Saturday brought news that comedic actor Fred Willard had died at age 86, but another Hollywood death was equally shocking. News spread Saturday that director Lynn Shelton had died suddenly as a result of a blood illness. The Hollywood Reporter noted that the director, 54, played a big role in the independent film circuit and was involved in a number of beloved films. She also served as a director for television, helming episodes of Glee, Mad Men and more recently, The Morning Show.
Much like Willard’s passing, news of Shelton’s death sparked an outpouring of support and grief from those that knew and worked with her. Shelton’s partner, Marc Maron, also released a statement about her death on Saturday.
In a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Shelton’s partner, comedian Marc Maron, indicated that the director collapsed after having been ill for a week. “I loved her very much as I know many of you did as well,” he wrote. “It’s devastating. I am leveled, heartbroken and in complete shock and don’t really know how to move forward in this moment.”
He called her a “beautiful, kind, loving, charismatic artist,” adding, “her spirit was pure joy.” He went on to say, “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.”
Others in film and TV soon joined in mourning her loss, including Ava DuVernay, who shared a touching story about Shelton’s influence on her career.
Lynn Shelton changed my life when she handed me the Directing Award at Sundance in 2012. She announced my name with pride. Handed it to me with love. Rooted for me long after. I can’t believe I’m typing this. Rest In Peace, Beauty. Thank you for your films. And for your kindness. pic.twitter.com/KySqgIdqQd
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) May 16, 2020
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 unrivaled. She made me better. We butted heads, made up, laughed, pushed each other. Like family. What a deep loss. pic.twitter.com/LcowmbGqum
— Mark Duplass (@MarkDuplass) May 16, 2020
The showrunner for Apple TV+’s Dickenson shared memories of Shelton, who directed two episodes in 2019.
The kindest, most talented, most beautiful, breath of fresh air is gone. She died on the same day as Emily Dickinson. Thank you for everything, Lynn. 💔 pic.twitter.com/DOnHV87ldz
— Alena Smith (@internetalena) May 16, 2020
Others involved in Dickenson also shared memories of Shelton.
Lynn thank you for being so hilarious and welcoming and kind. Those few days on “Dickinson” were amazing and there was no one I would rather hang out with on a pond in Long Island than you. You made directing look like effortless fun. Thank you. https://t.co/qBaF5OyLDw
— John Mulaney (@mulaney) May 17, 2020
It was a sentiment that rang true throughout Hollywood on what’s been a sad weekend of news.
Today we celebrate the vibrant, passionate, and courageous filmmaker Lynn Shelton, who tragically passed away at age 54. pic.twitter.com/o1DNXDx6F8
— TIFF (@TIFF_NET) May 17, 2020
I’m so devastated to hear about Lynn Shelton’s passing yesterday. I’m in complete shock that this vibrant, talented, and soulful filmmaker is no longer with us. Lynn was so passionate about our show, Little Fires Everywhere. pic.twitter.com/E8s4dozfDO
— Reese Witherspoon (@ReeseW) May 16, 2020
— IMDb (@IMDb) May 17, 2020
An incredible director and friend. So warm, kind, honest and supportive. Lynn Shelton was always bursting with joy. Such a sad day. pic.twitter.com/2vxPiGh3Nb
— Ben Schwartz (@rejectedjokes) May 17, 2020
Lynn Shelton was such an inspiration as a filmmaker and as a person. I finally got to work with her when she directed a bunch of episodes of @love and she was as brilliant as we hoped and everyone adored her. This is so sad. My condolences to her family and her loved ones. https://t.co/iBo4ysAGKx
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) May 16, 2020
Plans tonight: watching “Best In Show” and “Your Sister’s Sister”. We lost a lot of light today.
— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) May 16, 2020