As Hollywood celebrated yesterday, one of its independent voices quietly slipped away.
Gary Winick, director of Letters to Juliet, Bride Wars and 13 Going on 30, died at age 49 following a long fight with brain cancer.
Though most filmgoers probably know his work directing actress-friendly films starring Amanda Seyfried, Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson and Jennifer Garner, the director was also a force in independent film.
As founder of InDigEnt, Winick produced 19 independent films over the last decade, including Ethan Hawke's Chelsea Walls, the Katie Holmes vehicle Pieces of April, Rebecca Miller's Personal Velocity and his own Sundance hit, Tadpole.
"Many people will write about Gary Winick's extraordinary talents as a mentor, a director, a producer, and a pioneer in the independent cinema world, but perhaps his greatest talent of all was his genius for friendship. He turned professional relationships into lifelong friendships, and he gave endless support and enthusiasm to lifelong friends," longtime manager Rosalie Swedlin tells E! News.
"In the immortal words of E.B. White in Charlotte's Web, 'It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.' Gary wrote a most 'radiant,' 'terrific,' and 'humble' life which his many friends and associates had the gift of sharing."
His passing was first announced Sunday, as filmmaker Matt Dentler tweeted, "Gary Winick died today. Too late to make the Oscars tribute, but way too early. He leaves behind a legacy of supporting indie film and NYC."