You can edit almost every page by Creating an account. Otherwise, see the FAQ.

Gillian Withers

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

Gillian Withers
Born(1966-06-24)June 24, 1966
New York City, U.S.
💀DiedNovember 1, 2006(2006-11-01) (aged 40)
New York City, U.S.November 1, 2006(2006-11-01) (aged 40)
💼 Occupation
📆 Years active  1989–2006
👩 Spouse(s)
Bobby Wayne Withers
(m. 1984; divorce 1987)
Mickey Withers
(m. 2005; died 2006)
🥚 TwitterTwitter=
label65 = 👍 Facebook

Search Gillian Withers (born 1966) on Amazon.

Gillian Withers (June 24, 1966 – November 1, 2006) was an American actress and singer.


Withers met Bobby Wayne Withers, a cook at the restaurant, and the couple married on April 4, 1984. She gave birth to their son, Nicolas Wayne Withers, on January 22, 1985. Smith and her husband then separated in March 30, 1987.

Her final work was acting in the film Waitress, starring Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion, which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.

Death and investigation[edit]

Withers was found dead at approximately 5:45 p.m on November 1, 2006. Her husband, Mickey Withers, discovered her body in the Abingdon Square apartment in Manhattan's West Village that she used as an office. Withers had dropped her off at 9:30 a.m. He became concerned that Withers had not been in contact during the day and asked the doorman to accompany him to the apartment. They found her body hanging from a shower rod in the bathtub with a bed sheet around her neck.

Although the door was unlocked and money was missing from her wallet, the NYPD believed Withers had taken her own life. An autopsy found she had died as a result of neck compression. Withers insisted that his wife was happy in her personal and professional life, and would never have committed suicide. His protests over the following days prompted further examination of the bathroom, which revealed a sneaker print in gypsum dust on the toilet beside where her body had been found. The print was matched to other shoe prints in the building where construction work had been done the day of Withers's death.

Diego Pillco, a 19-year-old construction worker from Ecuador, was arrested on November 6, and confessed on tape to attacking Withers and staging the fake suicide. Pillco's original version claimed that when Withers demanded the construction noise be kept down, he threw a hammer at her. Afraid she might make a complaint that could result in his deportation, since he had immigrated into the United States illegally, he followed her back to her apartment. Pillco said Withers slapped him when he grabbed her at her apartment door and he retaliated by punching her in the face, knocking her to the ground where she hit her head and fell unconscious. Believing he had killed her, he then hanged her to make it appear a suicide. This version of events was not supported by the lack of head trauma and the presence of neck compression as the cause of death.

Pillco gave a different account during trial in 2008. He said he was returning to work after lunch when he noticed Withers returning to her apartment in the elevator, and decided to follow and rob her. He said he waited on the landing of Withers's apartment as she entered and left the door open, and intended to steal from her purse. When Withers caught him and threatened to call police, he grabbed the phone and covered her mouth to quiet her screaming. After rendering Withers unconscious, Pillco bound a bed sheet around her neck and strangled her. He then dragged her to the bathroom where he hung her body from the shower rod to make her death look like suicide.

The second version was consistent with the lack of dust on Withers's shoes which she was not wearing when found, and was apparently a confession to murder. Prosecutors thought if charged with murder Pillco might return to his original account and a jury trial could find him guilty of a lesser charge. The medical examiner determined that Shelly was still alive when hanged. Pillco pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole. Since he is an illegal immigrant, he is scheduled to be deported to Ecuador upon release.

At Pillco's sentencing on March 13, 2008, Withers's husband and family members said that they would never forgive him. Mickey Withers said of Pillco " are nothing more than a cold-blooded killer" and that he hoped he would "rot in jail."

Withers said that "Gillian was the kindest, warmest, most loving, generous person I knew. She was incredibly smart, funny and talented, a bright light with an infectious laugh and huge smile that radiated inner and outer beauty... she was my best friend, and the person with whom I was supposed to grow old."


