This Queens-born actress relocated to Manhattan in the mid-1980s after dropping out of film studies at Boston University and soon founded a nonprofit theater troupe named Missing Children. Shelly was then cast in her first two films, The Unbelievable Truth and Trust, both directed by Hal Hartley. By the mid-'90s, she became less visible onscreen and turned to writing and directing. Beginning with the 1994 short Urban Legend, Shelly turned out a string of films, including the quirky 1997 black comedy Sudden Manhattan, in which she also starred. Although she kept a low profile, living in New York with her family and tackling the occasional acting role while making a handful of films, Shelly seemed satisfied with her place in the industry, which is why her 2006 death—originally thought to be suicide but later proved to be a homicide—was particularly shocking to her friends and fans. Her last film, Waitress, starring Keri Russell, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival two months after her death.
- Intermittently suffered from episodes of Bell's palsy, which first appeared when she was 15, then again during her junior year of college.
- Cofounded a nonprofit theater troupe named Missing Children, for which she penned the play Verbatim; she also acted and served as artistic director.
- Won the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival's Film Showcase Jury Award for Best Director in 2000 for her second feature, the romantic comedy I'll Take You There.
- Following her death, the Adrienne Shelly Foundation was established to offer scholarships and grants to women studying and working in film.
- 2008, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Screenplay: Nominee
- Shelly Levine — Father
- Sophie — Daughter
- Andrew Ostroy — Husband
- Howie — Stepfather
- Elaine Langbaum — Mother
- Attended Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States