Rebecca Godfrey: How Did the Author Die?

Image Credit: Hulu

With Hulu’s ‘Under the Bridge’ being a near-perfect dramatized adaptation of the 2005 eponymous book by Rebecca Margot Godfrey, we honestly get a true-crime thriller unlike any other. That’s because it delves deep into the November 14, 1997, homicide of 14-year-old Reena Virk and its ensuing investigations through the eyes of those to have actually experienced it first-hand. In other words, this original brings the author’s words to life, paying homage to her in more ways than one considering she sadly passed away mere weeks before it went into production in 2022.

Who Was Rebecca Godfrey?

Although born in Toronto, Canada, on December 2, 1967, as the second of editor-mystery writer Ellen Swartz and English professor-publisher David Godfrey’s three, Rebecca is a Victoria native. The truth is this entire family relocated there around 1977 after the patriarch landed the position of Chairman for the Creative Writing Department at the University of Victoria, just to stay for good. That’s despite the fact they faced a massive loss on this Vancouver Island within three years — in 1980, they lost firstborn Jonathan at the age of 16 to an accidental drowning after he fell from a bluff.

However, it’s imperative to note that instead of letting their pain and grief take over their lives, the Godfreys somehow turned it into a strength by becoming more empathic as well as passionate. Yes, even Rebecca is in this category, only for it to further push her toward the art of writing to offer different perspectives, making it no surprise when she decided to follow in her parents’ footsteps. She actually earned a Bachelor’s in English from the University of Toronto and a Master’s in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College before ultimately settling in New York as a non-fiction novelist.

Image Credit: Darko Sikman/Hulu

Rebecca reportedly did kickstart her career in Toronto as a journalist prior to holding similar writer-editor titles in New York, but she did leave it all behind to evolve into a novelist in the early 2000s. Her first book ‘The Torn Skirt’ was published in 2001, and it definitely proved her abilities since it not only received favorable reviews but was also shortlisted for the 2002 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. That’s when she seriously began penning ‘Under the Bridge’ as an investigative piece on Reena Virk’s brutal murder, just for it to win British Columbia’s National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction in 2006.

Rebecca followed this up by continuing to write portraits of troubled, unconventional, or influential women in both entertainment and politics, all the while dabbling into the imaginative state of art too. In fact, in August 2016, she curated a widely acclaimed gallery show titled Girls in Trees at the Instar Lodge in Germantown, New York, which features works by over 33 creative artists across all formats. As if that’s not enough, she then wrote a follow-up to her second book with an update on some of the individuals involved in the ordeal for Vice Media and began focusing on a new piece, ‘The Dilettante.’

Rebecca Dodfrey Died of Lung Cancer

Rebecca did rise to fame with ‘Under the Water,’ considering it was quick to grab the attention of Hollywood, yet no optioned adaptation ever came to fruition until Hulu ordered it as an 8-part miniseries. She is thus credited as one of its executive producers even though she unfortunately passed away in New York City at the relatively early age of 54 following a long, hard battle with lung cancer. Yet by this point, she’d already managed to publish a new edition of her 2005 true-crime novel with an introduction by a friend named Mary Gaitski ll (2019) and planned a majority of ‘The Dilettante.’

Image Credit: Rebecca Dodfrey/Facebook

The latter was set to explore the early life of art collector, bohemian, and socialite Peggy Guggenheim while also focusing on her affairs, so it’ll be posthumously published in 2024 as ‘Peggy: A Novel.’ Therefore, it goes without saying that former American Academy of Rome visiting artist Rebecca achieved a lot in life despite her own struggles, making all her loved ones incredibly proud. This Columbia University creative writing adjunct assistant professor actually left behind her mother, Ellen, her younger brother, Samuel, her loving husband, Herbert Wilson, and their beautiful daughter, Ada.

Read More: Which Bridge Was Reena Virk Killed At?