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Author Topic: Adrienne Shelly, R.I.P.  (Read 4179 times)
Holden Pike
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« on: November 08, 2006, 05:36:19 PM »



What an odd, sad tale.

On November 1st, actress and director Adrienne Shelly was found dead in her Brooklyn office. It was an apparent suicide as she was found hanging in the shower. But the police didn't close the case right away, and five days later the report came out that it was in fact a murder and an arrest had been made, including a confession.

She was busy editing a film at her office, which is in a Brooklyn apartment building. There is construction going on at the address, and apparently Shelly complained about the noise. I guess she complained to the wrong guy on the wrong day, because the ninteen-year-old construction worker who confessed to the crime says he hit her; so brutally that it killed her. He then took the body back upstairs to her office and staged the suicide.

Ick.



I had always liked Adrienne on screen since she burst onto the independent scene in a couple of Hal Hartley's movies in the early 1990s: The Unbelievable Truth (1989) and Trust (1990). I really love her in both of those movies, especially Trust where she plays a weird pregnant teenageer who latches on to Martin Donovan's principled loner.

Unlike some of her contempraries such as Parker Posey, Catherine Keener and Lili Taylor, Shelly never really broke out from the small indie projects. But she did work steadily, including Sleep with Me (1994), The Road Killers (1994), Revolution #9 (2001) and this year's Factotum (2006) as well as a string of guest appearances on television series like NBC's "Law & Order" and HBO's "Oz". You can also see her as herself in Searching for Debra Winger (2002), actress Rosanna Arquette's documentary about how the film industry treats actresses as they age. She moved behind the camera to become a producer, writer and director as well, helming the independendt features Sudden Manhattan (1997) and I'll Take You There (1999). She was in the editing process on her latest, Waitress, starring Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Jeremy Sisto, Cheryl Hines and Andy Griffith when she was murdered. No word yet in the wake of the tragedy on what will happen to that project.



What an odd and awful end to her life. She had just turned forty this summer. Rest in peace, Adrienne.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2006, 11:22:18 PM by Holden Pike » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2006, 06:31:34 PM »

Yeah, I've been hearing about this on the local all-news station. The way the story is coming out now, the blow to her head didn't kill her; the hanging did. They've charged the worker with second-degree murder.

What a sad story ... R.I.P.
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Holden Pike
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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2006, 06:45:44 PM »

Yeah, I've been hearing about this on the local all-news station. The way the story is coming out now, the blow to her head didn't kill her; the hanging did.

Double ick.
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2006, 07:42:58 PM »

I think her last name is actually spelled Shelly (without the second "e"). At least, that's how the IMDb has it, and The New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/nyregion/08actress.html

That's the news story ... here's the Times obit.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/04/obituaries/04shelly.html

An excerpt:

Quote
Ms. Shelly played leading or featured roles in more than two dozen Off Broadway plays (many at the Workhouse Theater in Manhattan), in movies and on television shows. Last year she was featured in the movie “Factotum,” starring Matt Dillon. She had recently finished directing “Waitress,” a movie she wrote and directed, which is under consideration for inclusion in the Sundance Film Festival.

Ms. Shelly wrote and directed several other independent films, including “Sudden Manhattan” (1997), in which zany characters collide in Lower Manhattan, and “I’ll Take You There” (1999), a romantic comedy about a real estate broker whose wife leaves him for his best friend.

Ms. Shelly, who changed her name from Adrienne Levine, was born on June 16, 1966, in Queens. She is survived by her husband, Andy Ostroy, and a daughter, Sophie.

Ms. Shelly started performing at 9 in arts camps on Long Island and upstate. She dropped out of Boston University after her junior year and moved to Manhattan.

She got her break in movies in 1989 when Mr. Hartley cast her as the lead in “The Unbelievable Truth,” his bizarre comedy about a high school senior obsessed with nuclear annihilation. A year later, with Ms. Shelly in mind, Mr. Hartley revised a script he had written as a film student, “Trust,” another dark comedy, which touched on child abuse, abortion and mental illness. In 1993 Janet Maslin wrote in The New York Times that Ms. Shelly was “a spirited and captivating actress capable of perfect deadpan delivery.”

Pointing out that her acting style was often described as “quirky,” Ms. Shelly once said that “when you read ‘quirky’ over and over again, ‘quirky’ starts to feel like an insult.” In 2002 her performance in the movie “Revolution No. 9,” a psychodrama in which she played the fiancée of a young man slipping into schizophrenia, was described by the Times critic A. O. Scott as “subtle and restrained.”
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Holden Pike
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« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2006, 11:24:28 PM »

I think her last name is actually spelled Shelly (without the second "e").
\

Yeah, you're absolutely right. I was so conscious of remembering to spell Adrienne with an "ie" instead of an "ia" that I wasn't paying any attention at all to her last name's correct spelling.

Thanks for the Times obit. I had missed it.
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« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2006, 02:00:42 PM »

Truly a tragedy! RIP
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Holden Pike
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« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2006, 02:03:58 PM »

 

Trust isdefinitely my favorite of the movies she was in. The Unbelievable Truth is on R1 DVD, but frustratingly not Trust. That Hal Hartley flick did make it onto R4 Australian DVD and R2 French DVD (I've got he Aussie disc), but somehow never here in America.

Another movie she starred in that I really liked and is available on R1 DVD is Revolution #9 (2001). I bought it originally because it had a supporting role for one of my favorites, Spalding Gray, in one of the last few movies he made before the car accident that led to his depression and ultimately to his suicide in 2004. It's about a young man (Michael Risley) and his descent into schizophrenia. He starts to believe he's getting messages everywhere and that just about everybody is in on a conspiracy against him. Adrienne plays his fiancé who tries to deal with the situation and finds roadblocks getting him adequate treatment in the health care system, and Spalding is the director of a television commercial that he's become convinced has a coded message boring into his brain. It's a good look at the disease, its effects on the individual and those close to them. Risley, Shelly and Spalding are all great. The R1 DVD has an audio commentary track with Adrienne, Michael Risley and the writer/director Tim McCann (Desolation Angels).

Adrienne is also in an episode of one of my favorite TV shows from the '90s, "Homicide: Life on the Street". It's titled "A Many Splendored Thing" and aired in January of 1994 during the show's abbreviated second season. She plays the owner of a leather shop, and her friend and employee is the dead girl who's case Pembleton and Bayliss are working. She only has three scenes, but they're all good, including the gift she brings for Kyle Secor's Tim Bayliss in the squad room to end the episode.
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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2007, 12:48:02 AM »

And now ... Adrienne Shelly's death has inspired (or if you prefer, is being exploited in) an episode of Law and Order.

Murder, They Wrote

Sounds as if they've changed quite a few details, especially about the film the victim was working on and the suspects in the case.

The film Shelly was actually working on at her death, Waitress, was shown last month at Sundance to "acclaim and tears," as it says in the above article, and has been picked up for distribution by Fox Searchlight Pictures.
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