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Source: Getty Images

Adrienne Shelly Killed at 40 Leaving behind Toddler Daughter Who Is Now Grown & Looking More like Her Mother Every Day

Esther NJeri
Sep 03, 2021
11:40 A.M.
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When a heartless construction worker killed Shelly and staged her murder to look like a suicide, he not only broke the heart of her beloved husband but that of the actress' 2-year-old daughter.


Sophie was only 2 when her mom, Adrienne Shelly, passed on and would have been too little to remember the strange circumstances surrounding the death of her beloved mom at only 40.

And yet, close to 2 decades later, the beautiful 18-year-old is a replica of her mom. Together with her dad, Andy Ostroy, they have worked together to keep Shelly's legacy alive through a foundation in her name.

Adrienne Shelly and her daughter Sophie Ostroy | Source: Getty Images


Shelly was an actress and film producer, with movies such as "I'll Take You There" and "Waitress" to her name. She had been stressing for years over her inability to balance acting and her personal life.

And so her movie "Waitress" became relatable on so many levels. It depicted the life of a professional luscious dessert maker who spent most of her time figuring out a way to escape her unhappy marriage and abusive husband.

Seven year-old Sophie Ostroy, daughter of Adrienne Shelly listens as her father Andy Ostry speaks at the Adrienne Shelly Memorial Garden dedication ceremony at Abingdon Square Park on August 3, 2009 in New York City. |Source: Getty Images


And for Shelly, the movie felt so much like her real life, and despite her marriage to Andy Ostroy being a happy one, she struggled with fears of being unable to balance her work life and her role as a soon-to-be mother. Ostroy told People:

"The central theme of the film is what Adrienne felt in her own life, This story is about a woman who is afraid. It’s about a woman who has real challenges and fears in life."

However, her worries were short-lived, and when she welcomed her daughter home in 2004, it changed her whole outlook on things. She became so fulfilled she was able to be a mother and work on her film comfortably.


Sophie Ostroy attends the Adrienne Shelly Foundation 10th Anniversary Gala at The Angel Orensanz Foundation on December 5, 2016 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

She would leave her daughter to crawl on the apartment floor as she worked on her films, and nothing gave her more joy. Her husband says that Shelly was ecstatic about being able to realize her goals finally.


She was living her dream and doing what she loved - making films, had a supportive husband by her side and a daughter she was incredibly in love with.

In a moment of rage, Ostroy called him an animal for taking the life of a woman who had so much to offer to society.


But the hands of a construction handyman would cut this dream short, only two years later. Shelly was in her Greenwich Village apartment, which also acted as her office, working on a movie, her door ajar.

19-year-old Diego Pillca came in to steal from her, but Shelly spotted him, and when she threatened to call the police, Pillca killed her and made it look like suicide.


He would, however, later pleaded guilty to the murder. The pain he caused Shelly's family was like none other they'd experienced. Ostroy and his little girl were devastated. He recalls of the day:

“It was the worst thing that could ever happen."

During Pillca's trial, Ostroy spoke up about the hurt that Pillca had caused his family. In a moment of rage, Ostroy called him an animal for taking the life of a woman who had so much to offer to society.

Soon after her death, the marketing executive started "The Adrienne Shelly Foundation" in honor of his late wife. The foundation was purposed to help female filmmakers.

That, according to Ostroy, is what Shelly would have wanted, and so her memory lives on in the women who have benefitted from the Foundation.

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