September 24, 2023

Billionaire ‘Bling Empire’ heiress Anna Shay dies. She turned 62

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12: Anna Shay attends the Season 2 launch party for Netflix's

“Bling Empire” billionaire heiress Anna Shay passed away Monday after suffering a stroke. She turned 62. (Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images)

“Bling Empire” star Anna Shay has passed away unexpectedly. The 62-year-old reality TV star suffered a stroke on Monday.

A Netflix representative confirmed Shay’s death to The Times.

“We are saddened to announce that Anna Shay, a loving mother, grandmother, charismatic star and our brightest ray of sunshine, has passed away at the age of 62 from a stroke,” her family told The Times in a statement.

“Anna taught us many life lessons 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 appeared on Netflix’s “Bling Empire” when the reality series premiered in 2021. Shay, a billionaire heiress whose parents made their wealth in arms and defense technology trading, was the wealthiest of the cast members. Known for her sharp one-liners, she was a fan favorite, with “Best Burn” roles devoted to her savage humor.

Her American father, Edward Shay, who founded global defense contractor Pacific Architects and Engineers, met her part-Japanese, part-Russian mother, Ai Oizumi Shay, in Japan, and together they moved from Japan to Los Angeles when Shay was a child . – together with her pet monkey.

Shay’s father died in 1995 and her mother in 2015.

Partly because of her unique upbringing, and partly because Shay believed in taking advantage of everything life had to offer, she had a wealth of stories and talents that she had acquired over the course of her extravagant life. She could fly a helicopter and complete a military obstacle course. She learned to speak Spanish so she could lead a Cuban salsa band, and took to the walls of her Sunset Boulevard estate with a sledgehammer, insisting that she renovate it herself.

She was also known for her incredible generosity. She told Town & Country that at 4 a.m. at a flower market, she met a homeless man who introduced himself as Elvis, and she put him in an apartment and filled it with groceries for a month. She was also known to buy for the seller the same item she bought for herself at high-end stores, and she loved a good trip to Target, where she often spent a few thousand dollars on groceries and treats and then took them home. take home and give away.

According to Marie Claire, Shay was married and divorced four times. But Shay, not one to kiss and tell, has never revealed the identities of her four elusive husbands.

She is survived by her son, Kenny Kemp, who also appeared briefly in “Bling Empire” and appeared on BuzzFeed News in 2015 for his extensive collection of bongs and glass pipes worth half a million dollars (at the time of publication) and stored in his mother’s basement.

Shay told People in 2021 that she didn’t expect “Bling Empire” to attract so much attention. “Did I expect the show to be successful? No. I didn’t even expect to be in front of the camera. I am very shy and went along with any situation that came up,” she said. “I was just myself.”

Shay was known as much for her love of diamonds as for her pearls of wisdom that she dropped on castmates and during confessionals during her three seasons on the show.

“You don’t let the clothes carry you, you don’t let the car drive you,” Shay said. “Don’t be impressed by things. I am not impressed by things, but by people and who they are. … This is not a dress rehearsal, you have to live life to the fullest.

Despite her opulence, Shay had a down-to-earth view of life and luxury, and boasting about wealth was one of the heiress’ biggest pet peeves.

“I think those who talk about it don’t really have it,” she told The Times’ Ashley Lee in 2021. “Why wear something to show off? My mother was from the aristocracy and my father was from the South Side of Chicago. They told me that if they ever saw the clothes that I wore or the cars that drove me, they would take it all away and never buy me anything again. I am glad they did.”

Shay’s close friend Florent Bonadei, a client manager at Parisian luxury jewelry house Boucheron, who also appeared in “Bling Empire,” spoke to The Times on Monday about Shay’s untimely passing.

“I am so saddened by the loss of Anna Shay. Honestly, I wouldn’t be where I am today without her friendship,” he said. ‘Anna was as glamorous as she was eccentric. She was incredibly generous with her wealth, but even more so with her love and her loyalty.

“Being Anna’s girlfriend was being invited into a magical world where one day you eat caviar in Paris and the next night you watch TV in LA on her couch surrounded by animals, laughter and joy. Her heart was gigantic and knew no bounds. I take some comfort in the fact that so many people have had the chance to see how incredibly special Anna Shay was on the show. I will always be incredibly grateful to have the honor of calling her my friend. Sending love to her son and all who loved her as we all mourn the wonderful, unique Anna.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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