Lisa Spoonauer, best known for playing Dante’s high school girlfriend Caitlin in Kevin Smith’s debut Clerks, passed away on Saturday. She was 44.
Spoonauer’s tenure as an actress was brief (she appeared in only one other film, Bartender) but memorable — she delivers many of Clerks‘ most quotable lines, including “I’m offering you my body and you’re offering me semantics,” and ends up accidentally having sex with a corpse. But after a brief marriage to co-star Jeff Anderson (Randal), she retired from acting and, according to her obituary, went on to become a restaurant manager and event planner.
“In 1992, I went looking for Lisa without knowing either who she was or the integral role she’d play in my life,” Smith wrote on Instagram. “I’d held a night of open auditions at the #firstavenueplayhouse… but the perfect Caitlin Bree never walked through the door. So I popped into an acting class at Brookdale Community College and watched the students from the back. Lisa was easily the most natural and authentic voice in the room.” He continued:
She didn’t sound like she was acting at all; she delivered scripted dialogue as if she was inventing her conversation in the moment, like people do in real life. Captivated, I approached Lisa cold in the parking lot after the class and said “This is gonna sound creepy but… Do you wanna be in a movie?” Fearlessly, she replied “Not if it’s porn.” I told her a bit about Clerks and gave her a copy of the script and my phone number. She called me a few days later and said “Well it’s not porn, but everybody talks like it is. It’s funny. I’ll do it.”
A complete stranger at first, Lisa quickly became one of the most important people I’d ever meet when she joined Brian, #JeffAnderson, Marilyn, @jaymewes, @samosier, @davidkleinasc and me as one of the chief architects of my first film. We rehearsed for a month straight in the store after hours, where Lisa perfected Caitlin (and fell in love with Jeff). The first night of the shoot, Lisa had to maneuver her way through a seven minute scene with Brian in the video store, when Caitlin finally shows up in the movie. Lisa and Brian CRUSHED it in one long take that still remains one of my favorite scenes I’ve ever shot – not because it shows off any directorial flare (it doesn’t) but because it exemplified how great the performers were since we never had to cut away from their 2-shot…
You changed my life, Lisa. (Via)
Spoonauer is survived by her husband Tom and daughter Mia.