SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Pat Derby – a former Hollywood trainer for Flipper, Lassie and other performing animals who later devoted her life to protecting them after seeing widespread abuse – has died at age 69, her organization said Monday.
Derby, who had throat cancer, died Friday at her home in the biggest of the animal sanctuaries run by her organization, the Performing Animal Welfare Society, or PAWS, in San Andreas, Calif., outside Sacramento. Her longtime partner and the organization's co-founder, Ed Stewart, was at her side, a PAWS statement said.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Derby worked on television shows like "Flipper," "Daktari," "Gunsmoke" and "Lassie," and wrangled a pair of pumas, Chauncey and Christopher, that appeared with model-actress Farrah Fawcett in popular commercials for the Mercury Cougar.
Derby said that she developed her own training methods based on love and trust, but was stunned by the abuse and neglect she saw among other animal trainers in the entertainment industry.
She often served as the public face and voice for performing animals, in recent years fighting primarily to get elephants out of circuses and zoos and into sanctuaries.
Her 1976 autobiography, "The Lady and Her Tiger," served as both a memoir and a groundbreaking expose of Hollywood's treatment of animals.
She began shifting her emphasis from training to activism, by 1984 opening the first PAWS sanctuary in Galt, Calif.
Derby most recently made news when she coordinated flying three African elephants from the Toronto Zoo to the 2,300-acre PAWS sanctuary in San Andreas. The sanctuary is also home to lions, bears and tigers, but the elephants were closest to her heart.
"It had to begin with elephants," Derby wrote in her book. "I was born in love with all elephants, not for a reason that I know, not because of any of their individual qualities – wisdom, kindness, power, grace, patience, loyalty – but for what they are altogether, for their entire elephantness."
Shortly before her death, an African elephant at a sanctuary in Kenya was named "Pat Derby" to honor her work.
Michael Clarke Duncan
"The Green Mile" actor Michael Clarke Duncan died at the age of 54 on Sept. 3, 2012 in a Los Angeles hospital after nearly two months of treatment following a July 13, 2012 heart attack.
"Sesame Street" puppeteer Jerry Nelson, shown here with "Sesame Street" character Count von Count in New York in June 2012, died at age 78 on Aug. 23, 2012, in Massachusetts after battling emphysema.
Actress/comedienne Phyllis Diller, who was best know for her stand-up act, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/20/phyllis-diller-dead_n_1812818.html">died at the age of 95</a> on Aug. 20. 2012 in Los Angeles.
Director Tony Scott, whose projects include "The Hunger," "Top Gun," "Enemy of the State," died after jumping off a bridge in Los Angeles on Aug. 19, 2012.
"San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" singer Scott McKenzie, seen here in the center with "The Mamas And The Papas" 1967, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/20/scott-mckenzie-dead-dies-san-francisco-73_n_1809989.html">died on Aug. 18. 2012</a>, after battling Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disease that affects the nervous system.
A 1980 file photo provided by CBS shows actor William Windom, who won an Emmy Award for his turn in the TV comedy series "My World And Welcome To It," died Aug. 16, 2012, of congestive heart failure at his home in Woodacre, north of San Francisco. He was 88.
This June 8, 2008 file photo shows actor Ron Palillo at the TV Land Awards in Santa Monica, Calif. Palillo, best known as the nerdy high schooler Arnold Horshack on "Welcome Back, Kotter," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/14/ron-palillo-dead-dies-welcome-back-kotter-heart-attack_n_1776155.html">died Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012</a>, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., of an apparent heart attack. He was 63.
This Oct. 7, 2008 file photo shows actress Lupe Ontiveros at Padres Contra El Cancer's 8th annual "El Sueno de Esperanza" benefit gala in Los Angeles. Ontiveros, the popular Texan actress known for her portrayal of Yolanda Saldivar in "Selena," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/27/lupe-ontiveros-dead-star-_n_1709783.html">died Thursday, July 26, 2012</a>, of cancer at the Presbyterian Hospital in the City of Whittier, Calif., according to friend and comedian Rick Najera. She was 69.
