Gretchen Wyler has died at 75 (just like Charles Nelson Reilly-- who's next?). She was an actress who left a grand Broadway musical career for a life dedicated to protecting animals and eventually became an outspoken critic of the Los Angeles Zoo.
The first female board member of The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, she founded the animal rights group the Ark Trust in 1991 as well as the Genesis Awards, which since 1986 have recognized the media and entertainment industries for incorporating animal protection themes into their work.
Tabloid Baby author Burt Kearns won a Genesis Award honor in 2000 for Hollywood Animal Crusaders, the documentary special he, Alison Holloway and Brian Wry produced for Animal Planet on a shoestring in 1999, giving the nascent network its most star-studded line-up-- and most controversial material-- to date. The story of animal rights activist Chris DeRose and his Last Chance for Animals group fetaured John Travolta, Cher, Don Johnson, Esai Morales, Rikki Rockett, Bret Michaels and Greg Louganis--among others-- a major, star-studded historic feature that premiered at a gala screening on the Paramount lot and helped launch the successful Frozen Pictures franchise.
(Hollywood Animal Crusaders was the first major TV program narrated by Tony Rodgers, who'd go on to become the most successful voice over anouncer in the business, the boice of countless movie trailers as well as the CBS and Fox networks).