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‘August: Osage County’ Actress Misty Upham Confirmed Dead at 32

After a body was found Thursday believed to be that of “August: Osage County” actress Misty Upham, filmmaker friend and family spokesperson Tracy Rector confirmed that the body has been identified as Upham. She was 32.

Upham was found dead in Seattle suburb Auburn in a wooded area.

Rector told Variety that she and the family believes the Auburn Police Department could have done more to locate the actress.

“We just want to make it clear that the Auburn police had nothing to do with looking for her or finding her,” she said. “It was friends and family that led the search and rescue teams that found Misty.”

Rector says friends and family confirmed her body at 6 p.m. Thursday, and that no cause of death has been revealed yet.

A statement on the Auburn Police Department Facebook page said it took five hours and a 10-person team to recover the body.

“The Auburn Police Department states that there is no initial evidence or information to indicate foul play; however the Medical Examiner will make the final determination,” the statement read.

Upham was nominated, along with fellow cast members of “August: Osage County,” for an ensemble SAG Award earlier this year, and SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard said in a statement, “I was very sorry to hear of the tragic death of Misty Upham. Like her family, friends and fans, I hoped she would be found safe, and the untimely death of someone so young and talented is heartbreaking.”

SAG-AFTRA Native Americans Committee Chair DeLanna Studi paid tribute to Upham, stating “Misty was a trailblazer in her own right, who was able to defy stereotypical roles for Native Americans and bring to life complicated and beautiful universal characters. Her contributions to our industry made her a role model for all indigenous peoples.”

Upham, also known for roles in “Frozen River” and “Django Unchained,” was reported missing by her family on Oct. 6, a day after they told police she was suicidal. Her father, Charles Upham, noted that she had stopped taking her medication for anxiety and bi-polar disorder.

Upham had moved to Seattle to help care for her father, who was recovering from a stroke. Charles Upham said that he didn’t believe his daughter would commit suicide, saying she  “just decided to leave home for awhile.”

“She doesn’t believe in killing herself,” he told KIRO-TV. “She believes that is a sin and she would never do that.”

Upham’s breakthrough role came in 2008, when she starred in “Frozen River” alongside Melissa Leo. She was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for the performance.

Upham would go on to play housekeeper Johnna Monevata in “August: Osage County” last year, the cast of which was nominated for a 2014 SAG Award. She worked alongside Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, and she told Variety that the experience was a dream come true for the up-and-comer.

“I never once in my life thought I would ever hear Julia Roberts call my name,” she laughed at the American Film Institute Festival screening of film.

Recently, Upham appeared in “Cake,” starring Jennifer Aniston, which premiered last month at the Toronto Film Festival.

 

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