In this Aug. 11, 1986 file photo, actor Sherman Hemsley poses for a photo in Los Angeles. The manager for Hemsley says the late star of the television sitcom "The Jeffersons" refused treatment for lung cancer in the weeks before he died of what a coroner says were complications from the disease on July 24, 2012. (AP photo/Nick Ut, File)
In this Feb. 14, 2004 file photo, Academy President Frank Pierson arrives at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Scientific and Technical Achievements Awards dinner in Pasadena Calif. Pierson's family announced that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/23/frank-pierson-dead-dog-day-afternoon-dies_n_1696126.html">he died of natural causes on Monday, July 23, 2012</a> in Los Angeles after a short illness. He was 87.
Deep Purple's Jon Lord, seen here in 2004, died at age 71 on Monday, July 16, 2012, after battling pancreatic cancer.
This May 1986 file photo shows country music singer Kitty Wells in Nashville, Tenn. Wells, the first female superstar of country music, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/16/kitty-wells-dead-queen-of-country-dies_n_1677532.html">died at the age of 92 on Monday, July 16, 2012.</a> The singers family says Wells died at her home Monday after complications from a stroke. Her recording of "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" in 1952 was the first No. 1 hit by a woman soloist on the country music charts. Other hits included "Making Believe" and a version of "I Can't Stop Loving You." (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, file)
Perhaps best remembered for his<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/08/ernest-borgnine-movies-films_n_1657787.html" target="_hplink"> Oscar-winning performance in the film "Marty",</a> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/09/ernest-borgnine-dead-remembered_n_1658937.html" target="_hplink">Borgnine</a> continued to act until his death, voicing a character on "SpongeBob SquarePants" and earning an Emmy Nomination on the TV series "ER." He was 95 when he passed away on July 8 due to renal failure.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/andy-griffith-dead_n_1645969.html" target="_hplink">Andy Griffith,</a> the star of beloved television programs "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Matlock", <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/05/andy-griffith-cause-of-death-heart-attack_n_1652599.html" target="_hplink">died of a heart attack</a> on Tuesday, July 3. He was 86.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/28/don-grady-my-three-sons-obituary_n_1633047.html" target="_hplink">The multi talented musician, composer, and actor</a> who memorably starred on the television series "My Three Sons" lost his battle with cancer on June 27. An original Mouseketeer, Grady was 68 he passed away.
Director, author, journalist, playwright, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nora-ephron/" target="_hplink">HuffPost blogger</a>, and three-time Academy Award nominated screenwriter, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/26/nora-ephron-dead-dies-age-71_n_1627757.html" target="_hplink">Nora Ephron passed away</a> on June 26 after a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/26/nora-ephron-leukemia-cancer-illness-death_n_1629152.html" target="_hplink">secret multi-year battle with acute myeloid leukemia</a>. With genre defining films like "Sleepless In Seattle", "You've Got Mail", and "When Harry Met Sally", Ephron, 71, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/26/nora-ephron-influence-movies_n_1628700.html?utm_hp_ref=entertainment" target="_hplink">left an indelible mark on the film industry.</a>
Comedienne most famous for her hilarious roles on TV shows "Moesha" and "The Parkers", Wilson <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/15/yvette-wilson-star-of-moe_n_1600037.html" target="_hplink">lost her battle with cervical cancer</a> on June 14. She was 48.
This Nov. 5, 1971 file photo shows actress Ann Rutherford in New York. Rutherford, who played Scarlett O'Hara's sister Carreen in the 1939 movie classic "Gone With the Wind," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/12/ann-rutherford-dead-gone-_n_1589753.html">died at her home in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Monday, June 11, 2012</a>. She was 94. (AP Photo/HF)
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/23/barry-gibb-tribute-video-robin-gibb-bee-gees_n_1539954.html" target="_hplink">Co-founder of The Bee Gees</a>, Gibb was 62 when he <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/20/robin-gibb-dead-bee-gees_n_1531648.html" target="_hplink">lost</a> his battle with colon cancer on May 20.
