Born in 1982, Lily Wheelwright, a star of Ry Russo-Young's "Orphans," died last week at the age of 24. The film debuted earlier this month at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin. Wheelwright and "Orphans" director Ry Russo-Young met at the age of six and the two attended at Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn. A student of Yale University and the Art Institute of Chicago, Wheelwright studied acting at Columbia University and made several short films, including a recent project inspired by dance marathons of the Depression era. "Stamina," the first installment, was a 24-hour marathon that yielded a trailer which was screened at Art Basel Miami 2005. She was also involved with Ryan McGinley's photography series "An Accessible Eden" and attended SXSW with "Orphans."
"I've known Lily since we were little kids and attended the same school," Ry Russo-Young told indieWIRE on Tuesday. "Since she was a child, she has been extremely talented in many different respects. She was a wonderful person to be around, funny and full of light. Lily gave so much of her own creative character to the role of Roise in 'Orphans', from putting her legs up the wall in one scene to singing in another. Working with her was an experience that I will always cherish. I will miss her terribly."