Kirkham passed away on 10 June (15) at her home in Santa Monica, California. She had recently been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the white blood cells.

Kirkham is best known for producing 1989 crime thriller Black Rain, starring Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia, Jodie Foster's 1999 romance Anna and the King, plus Dirty Dancing sequel Havana Nights and Vin Diesel's action flick Knockaround Guys.

Her other credits include Cherry 2000, starring Melanie Griffith, and Christopher Walken's comedy Around the Bend. She also helped develop Desperately Seeking Susan, RoboCop and The Terminator while she worked at Orion Pictures.

She worked for a number of production companies, including A Band Apart, which was founded by Quentin Tarantino and producer Lawrence Bender. Kirkham subsequently set up Kirkham-Lewitt Productions with her husband Elliot Lewitt.