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Clerks Actress Lisa Spoonauer Passes Away

Clerks actress Lisa Spoonauer has passed away at the age of 44. The movie's director Kevin Smith announced the news on his Instagram account, writing, "Devastated to report that #LisaSpoonauer, who played Caitlin in #clerks, has passed away." 

Smith wrote a touching story about how he discovered Spoonauer, saying that he had held open auditions for the role of Caitlin, Dante's high school girlfriend, but hadn't found the right girl. He decided to drop in on an acting class at a nearby community college, where he found Spoonauer, "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," he wrote, saying that he tracked her down in the parking lot later that day and asked if she wanted to be in a movie. "Fearlessly, she replied, 'Not if it's porn,'" he said. Smith gave her the script and his phone number, and she called back a few days later, saying, "Well it's not porn, but everybody talks like it is. It's funny. I'll do it." 

Smith wrote that, while Spoonauer was a complete stranger at first, she quickly became one of the most important people he'd ever meet, perfecting the character over a month of rehearsal. Smith particularly commended her performance in the seven-minute scene with Brian in the video store, saying that it "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." 

Smith, though, wrote that Spoonauer was more than just an actress. She was also a mother to her daughter Mia, who Smith says she always gushed about proudly. "My heart goes out to [her husband] Tom, Mia and Lisa's family," Smith wrote. "Thank you for dreaming my dream with me. You changed my life, Lisa." Smith's fellow Clerks co-stars Marilyn Ghigliotti and Brian O'Halloran also posted remembrances on their Instagram pages.

Spoonauer left acting shortly after Clerks and became a restaurant manager and event planner in New Jersey, according to NJ.com. Her cause of death was not immediately announced, but her family has set up a Just Giving page to collect donations for the Patient Advocate Foundation, which helps those with chronic illness.