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'Clerks' Actress Lisa Spoonauer Dead At 44 (Photo)

| by Jonathan Constante

Actress Lisa Spoonauer has died at the age of 44.

Spoonauer was best known for her role as Caitlin Bree in the 1994 cult classic "Clerks." She was found dead on May 20 in her New Jersey home, the Daily Mail reported.

While her iconic role as Caitlin Bree quickly earned her a fan base, she would only appear in one more movie in her career as an actress. That movie was 1997 drama "Bartender."

Spoonauer would go on to become a restaurant manager and event planner, according to her obituary. She married "Clerks" costar Jeff Anderson in 1998, but they split up a year later. She then married Tom Caron, and had a daughter named Mia and a stepson named Tyler.

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Director Kevin Smith wrote a heartfelt tribute to Spoonauer on Instagram. He recalled the moment he met her and how he got her to play the role of Caitlin Bree for his "Clerks" movie:

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 [Brian Cohalloran] and [Marilyn Ghigliotti]) 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, [Jay Mewes], [Scott Mosier], [David Klein] 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).

Smith not only spoke about Spoonauer's natural acting abilities, but also her maternal skills.

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"But as strong an actress as she was, Lisa was an even more excellent Mother to her daughter Mia," Smith wrote. "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."

It is unknown at this time how Spoonauer died.

Her funeral liturgy will be given on May 27 at 9:30 a.m. at St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church in Jackson Township, New Jersey.

Sources: Daily Mail, Hassler Funeral Home, thatkevinsmith/Instagram / Photo credit: PixabayFacebook via New York Daily News

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