Actresses Salma Hayek, Tina Fey, and Chloe Sevigny have paid tribute to tragic producer Jill Messick following her suicide on Wednesday (07Feb18).
The 50-year-old movie executive, who suffered severe depression for decades, took her own life after finding herself embroiled in Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault scandal, which exploded in October (17) after the publication of an expose in The New York Times.
Shortly after the news broke, actress Rose McGowan accused the Hollywood heavyweight of raping her at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997, while she was managed by Messick, who went on to work with Weinstein at his Miramax production company until 2003.
Messick’s family claimed the media backlash following the allegations caused her to suffer a mental breakdown in January (18), which ultimately led to her death.
Now a number of Messick’s celebrity colleagues have expressed their sadness at the news, with Hayek remembering her as a champion for the “underdog” after working together on her 2002 movie Frida.
The Frida Kahlo biopic was produced by Weinstein, who Salma has accused of sexually harassing and berating her during filming.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Jill Messick…,” Salma wrote on Instagram beside a photo of the executive. “She always navigated the frustrating and hostile environment of Miramax with grace and elegance. She became my ally and my friend…”
“She was a girl’s girl and a romantic when it came to fighting for the underdog,” continued the caption.
“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.”
Sevigny also reveals she’s heartbroken by the loss of a longtime friend: “Jill was the first guiding force I had in Hollywood,” she explained. “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.”
Meanwhile, Fey honored Messick as a “fiercely dedicated producer and a kind person” who was “instrumental” in helping her get 2004 comedy Mean Girls made, as filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan shared his admiration for the producer, likening her to a “big sister” who made an effort to protect him as he found his way in Hollywood.
“I am deeply saddened to hear of this tragedy,” he concluded. “We take for granted the angels that come into our lives.”