The television producer helped raise millions of dollars in a national campaign against breast cancer after learning she had the disease.
@nytimesarts: Noreen Fraser, a television producer who led a public fight against cancer, dies at 63
Noreen Fraser, a television producer who used her broadcasting skills to raise money and public awareness in a national campaign against breast cancer, died on Monday at her home in Brentwood, Calif., more than 15 years after she learned she had the disease. She was 63.
Her death, caused by the cancer, was confirmed by her publicist, Jennifer Styles.
Ms. Fraser was a founder and producer of “Stand Up to Cancer,” a telethon for women’s cancer research. She sought to coordinate competing experiments and treatment programs; started a Men for Women Now campaign to alert women to early detection and prevention; and established a foundation to fund research into all tumors that are unique to women.
The foundation evolved into the Noreen Fraser Fund for Women’s Cancer Research at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of California, Los Angeles.
“I have made cancer my business,” Ms. Fraser said.
Ms. Fraser was a producer of “Entertainment Tonight,” ABC’s “Home Show” and “The Richard Simmons Show.” She received her breast cancer diagnosis in 2001, when she was 46; within two years it had metastasized into her bones and liver. While being treated she survived with Stage 4 cancer for more than 16 years.
“She didn’t know if she’d see her children graduate from grade school, then high school, then college,” her husband, the TV producer Woody Fraser, told The Los Angeles Times. “She did, but not her daughter’s upcoming wedding.”
Ms. Fraser founded the Noreen Fraser Foundation in 2006; two years later the Entertainment Industry Foundation broadcast the first of five “Stand Up to Cancer” telethons, which was said to have raised $100 million alone.
The telethon was broadcast simultaneously on ABC, NBC, CBS and abroad. The hosts were three network news figures, Katie Couric of CBS, Brian Williams of NBC and Charles Gibson of ABC, each of whom had an immediate family member who had died of cancer.
Subsequent telethons, which were shown on cable channels as well as on major networks, were broadcast in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.
The idea of setting aside an hour of prime time to raise money for cancer had originated with several people in the broadcasting and film industries.
While receiving chemotherapy, Ms. Fraser asked her doctor to introduce her to another breast cancer patient, Laura Ziskin, a movie producer who had the “Spider-Man” franchise and “Pretty Woman” among her credits. Ms. Fraser suggested a cable television special to raise money for cancer research and awareness.
“I’m frustrated by the pace of new therapies to save my life and other people’s lives,” she recalled.
A larger group coalesced, including Sherry Lansing, a former chief executive of Paramount Pictures; Lisa Paulsen, the president and chief executive of the Entertainment Industry Foundation; Ellen Ziffren, a philanthropist, and her husband, Ken, an entertainment lawyer; and Ann Sweeney, the president of the Disney-ABC Television Group.
Their efforts eventually melded with those of Ms. Couric, who had used her television platform to raise awareness, to say nothing of millions of dollars, for colon cancer, which claimed her husband, Jay Monahan, in 1998.
Ms. Ziskin died in 2011 at 61.
Noreen Friend was born on Dec. 6, 1953, in Cleveland, the daughter of Fred Friend, a lawyer, and the former Jackie Kofron.
She graduated from the University of Dayton in Ohio and received a master’s degree in television and communications from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by her parents; her children, Madeline and Mack Fraser; and her siblings, Laura Barney, Lucy Hutchison, Bridget Laurin and Colleen, Buzz, Cooper, Bill and Patrick Friend.