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Anna Shay, fan favourite on ‘Bling Empire,’ dead at 62

Published:Tuesday | June 6, 2023 | 1:22 AM
This image released by Netflix shows Anna Shay in a scene from the series ‘Bling Empire’.
This image released by Netflix shows Anna Shay in a scene from the series ‘Bling Empire’.


Anna Shay, an heiress, philanthropist and breakout star of the Netflix reality series Bling Empire, has died at 62.

Shay died from a stroke, according to a family statement provided to AP on Monday. It was not immediately clear when she died.

“It saddens our hearts to announce that Anna Shay, a loving mother, grandmother, charismatic star, and our own brightest ray of sunshine, has passed away,” the family said. “Anna taught us many life lessons on how not to take life too seriously and to enjoy the finer things. Her impact on our lives will be forever missed but never forgotten.”

Shay, a Los Angeles socialite, amassed a fortune after she and her brother sold their father’s company, Pacific Architects and Engineers, after his death.

She told in a 2021 interview she had no idea what she was getting into when she joined the cast of Bling Empire, which chronicled the lives of ultra wealthy Angelenos of Asian descent.

Originally, Shay thought her friend and executive producer on the series, Jeff Jenkins, wanted her to work behind the scenes.

“The next thing I knew, I was sitting in front of the camera. I’m really quite shy, so it was hard. I never thought about doing this, especially at my age,” she said.

The series drew comparisons to the blockbuster film Crazy Rich Asians. The series premièred in 2021 and was recently cancelled after three seasons.

Shay, a fan favourite on the show, was a fixture in Los Angeles high society. She was the only daughter of Edward Shay, the American billionaire founder of the defence and government services contractor, and Ai-San, his half-Japanese, half-Russian wife.

Shay said in the Oprah interview that her mother once told her, “You were born in a crystal ball with a silver spoon.’”

The reality star was born and raised in Japan. Her only son, Kenny Kemp, earned himself a bit of the spotlight as well, briefly appearing on the series and amassing a huge collection of pricey bongs, according to BuzzFeed News.