“Clerks” Actress Lisa Spoonauer, 44, Dies in New Jersey
Lisa Spoonauer, the actress who played Caitlin Bree in the 1994 black-and-white cult classic “Clerks,” died Sunday in New Jersey. She was 44 years old.
The cause of death was not immediately clear.
According to her obituary, Spoonauer was born in Rahway, New Jersey and had lived in Jackson Township for the past six years, where she worked as a restaurant manager and event planner. Spoonauer maintained a low profile outside “Clerks,” only appearing in one other independent film – Gabe Torres‘s “Bartender.”
In a tribute to Spoonauer, “Clerks” director Kevin Smith said on Instagram that he was “captivated” when he first saw her acting.
“Lisa was easily the most natural and authentic voice in the room,” Smith said. “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.”
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.
Several of Spoonauer’s co-stars voiced their grief on social media this week.
I'm truly gutted by this news. I've learned that on Saturday Lisa Spoonauer passed away. My deepest condolences and prayers to her husband Tom and his family. She always had a wicked sense of humor and smile. I was blessed to have been part of an incredible life changing adventure with her. To this day it is a part of my life. Not a day goes by that she was mentioned or remembered in some fashion. She will live on in my heart and in the hearts of millions. Always in my heart. Rest in Peace Lisa. #RIPLisaSpoonauer
Words can not even begin to express how heartbroken I am to hear that Lisa Spoonauer passed away on Saturday. My sincerest and deepest condolences to her husband Tom, her dearest daughter Mia and the rest of the family. I was blessed to have gotten to share an experience with her and the rest of the Clerks family that cannot be measured and will always be remembered. Prayers to you always. You will be forever in our hearts Lisa. #RIPLisaSpoonauer <3
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