Independent film director, writer, producer, and editor Lynn Shelton died Friday of a previously unknown blood disorder in Los Angeles. Shelton was known for her prolific work on films like Humpday, Sword of Trust, and Your Sister’s Sister, as well as on television series including Mad Men, GLOW, and most recently, Little Fires Everywhere. She was 54.
Shelton’s distinctive understated style and improvisational approach to filmmaking made her a leading figure in indie film, as well as a pioneer of the mumblecore genre. After working as a photographer and actor, she made her film debut in 2006 with We Go Way Back, and went on to write and direct eight feature films in 14 years. In that time, she won the Slamdance Grand Jury Award, the Sundance Special Jury Prize, and the Independent Spirit Awards’ John Cassavetes Award, among many other honors.
Shelton met comedian Marc Maron while directing his series GLOW, and had been dating Maron for the past year. “She collapsed yesterday morning after having been ill for a week,” Maron said of Shelton in a statement on Saturday. “There was a previously unknown, underlying condition. It was not COVID-19. The doctors could not save her. They tried. Hard.” As recently as May 7, Maron and Shelton told IndieWire they were collaborating on a screenplay together while in quarantine.
“She was a beautiful, kind, loving, charismatic artist,” Maron continued. “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.”