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Emmy-Winning Set Designer Evelyn Sakash, 66, Found Dead — Details of Her Death Revealed

Jené Liebenberg
Apr 02, 2021
08:00 A.M.

The award-winning film designer was found dead under a pile of garbage in her New York City home. She was known to be a hoarder and had been missing for six months.

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66-year-old Evelyn Sakash's body was discovered on Tuesday on the floor of her kitchen under a pile of garbage in her New York City home located in the College Point part of Queens. Her sister was the one who came across the body.

Sakash was an Emmy Award-winning film designer whose work was seen in movies such as the 1990 film "Mermaids," the 2014 production of "Still Alice." She walked away with a Daytime Emmy Award in 2003 for “Between the Lions.”

Screenshot of video reporting on Evelyn Sakash's death from April 1, 2021. | Source: YouTube/Vainas & Cosas

Screenshot of video reporting on Evelyn Sakash's death from April 1, 2021. | Source: YouTube/Vainas & Cosas

SISTER AND CLEANING CREW

The 66-year-old was known to struggle when letting go of extra possessions, which filled her house up to the brim. Sakash's sister, Ellen Brown, hired a cleaning crew to work in the designer's house and clear out the unnecessary stuff.

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The NYPD Missing Persons Twitter account posted photos and details of Sakash, saying that she was last seen on September 30, 2020.

The designer's sister and the workers who joined her came across Sakash's body. The designer has been missing for six months before her sibling finally found her amidst the garbage on her kitchen floor in her home in Queens, New York City.

NATURAL CAUSES

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The award-winning designer passed away from natural causes as the medical examiner reported that atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, the hardening of arteries, was what caused her death.

Madeline O'Connell Hartling, who had worked alongside Sakash on the set of "Orange Is the New Black," launched a GoFundMe page in an effort to help find the missing designer and described the 66-year-old as:

"[A] kind, loving, and generous friend and sister."

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PRESERVING THE MEMORIES

Since Sakash's death has become public knowledge, Brown has been working to defend her sister's reputation. Sakash's sibling wants the designer to be remembered for more than her hoarder tendencies. Brown shared:

"She had a full life. She was so extraordinarily talented. She was a brilliant mind ... I don't want my sister to be remembered like that, like the way she was found."

Brown described her sister as someone who was always willing to go the extra mile to help those closest to her and was always the first to offer aid to those in need. Brown emphasized Sakash's generosity.

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MISSING PERSON

The tragic story of Sakash's death started when she was reported missing in September 2020. The NYPD Missing Persons Twitter account posted photos and details of Sakash, saying that she was last seen on September 30, 2020.

According to the GoFundMe page launched for Sakash, the designer's sister had been making monetary contributions to help aid the process of finding her sister, and that extra financial help was needed to speed up the process.

Sakash is not the only talent that Hollywood has had to say a final goodbye to this year as the "Arrested Development" star Jessica Walters also passed away. Walters died in her sleep on March 24, 2021.

Richard Gilliland also died, aged 71-years-old. Gilliland is well known for his role in "Just Our Luck." He was married to the actress Jean Smart for more than three decades and passed away quickly.

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