Lisa Spoonauer may not be a household name, but for a generation of film lovers, she’ll always be remembered for her performance in one of the seminal films of the indie era.
Spoonauer played the role of Caitlin Bree in Kevin Smith’s 1994 slacker classic, Clerks.
On Tuesday, the filmmaker took to social media to confirm that Spoonauer had passed away unexpectedly at the age of 44.
Smith credits Spoonauer as “one of the chief architects” of Clerks, and though she starred in just one other film, her role in helping to bring one of the most influential cinematic works of the ’90s to life will not soon be forgotten by movie fans.
Smith paid tribute to Spoonauer in the following lengthy tribute, which he posted to his Instagram page last night:
“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.”
He concluded with a heartwarmingly hilarious remembrance of his first conversation with Spoonauer:
“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 wrote.
“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.”
“Thank you for dreaming my dream with me. You changed my life, Lisa.”
The cause of Spoonauer’s death remains unknown.
She is survived by her husband, Tom Caron; her daughter, Mia Spoonauer; her stepson, Tyler Caron.