Brenda Deiss, the actor who made her debut in Sean Baker’s Red Rocket as Lexi’s no-nonsense mom Lil, has died. She died on February 14 in Clear Lake, Texas due to complications from a stroke she had back in January. Her death was confirmed to Variety by a spokesperson.
Baker also confirmed the news on social media with a statement that read:
I have some very sad news to report. Brenda Deiss, who played Lil in Red Rocket, passed away on Monday after suffering a stroke.
I remember every detail of the morning Brenda and I met. It was a chance meeting in her hometown of Texas City, TX. Her incredible energy and carefree spirit made an indelible impression on me. This led to us working together but more importantly getting to know an incredible woman who was full of heart, wonder and love.
In the short time we spent together, she created with us, laughed with us, and shared her stories with us, some of them heartbreaking and others insightful and fascinating. We all have people in our lives that change it for the better and Brenda was one of those people for me. I will miss her dearly.
Bree Elrod, who plays Lexi in the film, gave a statement to Variety, saying, “We shared a lot of memorable moments together on and off screen. l will never forget her laugh, the stories she so generously shared, and the many conversations we had about all aspects of life. She holds a very special place in my heart. I will miss her very much.”
Like many of the stars in Baker’s films, Deiss didn’t have prior experience acting. Variety reports that she never moved away from Texas and had a career as a secretary. She even worked at NASA for a while. Deiss later worked as a caregiver to friends in need.
Red Rocket was released at the end of year, however Deiss never got the chance to watch the film. According to Variety, though, she told those involved in the production that she was proud of the scene in which she performs “Hallelujah Square.” The use of the song was something she suggested herself.
Deiss is survived by a daughter, Destani, and her two best friends, “Mr.” Johnny Cortez and Karen Adams.