Director AnnaRose King has died aged 35, three years after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
The filmmaker died at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in Manhattan on January 3 after a ‘valiant, almost three year battle with cancer’, her family confirmed.
An obituary from the family read: ‘Her friendships spanned continents and were close and enduring. AnnaRose worked hard, lived fully, loved to travel around the world, and generously hosted friends and family at her beloved home in Sherman, CT.
‘Her generosity extended not only to those in her wide circle, but spread to so many others in need, including through the cancer research fund she established at MD Anderson.’
She is survived by her husband Michael Tellis and their four-year-old daughter Willow Rose.
King was best known for directing, writing and producing the 2016 film Good Enough, which followed a flight attendant who seeks a long lost relative after her dad’s death.
King said that the film was inspired by the death of her own father, Roger King, who built the syndication company King World Productions and was credited with launching the careers of Oprah Winfrey and Dr Phil.
Appearing on Dr Phil, AnnaRose said of her father, who died aged 63 in 2007 of a stroke: ‘After my dad passed away, I wanted to know more [about him]. He was a larger-than-life character, as you know.
‘After his funeral, someone came up to me and said, “I can walk because of him,” because of some charity work that he did.’
King also co-created, wrote and directed the 2014 web series American Viral, which starred Michael Showalter and followed a family attempting to go viral after becoming internet famous.
Her other credits include the shorts Spanish Rice, Crystal Sessions and Stood Up.
Last year, King was selected as a 2020 Sundance Institute FilmTwo Fellow for her screenplay about a woman who seeks to cure her cancer by participating in an experimental treatment in Houston.
On her website, King explained that she was a healthy non-smoker when she was diagnosed with lung cancer.
She wrote: ‘Over two years ago I was diagnosed with lung cancer. As a healthy, athletic non-smoker, I was shocked. As a new mom and wife, I was devastated.
‘I dove into the research in the hopes of solving the mystery of how and why I got this?
‘While I didn’t find an answer, I did find something even more shocking: lung cancer is the number one cancer killer of women. It kills more women than breast, ovarian, and uterine combined! And more women like me, non-smoking, age 18-39, are getting lung cancer.
‘Despite this, lung cancer research is grossly underfunded. Chronic underfunding leaves people like me with too few treatment options—sometimes none at all. We don’t have the funding because many of us don’t live long enough to become advocates for it.’
King’s family have requested that donations be made in AnnaRose’s honour to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre.