2ND UPDATE, 10:25 AM: The family of Jill Messick has set a memorial service for this Friday at 11:30 AM PT. It will be held at Calamigos Ranch, at 327 Latigo Canyon Road in Malibu. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Women in Entertainment Program sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles. The program offers young women who are beating the odds in the face of adversity the opportunity to work directly with some of the most influential professional women in entertainment. Mentees in the program receive exposure to the entertainment industry, help with developing and expanding their goals for higher education as well as college prep support and college scholarships.
Jill Messick, Producer And Studio Exec, Dead Of Suicide At 50
UPDATE, February 9, 9:05 AM: The outpouring toward Jill Messick continues, as testimonials range from Universal Pictures chief Donna Langley to Seth Meyers, Salma Hayek and more. Find them below.
PREVIOUSLY: The death of Jill Messick, the former exec and producer, is generating an outpouring of reminiscences from people she helped at a time when they were starting out. Messick’s family today released a barbed statement after her death, lamenting that being dragged into the Harvey Weinstein- Rose McGowan mess was just too much for her. But that association hardly defines her; it was a nano second of a long career. Here are some of the people on whose lives and careers Messick made a formidable impact. This post will be updated as more messages come in.
If there was a person most aligned with Messick’s career, it might well be Lorne Michaels. Messick grew up as an executive with Michaels, working on various comedies. Said Michaels: “In the six years that Jill and I worked together, we made Mean Girls, Baby Mama, Hot Rod and Masterminds. In that time, I found to her to be incredibly thoughtful, kind and the consummate professional. She had the rarest of Hollywood skills; she always told you the truth. If she said it was so, it was so. My heart goes out to Jill’s family and I can only hope they take solace in knowing she was deeply loved and respected by her colleagues. She was an honorable woman. Jill will be truly missed.”
Donna Langley, Chairman, Universal Pictures: “During her collaboration with Universal on Baby Mama, Jill proved herself an unparalleled creative executive. Her impeccable taste was matched only by her spirited sensibility and kindness, and my heart goes out to Kevin and their children for their loss. She will be deeply missed.”
Salma Hayek: “I am deeply saddened by the loss of Jill Messick. Jill was Frida‘s executive at Miramax. She always navigated the frustrating and hostile environment of Miramax with grace and elegance. She became my ally and my friend. In the many years we worked together I witnessed her professionalism while being pregnant, a mother and through incredible pressure. She was a girl’s girl and a romantic when it came to fighting for the underdog. I will forever be grateful for her support and kindness. My heart is with her husband Kevin, her precious children Jackson and Ava and her friends and family, that like me cherish her memory. May she Rest In Peace .”
Seth Meyers: “I met Jill working on the set of Hot Rod. She was everything you want in a producer. A great listener, a sharp mind and a good friend. She will be missed.”
Chloë Sevigny: “Jill was the first guiding force I had in Hollywood. She was my mentor – I slept on her couch. I mourn for her and what she had to go through these past years. I am without further words.”
Michael McCullers, writer/director of Baby Mama: “One of the most horrible things about depression is that it makes you forgot who you are— that you were ever happy, that you were ever strong. We should all remember that Jill worked hard, stood up for herself, had fun, made movies, loved and was loved.”
M Night Shymalan: “I met Jill when I was 22, living at my parent’s house and overwhelmed. She helped fight for my second film to get made at Miramax. Really made me feel I had a big sister protecting me. I am deeply saddened to hear of this tragedy. We take for granted the angels that come into our lives.”
Mark Waters: “Jill helped me get hired for Mean Girls, an opportunity I will always be thankful for. She was a terrific producer, there with me every day on set, and always a tireless, positive presence. She will be sadly missed by all of us who knew her.”
Tina Fey: “This is very sad news and my heart goes out to her family. Jill was instrumental in helping Mean Girls get to the screen. She was a fiercely dedicated producer and a kind person.”
Cathy Konrad: “I hired Jill in 1997. She was a vibrant young executive — a quick study with a keen eye for spotting new talent. What she did not know, she figured out on the move, and covered the town with her brand of moxie and charm. She approached the often relentless day to day of our business with stars in her eyes, holding fast to her Hollywood dream. Jill’s dreams ended too soon, and her story, now shared by her family, illuminates yet again, the devastating and toxic weight many woman have been carrying, in silence, for fear of lost opportunities, or getting pushed out of profession that they love. Our community continues to hear, these complicated narratives that all echo with a common and, too often tragic theme — wonderful, vibrant woman, struggling emotionally to make sense of painful workplace traumas.
I am so sad that Jill did not feel she had greater champions for her voice, as she devoted so much energy to carry others across the finish line. Jill was star in her own right, and I am sure that she is now burning brighter then ever, in what is surely a beautiful place, that has enough space for dreams as big as the universe will allow, in peace.”
Hot Rod directors/writers/stars Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg & Jorma Taccone: “We met Jill on our first movie Hot Rod. She was working as a producer for Lorne Michaels at the time and guided us through every step of the journey. We were new to everything and she graciously held our hands through the production, fought on our behalf and always cared about the creative process. She brought warmth and positivity to the set and the world. She will be missed.”
Producer Peter Abrams: “I worked intensely with Jill as an executive at Miramax for many years, from long days on the set during production to long hours in the office working tirelessly trying to make scripts sing. She was dedicated to excellence in all that she did, and always with a smile on her face and an understanding of her collaborators’ points of view. She will be missed by all those she touched with her grace, wit and talent.”
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