‘Clerks’ Actress Lisa Spoonauer Dies at 44

“Lisa was easily the most natural and authentic voice in the room,” says “Clerks” director Kevin Smith

Lisa Spoonauer, who played Caitlin Bree in the 1994 film “Clerks,” has died, the film’s director Kevin Smith said Tuesday. She was 44.

“Devastated to report that #LisaSpoonauer, who played Caitlin in #clerks, has passed away,” Smith wrote. “In 1992, I went looking for Lisa without knowing either who she was or the integral role she’d play in my life.”

Smith went on to recall how, after a night of open auditions, he failed to find the “perfect Caitlin Bree,” so he dropped in at an acting class at Brookdale Community College to scout for talent.

“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 recalled. “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.'”

Smith went on to say that Spooauer “quickly became one of the mot important people I’d ever meet.”

Spoonauer later married her “Clerks” co-star Jeff Anderson. They were married for a year, from 1998 to 1999.

In addition to her role in “Clerks,” Spoonauer appeared in the Gabe Torres film “Bartender,” and reprised her Caitlin character for a voice role in an episode of the animated TV  series “Clerks.”

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.

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Smith concluded his tribute, “Thank you for dreaming my dream with me. You changed my life, Lisa.”