26 July 2014

Suckers And The Death Of Adrienne Shelly.

When the “Waitress” movie came out in 2007 my wife and I went to see it at the theater.  Andy Griffith is in it in his last role before he died, as the no-nonsense owner of Lulu’s pie café.  There are three waitresses that work at the café and talk to each other about their relationships.  They are likable humble put-upon women.  

Especially the lead character, Jenna, who is pregnant and hides money from her husband, eventually to escape her marriage.  He finds out and smacks her for her financial infidelity, so you don‘t much care for him.  The rest of the men in the film are not much more likable.

Jenna (Keri Russell) is a genius at making unique tasty pies and names them for events in her life.

She has an affair with her married physician, Dr. Pomatter.  In the end she stands up to her husband and wins a pie contest and has a daughter and the movie ends with the two of them walking off, manlessly, confidently, hopefully into the sunset.  Shelly’s own daughter, Sophie, makes her screen debut as the little girl.

I mention this movie because I stayed to watch the credits and saw a memorial to the director of the film.

I realized it meant Adrienne Shelly, forty, the writer, director, co-producer and also an actress in her own film, must have died before it came out.  Curious, I looked up what happened to her and learned she was found dead hanging with a sheet knotted around her neck from a shower rod in her office bathroom. 

The day she died, the first of November, her husband dropped her off in Greenwich Village, at an apartment she used for an office at about nine-thirty in the morning and when he hadn’t heard from her and couldn’t reach her he went there and, along with the doorman, discovered her body. 

Police initially considered Shelly's death a suicide, but this was vehemently protested by her husband and family.  She had a movie coming out, and many other projects in the hopper, and a three-year-old daughter.  "There's no way on this planet that she would have left that child," said husband Andrew Ostroy.  "Nobody is ever going to tell me that woman walked away from Sophie."