In a raw interview with The New York Times, comedian Patton Oswalt says he is crippled by the mourning of his wife’s death. The tragedy occurred six months ago and the actor believes it was an overdose of sleeping pills that killed her.


Patton Oswalt Photo: Angelika Warmuth

Patton Oswalt
Photo: Angelika Warmuth


47-year-old Oswalt Patton found his wife breathless in bed, on an ordinary afternoon. It was April 22, when the paramedics were called to the home where he and Michelle McNamara were living with their daughter, only to pronounce the woman dead. On the New York Times interview, the comedy actor recounts the details from the day before, which he suspects have played an important role in his wife’s passing.

According to him, 46-year-old McNamara was overly exhausted from writing her book on a serial rapist and killer she had name “the Golden State Killer”. The fatigue was claiming McNamara’s health, a point in which Oswalt advised her to go to sleep and sleep until she wakes up. It appears that Michelle took some Xanax to help her fall asleep.

On the morning of April 22, Oswalt took their daughter Alice to school and left Michelle an Americano coffee on the end table by the bed. He recalls it was around 9:40 at that time. Then he went to work in the office room. At 12:42 he come back into the bedroom to check on his wife, but realized she was not breathing.

The paramedics came and declared her dead at the scene. He recalls he was screaming and throwing up when the doctors were talking among themselves that it looked like an overdose death. The coroner’s office has not pronounced on the matter, so it is still just an opinion at this time.

The most difficult moment was telling daughter Alice that her mother was dead. The girl had a heartbreaking response, making a reference to the animated movie Inside Out: “I guess Sadness is doing her job right now”.

Since that day, which he calls “the worst day” of his life, Oswalt has been in crippling mourning. He has been drinking heavily, with no pain alleviation whatsoever, he has fallen into a deep depression and was in desperate denial “I was literally blinking trying to get out of this”, he recalls.

At present, he is in counseling and says there are a few things that have helped. One is reading C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed and Stephen King’s On Writing. Another is going back to performing onstage. The comedian will perform at the New York Comedy Festival on November 3.

Even though he admits that he will never completely recover from this loss, “that won’t stop me from living.”