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Jill Messick, a veteran studio executive and producer, died by suicide in Los Angeles on Wednesday, her family told The Hollywood Reporter. The exec was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had been battling depression for years. She was 50.
Messick, who worked as an exec at Miramax and at the Paramount-based Lorne Michaels Productions, was an executive producer on several comedy features including Relativity’s Masterminds (2016), Universal’s Baby Mama (2008) and Paramount’s Hot Rod (2007). She also executive produced NBC’s comedy series Bad Judge.
At Miramax, where she was a production executive from 1997 to 2003, Messick served as co-executive producer on 1999 comedy She’s All That and was part of the team that worked on the 2002 Oscar-winning film Frida. She also served as an executive producer on Warner Bros.’ upcoming Minecraft video game adaptation with Roy Lee.
“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,” stated Tina Fey, who worked with Messick in adapting Rosalind Wiseman’s book Queen Bees & Wanna Bees for the screen as 2004’s Mean Girls.
“I found her to be incredibly thoughtful, kind and the consummate professional,” stated Lorne Michaels. “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.”
Added director 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.”
Earlier in her career, Messick was Rose McGowan’s manager. The actress was a client of Messick’s when, in January 1997 during the Sundance Film Festival, McGowan accused Harvey Weinstein of rape.
Messick’s name recently made headlines when, on Jan. 30 of this year, Weinstein’s attorney, Ben Brafman, released an email to news outlets attributed to Messick in defense of his client, the disgraced mogul.
In a statement Thursday to THR, Messick’s family was sharply critical of Weinstein and McGowan: “Jill was victimized by our new culture of unlimited information sharing and a willingness to accept statement as fact. The speed of disseminating information has carried mistruths about Jill as a person, which she was unable and unwilling to challenge. She became collateral damage in an already horrific story.” The family’s full statement is here.
“Over the past few months, many women have come out with allegations against Harvey Weinstein, including Rose McGowan, who has repeatedly spoken with the press, striking out against not only her alleged attacker, but a great many others,” Messick’s family stated. “One of them was Jill, who chose to remain silent in the face of Rose’s slanderous statements against her for fear of undermining the many individuals who came forward in truth.”
Messick was born on July 27, 1967. She attended Santa Barbara High School and later the University of Southern California, graduating with a degree in communications. She is survived by two children, Jackson and Ava; their father, Kevin Messick; her father, Michael; her brother, Jan; and her partner, Dan Schuck.
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