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Jean Smart opens up about death of husband Richard Gilliland while she was filming Hacks

·2 min read

Jean Smart is opening up about the loss of her husband, Richard Gilliland, who died while she was filming season 1 of her HBO comedy series, Hacks.

Smart brought up her late husband when asked if she had considered penning a memoir during a recent interview with The New Yorker.

While the actress, who also played Kate Winslet's memorable mother in Mare of Easttown, said she doesn't have plans for a memoir, she did mention Gilliland, whom she met while filming Designing Women. After acknowledging she'd "been through some personal things in the last year that" she could want to write about someday, Smart revealed that she had to do a funeral scene for Hacks not long after her husband's death.

"You know, I feel like I just should say something about my husband, because he passed away very unexpectedly. I still had a week of Hacks left to do. That was hard. I had to do a funeral scene," Smart said.

The funeral scene is in the Hacks finale where - spoiler alert! - her character, Deborah, drove across country to attend Ava's dad's funeral, and it was an important character moment for the show.

"I was a wreck, but it actually turned out to be very funny," Smart said, before praising the talents of her late husband. "But he was one of those actors who never got the chance to really show what he could do. A couple of times on stage, he did. But he really sacrificed his career for me to be able to take advantage of my opportunities. I wouldn't have all this if it wasn't for him."

Gilliland died on March 18 in Los Angeles following a brief illness, according to a statement from his family. The pair met when Gilliland played Annie Pott's boyfriend on Designing Women, and they later worked together on 24, with Gilliland as Captain Stan Cotter and Smart as First Lady Martha Logan, as well as in the TV movies Just My Imagination and Audrey's Rain.

"It's been really weird. It's not anything I ever dreamed would happen. Not so soon," Smart told The New Yorker. "He made me laugh all the time. That's going to be hard to live without."

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