Lynn Shelton, a visionary indie director of acclaimed films and such TV shows as "Little Fires Everywhere," died Friday at 54 THR reports, succumbing to a blood disorder not related to COVID-19.
At the time of her death, she had been in a relationship with comic actor Marc Maron, whom she had directed in his series "Maron" and "GLOW" and in his stand-up specials. In a May 8 IndieWire interview, Maron and Shelton talked about collaborating on a screenplay while sheltering in place.
On Sunday, Maron issued a heartbreaking statement on his late partner's death, clarifying her final week.
"She collapsed yesterday morning 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," he said.
"I loved her very much as I know many of you did as well. It's devastating. I am leveled, heartbroken and in complete shock and don’t really know how to move forward in this moment," he went on. "I needed you all to know. I don’t know some of you. Some I do. I’m just trying to let the people who were important to her know."
Maron described Shelton as "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."
Ohio-born, Seattle-raised Shelton was a self-proclaimed late bloomer. Having worked a variety of odd jobs and fearing she had waited too long to make movies, she was inspired by French director Claire Denis, who said at a 2003 filmmaker's forum that she hadn't made her first film until age 40.
In 2006, Shelton made her debut as a writer-director with "We Go Way Back," about a 23-year-old woman interacting with her 13-year-old self.
Her naturalistic, mumblecore films were critical favorites, including "My Effortless Brilliance" (2008) and 2009's controversial "Humpday," which starred Mark Duplass and Joshua Leonard as straight best friends determined to film themselves having sex as an art statement.
Her other films include "Your Sister's Sister" (2011), starring Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt and Duplass; "Touchy Feely" (2013), starring Ellen Page, Allison Janney and DeWitt; "Laggies" (2014), starring Keira Knightley, Chloë Grace Moretz, Jeff Garlin and Ellie Kemper; "Outside In" (2017), starring Jay Duplass, Edie Falco, Kaitlyn Dever and Ben Schwartz; and her final film, "Sword of Trust" (2019) starring Maron and Jillian Bell.
Along with her film career, Shelton was a prolific TV director, including episodes of "New Girl" (2012-2014), "The Mindy Project" (2014-2015), "Master of None" (2015), "Fresh Off the Boat" (2015-2017), "GLOW" (2017-2019), and "Little Fires Everywhere" (2020).
Having worked with Shelton closely on "Little Fires Everywhere," Reese Witherspoon was just one of her peers who took to social media to mourn Shelton's loss, writing, "I’m so devastated to hear about Lynn Shelton’s passing... I’m in complete shock that this vibrant, talented, and soulful filmmaker is no longer with us. Lynn was so passionate about our show."
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
Shelton is survived by Maron, her parents, her son Milo Seal, her two brothers, and her sister.