From AP: Bob Welch, a former member of Fleetwood Mac who went on to write songs and record several hits during a solo career,<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/07/bob-welch-dead-fleetwood-mac-gunshot_n_1579166.html"> died June 7, 2012</a>, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. He was 65.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/18/donna-summer-queen-of-disco_n_1526799.html" target="_hplink">The Queen of Disco</a> lost her <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/17/donna-summer-dead-queen-of-disco-dies_n_1524410.html" target="_hplink"> battle with cancer</a> on May 17. Summer, 63, earned that title with dance hits like "Last Dance", "MacArthur Park", and "Hot Stuff".
In this Feb. 13, 2011 file photo, Chuck Brown arrives at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Brown, who styled a unique brand of funk music as a singer, guitarist and songwriter known as the "godfather of go-go," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/16/chuck-brown-dead-godfather_n_1522375.html">died Wednesday, May 16, 2012</a> after suffering from pneumonia. He was 75.
Mitchell Guist, who appeared in segments of the "Swamp People" with his brother, Glenn, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/14/mitchell-guist-dead-swamp-people_n_1515423.html">died after collapsing Monday, May 14, 2012</a> while working on a houseboat he was building on Belle River.
Best known as one of the founding members of the<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/23/mca-ad-rock-adam-horovitz-beastie-boys-interview_n_1539705.html" target="_hplink"> trailblazing hip-hop group the Beastie Boys</a>, Yauch, also known by his stage name MCA, was also a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/04/adam-yauch-films_n_1478993.html" target="_hplink">film director</a> and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/04/adam-yauch-dead-tibet_n_1478359.html" target="_hplink">human rights activist</a>. At age 47, Yauch unfortunately lost his almost three year battle with cancer on May 4.
George Lindsey, seen here in character as Goober Pyle on "The Andy Griffith Show" in 1982,<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/06/george-lindsey-dead-andy-griffith-show-goober-pyle-dies-83_n_1490083.html"> died early Sunday, May 6, 2012.</a> He was 83.
In this May 15, 2010 photo, Levon Helm performs on the mandolin during a Ramble performance at Helm's barn in Woodstock, N.Y. Helm, who was in the final stages of his battle with cancer,<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/19/levon-helm-dead-the-band-cancer-battle_n_1434772.html"> died Thursday, April 19, 2012 in New York.</a> He was 71. He was a key member of The Band and lent his distinctive Southern voice to classics like "The Weight" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."
Radio personality, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/18/dick-clark-quotes_n_1435713.html" target="_hplink">TV host</a>, and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nelson-davis/dick-clarks-business-less_b_1466150.html" target="_hplink">beloved producer</a>, Dick Clark died of a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/18/dick-clark-heart-attack-death_n_1435551.html" target="_hplink">massive heart</a> attack on April 18. The host of classic programs such as <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20120418/us-dick-clark-highlights/" target="_hplink">American Bandstand</a> and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/19/dick-clarks-new-years-eve_n_1437040.html" target="_hplink">Dick Clark's Rocking New Years Eve was 82.</a>
Lead singer of hit 60's band <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/29/davy-jones-dead-monkees-moments-video_n_1310837.html" target="_hplink">The Monkees</a>, Jones' <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/01/monkees-davy-jones-obituary_n_1312799.html" target="_hplink">heartthrob status</a> was cemented with hits like "Day Dream Believer" and "I Wanna Be Free". He died at age 66 on February 29 after <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/05/davy-jones-autopsy-report_n_1406273.html" target="_hplink">suffering a heart attack</a>.
