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Hartley Ingenue Adrienne Shelly Dead at 40

The Associated Press is reporting that actress Adrienne Shelly, the New York indie ingenue best known for her early roles in Hal Hartley's The Unbelievable Truth and Trust, died Wednesday at her Manhattan office. The cause of death has not been determined; she was 40.

Shelly's last performance was opposite Matt Dillon in this year's Factotum; more recently, she was in post-production on Waitress, her fifth film as a writer/director. Born in Queens in 1966, she was raised on Long Island, where Hartley cast her in 1989 as The Unbelievable Truth's precocious, lovestruck teen Audry. It's a performance boasting a sort of jaded grace that she adapted to her follow-up in Hartley's Trust, this time playing the forlorn high-school dropout Maria; she followed up with a few dozen more film and TV roles, ultimately directing her first film, Sudden Manhattan, in 1996.

Tragically, Shelly leaves behind a husband and 3-year-old daughter. The Reeler sends its heartfelt condolences, and will be toasting her memory at the first (and second and probably third) opportunity we get.

UPDATE: The NY Post reports today that Shelly's death was a suicide -- maybe:

Law-enforcement sources said they are inclined to believe Shelly's death - which for now remains unclassified by the medical examiner - was a suicide, noting there was no sign of struggle or forced entry in the fourth-floor apartment.
But she left no note and cops were investigating sneaker prints in the bathtub that did not match Shelly's shoes.

(via Movie City Indie)

Posted at November 3, 2006 12:50 AM

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