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Several of the director’s friends and collaborators shared heartbreaking social media tributes in her honor after her tragic death on Friday

By Claudia Harmata
May 18, 2020 11:37 AM
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Marc Maron and Lynn Shelton
Credit: Amanda Edwards/Getty

Hollywood is mourning the death of indie film director Lynn Shelton, who died in Los Angeles on Friday at the age of 54.

Comedian Marc Maron, Shelton's romantic and creative partner for the past year, announced the news in a heartbreaking statement, telling IndieWire and The Los Angeles Times that he and Shelton were just "starting a life together."

"I loved her very much as I know many of you did as well," he said. "It’s devastating. I am leveled, heartbroken and in complete shock and don’t really know how to move forward in this moment."

Shelton died of a previously unidentified blood disorder, her publicist Adam Kersh confirmed, according to The Hollywood ReporterMaron said that she collapsed Thursday morning after having been ill for a week and that the doctors could not save her.

"She was a beautiful, kind, loving, charismatic artist. Her spirit was pure joy. She made me happy, I made her happy. I made her laugh all the time," Maron added. "We were starting a life together. I really can’t believe what is happening. This is a horrendous, sad loss."

Lynn Shelton
Lynn Shelton
| Credit: Fred Hayes/Getty Images

Maron also honored Shelton on Monday's episode of his WTF podcast, recalling how nervous he was when they first met in 2015 when Shelton came in for an episode of his podcast. He also shared a clip of that interview in Monday's episode.

"I didn’t know what to expect,” he said, according to IndieWire. “At the time, she was married and I was with somebody, but at this point, when we had this conversation, it was undeniable that we connected."

"My connection with her is almost seamless. I have no self-consciousness when I’m with her," he added. "I was always better with her. I was a better person when I was engaged with her, as a guitar player, as a lover, as a human, as an actor. I was better in Lynn Shelton’s gaze."

Maron also further explained Shelton's illness leading up to her death, revealing that they initially believed she had strep throat after she tested negative for COVID-19.

"We were going to go to the doctor for blood tests on Friday and in the middle of the night I heard her collapse in the hallway on her way to the bathroom," Maron said. "She was conscious but delirious a bit. I called 9-1-1 and they got her…They tried very hard at two hospitals, they were amazing. They eventually had to let her go."

"They let me into the hospital after she died to spend some time with her. And I did that," he continued. "And now this process is happening. She was an amazing woman. She was an inspiration. She was a determined artist. So many people loved her. No one has anything bad to say about Lynn Shelton, that’s for f------ sure.”

"I've never felt grief like this, or this bad," Maron said.

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After news of her death broke, several of Shelton's friends and former colleagues paid tribute to the late filmmaker on social media.

The Seattle native made her directorial debut in 2006 with the indie film We Go Way Back, and her career later took off with Humpday in 2009. In the last 14 years, Shelton wrote and directed eight feature films, including Your Sister's Sister and Sword of Trust, which starred Maron in 2019.

Shelton also has credits on some of the most popular television shows, including recent Hulu series Little Fires Everywhere, The Morning Show, Mad Men, The Mindy Project, Fresh Off the Boat, and New Girl.

"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," Reese Witherspoon shared.

"She said the book truly spoke to her, and that she longed to direct a show that spoke meaningfully about motherhood, sexuality, race, and class in America. And she did. She cared deeply about the WHOLE cast and crew, making sure we all felt heard, seen and appreciated," the actress continued. "Lynn also shared so much of her life with us. Her love of her son, how motherhood changed her life, her life changing decisions that made her the woman she was."

"I feel so fortunate that I got to collaborate with Lynn on both The Morning Show and Little Fires Everywhere. Her spirit touched so many people in the filmmaking world," she added. "Her memory lives on in our vivid days together on set and in her wonderful films. Please watch her work and see her talent for yourself. #RestInPeaceLynn."

Kerry Washington, who also starred in Little Fires Everywhere, similarly paid tribute to Shelton.

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"Lynn Shelton. You walked into my life and immediately changed me for the better," the actress shared on Twitter. "What an inspiration!!!! Your vision. Your enthusiasm for life. Your fiercely independent spirit. Your humor and love and dedication. As an artist. A mother. A director. A co-conspirator. A light."

Mark Duplass, who starred in Humpday and worked with Shelton on several projects including The Morning Show, said hearing the devastating news was "a deep loss."

"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," he wrote on Twitter.

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Mindy Kaling, who worked with the director on The Mindy Project, honored Shelton for being a "dream" to work with on set.

"Lynn Shelton loved actors and we loved her back. Her lovely, sunny energy was infectious and actors always drifted to video village between takes to be around her," she recalled. "She had such a quiet power and I will miss her."

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Filmmaker Judd Apatow wrote that "everyone adored" working with Shelton.

"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," he said. "This is so sad. My condolences to her family and her loved ones."

John Mulaney and Hailee Steinfeld also shared their condolences, remembering their time working with Shelton on Dickinson.

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"Lynn Shelton, I am forever grateful for the little time we spent together. You lit up the set of Dickinson the second you arrived," Steinfeld wrote. "Thank you for your unbelievable energy. You will be deeply missed."

"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," Mulaney added. "You made directing look like effortless fun. Thank you."

Here are a few more tributes shared in honor of the late director:

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