The theater lights got a little dimmer when Jay Thomas, 65, of Leona Valley, Calif., died peacefully at home on March 29, 2023, after a two-year battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife Janice, son Bryce Thomas, and daughter Brooke Enriquez (Sebastyan), his sister Pat Thomas, and a wide circle of family members, friends, and colleagues.
Jay was a respected veteran of the California and national entertainment scene. As Vice President and General Manager of the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, he oversaw the booking and venue management for thousands of performances, including every Academy Awards show from 2001 to 2022. Jay joined the executive team at the theater even before its construction started, having previously been a part of the team overseeing the construction and management of The Staples Center in Los Angeles.
He was hard-working, innovative, and smart, but Jay’s family and friends will remember him best for his quick wit and unrivaled ability to tell a great story (some of which could even be told in public). In 2019, Jay was named a “Hero of Hollywood” by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for his service and commitment. He was a longtime member of the International Association of Venue Managers, and he actively promoted several charitable causes, most notably Stand Up to Cancer.
Jay was devoted to his wife and children, taking special joy in showing off his short-order cook skills at breakfast or planning travel adventures. There was not a sport he would not watch, and he was a sneakily accomplished left-handed golfer and tennis player. Within the family, he earned a reputation for choosing offbeat names for the variety of indoor and outdoor animals who shared their property.
A native of Cleveland, Jay was a proud graduate of Ohio University and an even prouder alumnus of The Ohio University “Marching 110,” for which he played trumpet and danced like a maniac. He graduated with a degree in music education, but Jay found his true calling in venue management at the University of Texas Austin and later at San Diego State University.
If you would like to make a memorial donation - Jay's favorite charities were Stand Up to Cancer and The Painted Turtle.
Arrangements are pending.
Jay's memorial will be held at the Dolby Theatre in late May. Please see his tribute at https://dolbytheatre.com/jay-thomas