Clerks actress

Sad news for fans of writer/director Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse: actress Lisa Spoonauer, who appeared in Smith’s 1994 breakout debut film Clerks, has died at the age of 44. Read touching tributes from her Clerks co-star Brian O’Halloran and from Smith himself below.

Spoonauer passed away this weekend from unknown causes and is survived by her husband, her daughter, and her stepson. She only appeared in two feature films in her career – Clerks and a 1997 movie called Bartender – but she reprised her role as Dante’s high school girlfriend Caitlin Bree through voiceover in an episode of Clerks: The Animated Series in the early 2000s. Later in life, she worked as a restaurant manager and an event planner. Here’s a quick clip of her work in Clerks:

O’Halloran, who played Dante in Clerks, shared a brief tribute on Facebook:

Director Kevin Smith also shared a tribute to his former star, praising her acting talents and recounting how he discovered her in a community college acting class:

Devastated to report that #LisaSpoonauer, who played Caitlin in #clerks, has passed away. In 1992, I went looking for Lisa without knowing either who she was or the integral role she’d play in my life. I’d held a night of open auditions at the #firstavenueplayhouse (where we found @briancohalloran and @marilynghigliotti) but the perfect Caitlin Bree never walked through the door. So I popped into an acting class at Brookdale Community College and watched the students from the back. Lisa was easily the most natural and authentic voice in the room. She didn’t sound like she was acting at all; she delivered scripted dialogue as if she was inventing her conversation in the moment, like people do in real life. Captivated, I approached Lisa cold in the parking lot after the class and said “This is gonna sound creepy but… Do you wanna be in a movie?” Fearlessly, she replied “Not if it’s porn.” I told her a bit about Clerks and gave her a copy of the script and my phone number. She called me a few days later and said “Well it’s not porn, but everybody talks like it is. It’s funny. I’ll do it.” A complete stranger at first, Lisa quickly became one of the most important people I’d ever meet when she joined Brian, #JeffAnderson, Marilyn, @jaymewes, @samosier, @davidkleinasc and me as one of the chief architects of my first film. We rehearsed for a month straight in the store after hours, where Lisa perfected Caitlin (and fell in love with Jeff). The first night of the shoot, Lisa had to maneuver her way through a seven minute scene with Brian in the video store, when Caitlin finally shows up in the movie. Lisa and Brian CRUSHED it in one long take that still remains one of my favorite scenes I’ve ever shot – not because it shows off any directorial flare (it doesn’t) but because it exemplified how great the performers were since we never had to cut away from their 2-shot. But as strong an actress as she was, Lisa was an even more excellent Mother to her daughter Mia. Whenever we’d Facebook later in life, she’d gush about her baby girl proudly. My heart goes out to Tom, Mia and Lisa’s family. Thank you for dreaming my dream with me. You changed my life, Lisa.

A post shared by Kevin Smith (@thatkevinsmith) on May 23, 2017 at 2:32pm PDT

Rest in peace.

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