patmore Gibbs as “the first exec to say ‘Maybe Shonda could write a TV show’ ” in a tweet paying tribute to the executive.
She was my very first champion at ABC Studios, the first exec to say "maybe Shonda could write a TV show." Then she fought like hell to get us the chance to make the Grey's Anatomy pilot. No way to describe this loss. https://t.co/QeZddIHZIF
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) March 29, 2018
Patmore Gibbs was also known for her efforts to mentor and aid women in the industry. She was part of a close-knit group of working mothers who took regular camping trips together and arranged other excursions with their children. She was a bubbly personality with a bright smile and endless enthusiasm for her work.
At TriStar, Patmore Gibbs was the executive behind the Amazon drama “Good Girls Revolt,” revolving around women working in the magazine industry in the 1970s. The series generated a small but fervent fan base that spurred much outrage on social media when the show was canceled after one season.
Patmore Gibbs most recently served as exec vp of original series for TriStar Television. She joined Sony TV in 2012 as exec VP of drama development. Before Sony, she had a long run at Disney/ABC, starting out in drama development at the Touchstone Television studio. She moved to ABC in 2004 to head drama development.
Among the many shows Patmore Gibbs shepherded during her time at ABC and Touchstone were “Lost,” Grey’s Anatomy,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Ugly Betty,” “Private Practice,” “Scandal,” “Once Upon a Time,” and “Castle.” At Sony TV, she steered NBC’s “The Blacklist,” Starz’s “Outlander,” Showtime’s “Masters of Sex,” and Netflix’s “Bloodline” and “The Get Down.” In 2015, Sony TV leaders tapped Patmore Gibbs to head the revived TriStar TV label designed to function as a boutique label within the larger studio operation.
Earlier in her career Patmore Gibbs worked for producer Mark Gordon at Mutual Film Co., and for Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick at the pair’s Bedford Falls production banner.
Patmore Gibbs’ survivors include her husband, novelist Stuart Gibbs, and two young children, son Dashiell and daughter Violet. She is also survived by her parents and a brother.
The family requests that donations be made to Children’s Institute, a Los Angeles-based advocacy org for children in foster care, and to Girls Inc., the non-profit org that helps girls develop business and managerial skills. Patmore Gibbs was a longtime supporter of Girls Inc.
Patmore Gibbs graduated from Pomona College in 1989 with a degree in English literature. After college, she served a fellowship with Seattle Repertory Theatre. From 1999-2002 she served as an adjunct professor of screenwriting at USC.
A public funeral service will be held for Gibbs on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Memorial Park’s Hall of Liberty. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Children’s Institute, Inc. or Girls, Inc.