Lynn Shelton, acclaimed indie director, died on Friday, May 15, in Los Angeles. She was 54 years old. The news was reported by IndieWire, which received a statement from Shelton’s romantic and creative partner, Marc Maron. He indicated that although her death was sudden and unexpected, it was not from COVID-19 but a previously unidentified blood disorder.
Maron said: “I have some awful news. Lynn passed away last night. 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.”
The statement continues:
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. 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. 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 a Talented Writer, Producer, Actor & Director Known for Her Work on Both Movies & TV Shows
Shelton was an acclaimed director in independent film, known for her movies like Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister and My Effortless Brilliance. She also directed episodes of popular shows like Mad Men, GLOW and most recently four episodes of Little Fires Everywhere.
Her first film, We Go Way Back, premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2006 and won the Grand Jury Prize. She followed it up with My Effortless Brilliance, a dark comedy that premiered at SXSW in 2008. She then came out with Humpday, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009 and was picked up for distribution by Magnolia Pictures.
In between her work making feature films, she directed episodes of TV shows like Mad Men and New Girl. In a 2019 interview, she spoke about how directing TV shows went from a way to “keep the bills paid so I could continue to make movies” into experiences that improved her filmmaking.
There was a three or four-year gap between Laggies and Outside In, and I was on set constantly doing television. And it really showed. When I showed up on the set of Outside In, it was like, ‘Oh, I’m a completely different filmmaker because of all the time I’ve logged.’ I’m not throwing my other films under the bus, but it became a process I felt more at peace with. I had much more of a plan of ‘what do I want to say when I’m talking to the cinematographer for this particular shot.’
Shelton Was Born in Ohio & Grew Up in Seattle Before Moving to New York
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This kid. Thanks, you, for deciding to swoop down from the heavens to make me a mom. And then for sticking around instead of leaving us when you got real sick when you were barely past your first birthday. Thank you thank you thank you. You’re the best thing I ever helped bring into the world.
Shelton was born on August 27, 1965, in Oberlin, Ohio, and grew up in Seattle. She returned to Ohio to attend Oberlin College before going to the University of Washington School of Drama. After graduation, she moved to New York and attended the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, where she studied in the master’s of fine arts program in photography and related media, according to IndieWire.
Shelton was married to actor Kevin Seal from 2011 until 2019, and the two had a son together, Milo Seal. In the last year before her death, Shelton was dating Marc Maron. Shelton is also survived by her parents Wendy and Alan Roedell, and David “Mac” Shelton and Frauke Rynd, as well as her brothers David Shelton and Robert Rynd and her sister Tanya Rynd.