Margaret Riley, the respected agent, manager and Lighthouse Management & Media partner who served as a producer on the Fox News drama Bombshell, has died. She was 58.
Riley died Tuesday at her home in Brentwood after a private battle with ovarian cancer, her friends Lainie Becky and Matthew Weinberg told The Hollywood Reporter.
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Riley was a talent/literary manager at Brillstein Entertainment Partners from October 2006 through March 2016, when she joined Lighthouse Management & Media, which had just been launched by founder and CEO Aleen Keshishian.
“We are devastated by the loss of our colleague and friend Margaret Riley, who was a passionate advocate and champion for artists,” Keshishian said. “We share our deepest condolences and love with her family, friends and clients.”
Riley’s current and former clients over the years have included actors Mark Ruffalo and Bridget Moynahan; CSI creator Anthony Zuiker; directors Susanna Fogel, Stella Meghie and RJ Cutler; documentarian Joe Berlinger; and screenwriters Charles Randolph, Ann Cherkis, Margaret Nagle, Matthew Carnahan and Alex Tse.
Riley produced Lionsgate’s Bombshell (2019), starring Charlize Theron (as Megyn Kelly), Nicole Kidman (as Gretchen Carlson) and Margot Robbie (as Kayla Pospisil), directed by Jay Roach and written by Randolph.
“This is about women not feeling safe at work and being minimized by men in many ways, and that’s why we were all drawn … to telling a story like this,” she said in a 2019 interview.
“Professionally, Margaret devoted her life to making the voices of others a little more heard and as a result, she helped people everywhere feel a little less alone,” Becky and Weinberg said in a statement. “Above all, Margaret was a passionate advocate for good, and she served this mission in her every action.
“As a manager, a win for a client invariably was met with Margaret’s vibrant smile and an affirmation that she always had known they were a star. When a client faced disappointment, Margaret’s smile offered comfort as she reminded them that ‘rejection is protection’ and continued her diligent pursuit of their next opportunity to shine.”
Riley also received executive producer credit on the films Gray Matters (2006) and the Edward Zwick-directed Love & Other Drugs (2010), on the 2020 Ryan Murphy series Ratched at Netflix and on the 2021 Apple TV+ documentary Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry.
Riley graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism, then moved to Los Angeles to attend film school at the AFI.
She served as director of development for Tim Disney’s Virtual World Entertainment, a gaming/interactive company, and developed science-fiction properties into films at New Line Cinema during her tenure.
In 1995, she joined Industry Entertainment (formerly Addis/Wechsler) as an assistant — she helped out producer Nick Wechsler on the 1997 film Love Jones — then was promoted to manager.
She opened her own company, Margaret Riley Management in 2002 before segueing to Brillstein.
Riley served on the board of Proclaim Justice, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide legal support to wrongfully convicted incarcerates.
Survivors include her children, daughter Dylan, 14, and son Will, 10; and her mother, Doris.
Riley “enjoyed a zest for extensive travel, rich spiritual life, the outdoors, the city of New Orleans, animal rescue and a wide circle of beloved friends,” her friends said.
A memorial service/celebration of life is being planned for next week.
Degen Pener contributed to this report.
11:10 a.m. A previous version of this obituary incorrectly stated that Riley was a co-founder of Lighthouse.
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