Respected director Lynn Shelton has died suddenly at 54.
Her death was announced by her partner, podcaster, comedian and actor Marc Maron.
He said in a statement to Indiewire: “I have some awful news. Lynn passed away last night. She collapsed yesterday after having been ill for a week. There was a previously unknown, underlying condition.
“It was not COVID-19. The doctors could not save her. They tried. Hard.
“I loved her very much as I know many of you did as well. It’s devastating. I am levelled, heartbroken and in complete shock and don’t really know how to move forward in this moment.
“She was a beautiful, kind, loving, charismatic artist. Her spirit was pure joy. She made me happy. I made her happy. We were happy. I made her laugh all the time. We laughed a lot. We were starting a life together. I really can’t believe what is happening. This is a horrendous, sad loss.”
Shelton was previously married to actor Kevin Seal, with whom she has a son, Milo.
Shelton came to prominence after her fourth feature, Humpday, which was part of the mumblecore scene, a filmmaking movement that featured movies made with low-budgets and with minimum productions values which were often improvisational.
Her first film was We Go Way Back in 2006. After the success of Humpday, which won a Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize, Shelton continued to make independent films including Your Sister’s Sister with Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt, Laggies with Keira Knightley and Sam Rockwell and most recently Sword of Trust with Maron, Michaela Watkins and Jon Bass.
Her Humpday star and filmmaker Mark Duplass tweeted in tribute: “We lost our dear friend Lynn Shelton. We made so many things together. I wish we had made more. Her boundless creative energy and infectious spirit were unrivalled. She made me better. We butted heads, made up, pushed each other. Like family. What a deep loss.”
Shelton was well-regarded in the industry and directed many episodes of television on shows including Mad Men, The Mindy Project, Master of None, Fresh Off the Boat, Love, Glow, Dickinson, The Morning Show, Casual and New Girl.
Tributes poured from her friends and collaborators today.
Hustlers director Lorene Scafaria tweeted “What a loss for cinema. Lynn Shelton was a hero of mine” while British filmmaker Edgar Wright tweeted “I am truly shocked at the passing of Lynn Shelton. She was a friend, a kind heart, so talented and only just getting started, despite her stellar work so far”.
Director Ava Duvernay wrote, “Thank you for your films. And for your kindness” while Mindy Kaling tweeted, “Lynn Shelton loved actors and we loved her back. She was a dream on set. Her lovely, sunny energy was infectious and actors always drifted to video village between takes to be around her. She had such a quiet power and I will miss her. Rest In Peace, Lynn. Love you.”
She directed four episodes of the Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington series Little Fires Everywhere, which will premiere in Australia next week on Amazon Prime Video.
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