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'Troop Beverly Hills' creator, inspiration Ava Ostern Fries dies at 87

A sequel to "Troop Beverly Hills," which was based on Fries' experiences leading her daughter's scout troop, was announced in 2020.
Image: Ava Fries, 20th Anniversary Of People Assisting The Homeless - PATH
Ava Fries attends the "20th Anniversary Of People Assisting The Homeless" benefit at the Beverly Hills Hotel, in Los Angeles, June 10, 2004.Mark Mainz / Getty Images file

LOS ANGELES - Ava Ostern Fries, the wife of producer Chuck Fries whose experiences as a Beverly Hills Girl Scout leader inspired the film "Troop Beverly Hills," died Oct. 2. She was 87.

Born in Dexter, Mo., she moved to Los Angeles after graduating the University of Tulsa.

She started teaching and acting before joining Danny Thomas Productions as a development executive. She then formed her own production company, Avanti Enterprises, which produced the TV series "Born Famous" about the children of the rich and famous.

The series led to the 1989 Shelly Long comedy "Troop Beverly Hills," based on Fries' own experiences leading her daughter's scout troop, remembered for its campy dance numbers, celebrity cameos and extravagant costumes.

A sequel to "Troop Beverly Hills" was announced in 2020.

Fries was active in many charities and worked to give young people opportunities in theater education.

She served on the board of directors for Los Angeles's Center Theater Group for more than two decades. She was also a founding co-chair of American Film Institute Associates and The International Film Society; served on the board of the Children's Burn Foundation; and was a member of The Producers Guild of America and Women In Film.

Fries was honored by NOW, the National Organization of Women, for her contributions to the community and the arts. As Vice Chairman of the Board and a longtime member of People Assisting the Homeless, (P.A.T.H.), she chaired a 1994 event honoring Archbishop Desmond Tutu and, along with her husband, Chuck.

Following the death of her daughter, Camela Ostern Markman — who had been a supporter of The Westside Children's Center in West Los Angeles, she organized and chaired the WCC's Big Hearts Club to benefit children in the foster care system.

Her husband, Chuck Fries, died in April. She is survived by her daughter, Diane Sherry Case; stepchildren Charles M. Fries, Suzanne Fries-Hostka, Chris Fries, Dyanne Fries, Mike Fries, Alice Fries, and Jon Fries; 22 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.