Patton Oswalt Marks Anniversary of Wife Michelle McNamara's Death With Heartbreaking Tribute

Patton Oswalt took to Instagram to write a touching tribute to his wife, true crime writer Michelle McNamara, who died in 2016.

By Kaitlin Reilly Apr 22, 2021 10:56 PMTags
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Patton Oswalt penned an emotional tribute to his late wife, author Michelle McNamara, five years after her death in 2016. 

The United States of Tara star, who married actress Meredith Salenger in 2017, shared two photos of Michelle to Instagram, along with a caption about what the anniversary of her death means to him and his 12-year-old daughter, Alice

"Of course I thought of her today," Patton began. "And I also thought of Alice, and how the loss shaped her and continues to shape her. And how Meredith swooped into our lonely, broken lives and helped put the pieces back together, stronger and sleeker than they were before. This dark day gets a little less dark every year when I see how Alice — a living piece of Michelle safe in the hands of Meredith — keeps walking in light. I'm there to catch the shadows that at try to creep in at the edges, or from behind. I'm good at spotting them, and then Alice helps me laugh them away. And what's left is this beautiful, living memory."

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He concluded the post with, "Michelle McNamara, April 14th 1970 - April 21st 2016."

Dave Allocca/Starpix/Shutterstock

Michelle, who wrote the posthumously published 2018 book I'll Be Gone in the Dark, about the hunt for the Golden State Killer, died in her sleep after a combination of drugs she was taking and an undiagnosed heart condition proved lethal.

At the time, Patton had asked investigative journalist Billy Jensen and lead researcher Paul Haynes to finish I'll Be Gone in the Dark based on Michelle's notes and research. Two months later, the Golden State Killer—whose real name is Joseph James DeAngelo—was arrested. 

Patton told Late Night With Seth Meyers after the arrest, which came after decades of unanswered questions, that it was his late wife's "dream" for the serial killer and rapist to be held accountable. 

"She always said, ‘I don't care about credit. I want to know that's he in jail,'" he explained on the talk show. "And, now, he's caught. The bracelets are on, and it feels like this thing that she wanted so badly is now done."


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