‘I am as proud of my deep friendship as I am of my 38-year marriage and being a mother,’ said the Oscar winner
Frances McDormand has paid tribute to her Nomadland co-star Melissa Yandell Smith.
Smith died aged 64 on 7 September at her home in San Francisco surrounded by her husband, son, brother and friends, an obituary in The New York Times confirmed.
The actor made her film debut opposite McDormand in last year’s critically acclaimed drama Nomadland, which won three major Oscars, including Best Picture.
In it, Smith stars as Dolly, the sister of McDormand’s character, Fern. One of the film’s many touching moments sees Dolly tell Fern: “You could see me when I was hiding from everybody else. Sometimes you could see me before I saw myself. I needed that in my life.”
The pair, however, were friends long before acting opposite one another in the 2020 film.
McDormand met Smith when they were classmates at the Yale School of Drama in the late Seventies.
She gave an emotional statement to the San Francisco Chronicle, as per Metro, in the wake of Smith’s death.
“We had a 42-year friendship that incorporated our ambitions, our dreams, our successes and our failures,” said McDormand. “I am as proud of my deep friendship as I am of my 38-year marriage and being a mother to my adored son.”
According to Deadline, Smith had served as Conservatory Director at the American Conservatory Theatre since 1995 before health conditions prompted her exit from the position in December last year.
The publication also reports that during her time at the Yale School of Drama, Smith starred opposite Glenn Close in a production of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya.