Friday, November 10, 2006

The Unbelievable Truth

I just found out that indie actress Adrienne Shelly was murdered 10 days ago. Is this major national news that I’ve somehow missed? Because if it is, then this blog post is redundant, but I'm posting it anyway.

I’m stunned. Shelly starred in two of my favorite Hal Hartley films, The Unbelievable Truth and Trust. She wasn’t a well-known actress, but I always found her tremendously likeable and winning. I don’t know why she didn’t get more roles. I like to think it was because she was selective and couldn't abide the thought of acting in schlocky Hollywood flicks.

The circumstances of her death were tragic all the way round. She was working in a Manhattan apartment that she used as an office. She registered a complaint about noise a construction crew was making elsewhere in the building. One of the workers, an illegal immigrant from Ecuador, got into an argument with her and knocked her unconscious. Fearing he’d killed her and he’d be deported, he dragged her into her bathroom and hung her from the shower rod to make it look like suicide.

At first detectives did think it was suicide, but the Ecuadorian left behind a footprint and police somehow tracked him down. After questioning, he confessed to the murder. The whole thing sounds like one of those barely plausible plots from a 1950s film noir, but it really did happen. Unbelievable.

The Ecuadorian is only 19 and speaks almost no English. Who knows what will happen to him now? Shelly’s career is cut short at the age of 40, perhaps, when she was just hitting her stride. She'd just wrapped a movie she’d written and directed herself, Waitress. But the most tragic thing? Shelly’s three-year-old daughter will grow up remembering little about her mother except for the fact that she was murdered.

Update: In the comments Dave notes that Adrienne Shelly died of compression of the neck. I checked this. It's true, which means she was alive when when he hanged her. Terrible.

Today’s Random NaBloPoMo blog: Liz is working


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