Clerks star Lisa Spoonauer died on Saturday at age 44.
The actress, who starred in the cult classic 1994 film, passed away at her home in Jackson Township, New Jersey, according to an obituary posted on the Hassler Funeral Home
Clerks director Kevin Smith took to Instagram to announce the sad news, sharing some photos from Spoonauer's time on the film, as well as a heartfelt essay honoring the actress' life.
"Devastated to report that #LisaSpoonauer, who played Caitlin in #clerks, has passed away," the 46-year-old filmmaker wrote. "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," he continued. "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," Smith raved about Spoonauer's talent as a performer. "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."
Spoonauer will be remembered in a ceremony for friends and family in New Jersey on Friday.