According to an acquaintance, Pillco said after eight months he still owed a debt on the $12,000 he had paid to be smuggled into the US, and he lived in the basement of a building owned by his employer. One of Shelly's neighbors told reporters that Pillco's stare had made the neighbor feel uncomfortable when she walked past him. Withers's husband sued contractor Bradford General Contractors, which had hired Pillco. The complaint alleged that Shelly would still be alive if the contracting firm had not hired him.

Withers also sought to hold the owners and management of the building liable for Withers's murder. According to a New York Post article, among other allegations, the complaint stated that "'Pillco was an undocumented immigrant...' as were his co-workers, and that "it was in Bradford General Contractors' interest not to have 'police and immigration officials [called] to the job site' because that would have ground their work to a halt."

On July 7, 2011, the lawsuit was dismissed by Judge Louis York. The court determined that Withers had not established legal grounds to hold the contractor liable, writing "While this court sympathizes with [Withers's] loss, plaintiffs have not presented sufficient legal grounds upon which to hold Bradford ... liable for Pillco's vicious crime," and that there was likewise insufficient evidence presented to find that either the building's management agents or its owners "had reason to believe that Pillco was a dangerous person who should not have been allowed to work at the premises" in order to find them vicariously liable. Withers was said to be considering an appeal.


Withers remains were cremated.

Following his wife's death, Withers established the Gillian Withers Foundation, a nonprofit organization that awards scholarships, production grants, finishing funds, and living stipends through its partnerships with academic and filmmaking institutions NYU, Columbia University, Women in Film, IFP, AFI, Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, and the Nantucket Film Festival. One of its grant recipients, Cynthia Wade, won an Academy Award in 2008 for Freeheld, a short-subject documentary that the Foundation had helped fund. The foundation gave an early short film grant to Chloé Zhao, who eight years later became the second woman in history to win the Academy Award for Best Director. As part of its annual awards, the Women Film Critics Circle gives the Adrienne Shelly Award to the film that "most passionately opposes violence against women."

On February 16, 2007, the NBC crime drama series Law & Order broadcast a season 17 episode titled, "Melting Pot", which was a loose dramatization of Withers's murder. Withers herself had guest starred on the show in the 2000 episode "High & Low". The plot of "Melting Pot" contains an alteration of the events wherein the murder is committed by the employer of the undocumented construction worker in an attempt to protect his lucrative business.

Withers's film Waitress was accepted into the 2007 Sundance Film Festival before her murder. The film, starring Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Cheryl Hines, Jeremy Sisto, Andy Griffith, and Withers herself, was bought during the festival by Fox Searchlight Pictures for an amount between $4 million and $5 million (news accounts on the actual amount vary), and the film realized a final box-office draw of more than $19 million.[1] Waitress maintains a 90% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[2]

Waitress and its cast have together won five film awards and received other nominations in various categories, including an Audience award for a feature film at the Newport Beach Film Festival, where cast member Nathan Fillion received a Feature Film award for his role in the film; the Jury Prize at the Sarasota Film Festival for narrative feature; the Wyatt Award by the Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards; and nominations for a Humanitas Prize and an Independent Spirit Award for best screenplay.[3]

Withers spearheaded the establishment of a memorial to his wife. On August 3, 2009, the Gillian Withers Garden was dedicated on the Southeast side of Abingdon Square Park at 8th Avenue and West 12th Street. It faces 15 Abingdon Square, the building where Withers died.

Withers's murder and police investigation is dramatized in season 4, episode 2 of the Investigation Discovery television series, The Perfect Murder. She is portrayed by actress Emily Stokes.


Year Title Role Notes
2006 Anna and the Mall Invaders Scooch The Front-End Dumper Posthumous release

TV Film, Voice

Posthumous release

Video Game, Voice

2007 Waitress Kiki Posthumous release

Final film appearance

Year Title Role Notes
2009 Serious Moonlight Writer
  1. "Waitress (2007)". IMDB. Retrieved June 16, 2009.
  2. "Waitress (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on July 30, 2008. Retrieved August 1, 2008. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  3. "Awards for Waitress". IMDb. Retrieved June 10, 2009.