With perhaps one of the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/21/whitney-houston-celebrate-jordin-sparks-sparkle_n_1532870.html" target="_hplink">greatest voices</a> of her generation, Houston was a multi-Grammy winning singer and actress left an indelible mark on both the pop and R&B genres. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/15/whitney-houston-xanax_n_1279947.html" target="_hplink">Houston's well documented struggles with drug addiction</a> are thought to have contributed to her unexpected and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/11/whitney-houston-dead-sing_n_1270889.html" target="_hplink">untimely demise</a> at age 48 on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/05/whitney-houston-death-report-last-day_n_1405206.html" target="_hplink">February 11</a>.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/01/don-cornelius-dead-soul-train_n_1246642.html" target="_hplink">Cornelius</a>, creator and host of the long-running, groundbreaking<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/01/don-cornelius-dead-celeb-tweets_n_1247021.html" target="_hplink"> TV dance show "Soul Train,"</a> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/24/don-cornelius-autopsy-depression_n_1450184.html" target="_hplink">unfortunately committed suicide </a>Wednesday morning, Feb. 1. He was 75.
In this Sept. 17, 2005 file photo, actor Ian Abercrombie is shown during the British Academy of Film and Television Arts/Los Angeles and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences third annual Emmy Nominees Tea Party in Los Angeles. Abercrombie, a veteran British stage and screen actor whose TV roles included Elaines boss Mr. Pitt on "Seinfeld" and Professor Crumbs on Wizards of Waverly Place,<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/28/ian-abercrombie-tv-moments_n_1239120.html"> died Thursday, Jan. 22, 2012</a> at a Los Angeles hospital from complications of kidney failure. He was 77.
The "At Last" crooner <a href="http://http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/20/etta-james-dead-legendary_n_1219083.html" target="_hplink">passed away</a> on January 20 due to complications from leukemia. James, also known as <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/22/etta-james-singers-passio_n_1222010.html" target="_hplink">The Matriarch of R&B</a>, was 73.
This Feb. 23, 1978 file photo shows performer and host Andy Williams at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Williams, who had a string of gold albums and hosted several variety shows and specials like "The Andy Williams Show," died Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, at his home in Branson, Missouri, following a yearlong battle with bladder cancer, his Los Angeles-based publicist, Paul Shefrin, said Wednesday. He was 84. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon, file)
In this Feb. 7, 2012 file photo, Indian musician Ravi Shankar performs during a concert in Bangalore, India. Shankar, the sitar virtuoso who became a hippie musical icon of the 1960s after hobnobbing with the Beatles and who introduced traditional Indian ragas to Western audiences over an eight-decade career, has died. He was 92. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi, File)
In this June 16, 1981 file photo, author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, poses in New York. Sendak, author of the popular children's book "Where the Wild Things Are," died, Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, Conn. He was 83. (AP Photo/Thomas Victor, file)
FILE - In this July 30, 2011 file photo, Earl Scruggs performs at the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, R.I. Scruggs' son Gary said his father passed away Wednesday morning, March 28, 2012 at a Nashville, Tenn., hospital of natural causes. He was 88. (AP Photo/Joe Giblin, File)
FILE - This 1971 file photo shows Detroit Lions' Alex Karras. The Detroit Free Press and Detroit News reported Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, that the former All-Pro defensive lineman and actor has kidney failure and has been given only a few days to live. Lions president Tom Lewand says the NFL football franchise is deeply saddened to learn of Karras' condition. (AP Photo/File)
The "Chorus Line" composer, who became the youngest person accepted by Juilliard at age 7, died<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/07/marvin-hamlisch-dead-chorus-line-dies_n_1751084.html"> Aug. 6 in Los Angeles at the age of 68. </a>
FILE - This May 16, 2012 file photo shows actor Larry Hagman from the show "Dallas" at the TNT and TBS upfront presentation at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. TNT begins the second season of its Dallas revival next month. The network said Tuesday, Dec. 11, that it will hold a funeral for Larry Hagman's memorable character at some point in the 15-episode season but that it hasn't been filmed or scheduled yet. Hagman died at age 81 over the Thanksgiving weekend. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file)
FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2011 file photo, actor Ben Gazzara attends The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures awards gala in New York. Gazzara, whose powerful dramatic performances brought an intensity to a variety of roles and made him a memorable presence in films, on television and on Broadway in the original "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," has died at age 81. Longtime family friend Suzanne Mados said Gazzara died Friday, Feb. 3, 2012, in Manhattan after being in hospice care with cancer. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file)
Donald "Duck" Dunn
FILE - Soul rockers Booker T and the MGs are seen in this Jan. 1970 file photo, from left to right: Al Jackson, Jr., Booker T. Jones, Donald "Duck" Dunn, and Steve Cropper. Bass player and songwriter <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/13/donald-dunn-dead-dies_n_1512572.html">Donald "Duck" Dunn, a member of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame band Booker T. and the MGs and the Blues Brothers band, died in Tokyo Sunday May 13, 2012. He was 70</a>. (AP Photo, File)
The game-show host and "Hogan's Heroes" star died on June 2 at 79.
FILE - In this June 16, 2011 file photo, Hal David arrives at the 42nd Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards in New York. David, who along with partner Burt Bacharach penned dozens of top 40 hits for a variety of recording artists in the 1960s and beyond, died Saturday Sept. 1, 2012 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes, File)
FILE - This July 4, 2009 file photo shows Jazz legend Dave Brubeck performing at the 30th edition of the Montreal International Jazz Festival in Montreal. Brubeck's Take Five was the most viral tracks on Spotify for the week of Dec. 3, 2012. Brubeck, a pioneering jazz composer and pianist died Dec. 5, of heart failure. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)
FILE - This Nov. 15, 2000 file photo shows science fiction writer Ray Bradbury at the National Book Awards in New York. Two pieces released this fall were written late in life by the science fiction/fantasy master, who died in June at age 91. Bradbury contributed "The Book and the Butterfly," an introduction to this year's edition of "The Best American Nonrequired Reading." And he conceived a stark encounter between a young boy and a man he believes is Santa Claus in "Dear Santa," which appears in the holiday issue of Strand Magazine, based in Birmingham, Mich. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file)
FILE - This July 20, 1969 file photo provided by NASA shows Neil Armstrong. The family of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, says he died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012, at age 82. A statement from the family says he died following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures. It doesn't say where he died. Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon July 20, 1969. He radioed back to Earth the historic news of "one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin spent nearly three hours walking on the moon, collecting samples, conducting experiments and taking photographs. In all, 12 Americans walked on the moon from 1969 to 1972. (AP Photo/NASA)
FILE - This undated photo released by NASA shows astronaut Sally Ride. Ride, the first American woman in space, died Monday, July 23, 2012 after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 61. (AP Photo/NASA, File)
Andrew Breitbart was best known as a "conservative blogger and publisher who used the Internet to ignite political scandal and expose what he saw as liberal media bias," according to the AP. He passed away on March 1, at the age of 43.
Helen Gurley Brown
FILE - In this Sept. 20, 1982 file photo, Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown poses during an interview at her office in New York. Brown, longtime editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, died Monday, Aug. 13, 2012 at a hospital in New York after a brief hospitalization. She was 90. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler, File)
FILE - This April 7, 2003 file photo shows journalist Mike Wallace in South Burlington, Vt., Wallace, famed for his tough interviews on "60 Minutes," has died, Saturday, April 7, 2012. He was 93. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)
Jack Hanlon, who had roles in the 1926 silent classic "The General" and in two 1927 "Our Gang" comedies, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/17/jack-hanlon-dead-our-gang-96_n_2314882.html">died Dec., 13, 2012. He was 96.</a>