Maura Mandt, who spent over two decades working on the ESPY Awards, eventually becoming the show’s executive producer, passed away suddenly on Friday at the age of 53, per ESPN.
Mandt started with the ESPYs during the 1990s as a production assistant, later becoming a producer and was named executive producer in 2002. She would go on to produce the entire ESPN award show through MaggieVision Productions. That company, which she started, would produce various other aspects of ESPN and ABC sports programming, including the NFL Honors, 30 for 30 films, and vignettes for the NBA Finals. Mandt also had a hand in developing the X Games at ESPN.
“It’s difficult to understand how someone with such passion for life could be gone so suddenly,” ESPN executive vice president of content Connor Schell said in a release. “We will certainly remember her relentless pursuit of creative excellence, her courage in pushing boundaries, and the lasting legacy Maura left on the sports world. Most of all, we will remember her as a true friend to so many of us, and we will miss her dearly.”
Mandt won a Primetime Emmy Award in 2014 for the ESPN 30 for 30 Short “Arthur & Johnnie and also won two Sports Emmys for other documentary work. She also produced the 30 for 30 documentary “Of Miracles and Men” and directed “There’s No Place Like Home.” Mandt also co-directed the Ben Simmons documentary “One & Done” for Showtime.
Tributes to Mandt rolled in immediately on social media from those who worked with her at ESPN and elsewhere.
To everybody who knew or worked with Maura at ESPN, ESPN2 or the ESPYs this is an inconceivable loss. She always burst with enthusiasm about an idea – hers, yours, anybody’s – that could improve an event or show or make it easier for you to do it well #RIP https://t.co/TCbE6qY6VR
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) February 29, 2020
Heartbroken by the passing of the great Maura Mandt. Worked with her on two ESPYs and she was the consummate producer – a kind collaborator in the run up and a take-no-prisoners winner on show days. As gutsy a person I’ve ever met. RIP https://t.co/ou6Jf4TNCS
— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) February 29, 2020
Maura Mandt gave a shit about important things in sports. She was a force. She will missed. RIP. https://t.co/j0RCqtSH49
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) February 29, 2020
Every time I talked to Maura she made an impression. Smart. Tough. Cared about the right things. Made big, visionary stuff happen. She’d talk to guys like Peyton, Aaron Rodgers, Kobe like a teammate. And they’d do it—because it was Maura asking. RIP https://t.co/TpJJjyCZcc
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 29, 2020
It was Maura who was the creative force behind honoring Nassar survivors at the @ESPYS. She was a force to be reckoned with. Just a no bullshit-straight-shooting-get-it-done-heart-always-in-the-right-place person. She will be missed. https://t.co/EX5gJfPHoh
— John Barr ESPN (@JohnBarrESPN) February 29, 2020