Acclaimed indie film and television director Lynn Shelton passed away on Friday in Los Angeles, reportedly due to an undetected blood disorder. She was 54.
“I have some awful news,” comedian and podcaster Marc Maron, who was in a romantic relationship with Shelton, said in a statement on Saturday. “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.”
“I loved her very much as I know many of you did as well. It’s devastating,” Maron continued. “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,” he added. “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.”
Just this past week, Maron told listeners of his WTF podcast that Shelton had come down with a sore throat and fever and he worried that she had contracted COVID-19, despite the fact that they had been staying home together and mostly avoiding any contact with the outside world. She got tested and the results came back negative.
Shelton directed her first film, We Go Way Back, just 14 years ago. But since then, she had become a ubiquitous presence in the indie film and television landscape. She wrote and directed Humpday and Your Sister’s Sister, both starring Mark Duplass, who tweeted about their deep connection on Saturday afternoon.
In the TV world, she directed episodes of Mad Men, New Girl, The Mindy Project, Master of None, Casual, The Good Place, Fresh Off the Boat and many others, including several episodes of this year’s Little Fires Everywhere. And she collaborated perhaps most frequently with Maron, first on his eponymous show for IFC and then later on Netflix’s GLOW and his two most recent stand-up specials, 2017’s Too Real and this year’s End Times Fun, which this writer recently named one of the 10 best comedy specials to stream under quarantine.
Last year, she also directed Maron in the improvised film Sword of Trust, which premiered at SXSW and garnered rave reviews for both her direction and his performance. She told The Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon that she had a vision of Maron as a curmudgeonly pawn shop owner, joking, “Why didn’t someone think of this before me?”
Speaking about the experience of watching a recent retrospective of her work, she added, “It was really fun to realize that I have a body of work, you know? And if I never made another movie, I would leave behind a body of work that I’m really proud of.”