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Lisa Spoonauer, ‘Clerks’ Actress, Dead at 44 — Read Kevin Smith’s Emotional Tribute

"Thank you for dreaming my dream with me," Smith wrote.

Lisa Spoonauer in Clerks

Lisa Spoonauer, best known for playing Caitlin Bree, Dante’s (Brian O’Halloran) high school girlfriend in Kevin Smith’s 1994 film “Clerks,” has died. She was 44.

Smith confirmed the sad news on Tuesday via a heartfelt message on Instagram. “Devastated to report that Lisa Spoonauer, who played Caitlin in ‘Clerks,’ has passed away,” Smith wrote.

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While looking for the right actress to play Caitlin, Smith discovered Lisa in an acting class at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey. “In 1992, I went looking for Lisa without knowing either who she was or the integral role she’d play in my life,” the director wrote. “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.”

Smith added, “A complete stranger at first, Lisa quickly became one of the most important people I’d ever meet when she joined Brian, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn (Ghigliotti), Jay Mewes, Scott Mosier, David Klein, and me as one of the chief architects of my first film.”

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After “Clerks,” Lisa appeared in Gabe Torres’ 1997 film “Bartender.” She then reprised her role as the voice of Caitlin in the 2001 “Clerks” animated series, her third and final acting credit.

Smith also praised Lisa’s role as a mother. “But as strong an actress as she was, Lisa was an even more excellent Mother to her daughter Mia,” he wrote. “Whenever we’d [Facetime] later in life, she’d gush about her baby girl proudly.”

The director concluded, “My heart goes out to Tom, Mia and Lisa’s family. Thank you for dreaming my dream with me. You changed my life, Lisa.”

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.

A post shared by Kevin Smith (@thatkevinsmith) on

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