84°F
weather icon Clear

To Patton Oswalt, series on Golden State Killer was unfinished business

Patton Oswalt’s voice is low. It’s hard to talk about his late wife, Michelle McNamara, but he’s here today because of her life’s work.

“It’s so important to get it done. … You don’t want to leave big things like this incomplete in your life. It felt like it would haunt me forever — and it would haunt my daughter, Alice,” says the comic and actor who was a driving force behind the new, six-part, HBO crime docuseries “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.”

The series honors late author and crime sleuth McNamara. Her “True Crime Diary” blog inspired the book “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” which was published after McNamara’s death in 2016 at age 46.

Produced and directed by Liz Garbus, and executive produced by Oswalt, the episodes revolve around the case of the Golden State Killer, who raped 50 and killed dozens during the ’70s and ’80s. McNamara’s personal story with Oswalt and her passion to identify the killer also are chronicled.

Months after McNamara’s death, former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., 72, was tracked down and arrested through DNA testing. DeAngelo on June 29 pleaded guilty to 13 counts of first-degree murder. The Review-Journal spoke with Oswalt days before the plea.

Review-Journal: What would Michelle have thought about what has transpired after her death?

Patton Oswalt: I always want to jump in and answer by saying, ‘Oh, she would have thought … .’ But that’s really not fair. Michelle was very complex, and her answers were always surprising. I can’t really predict what she would have thought. I know that I hope whatever is handed down feels like justice to the survivors and the victims.

How did you deal with Michelle’s zeal to solve this case?

You’re in love with someone and when they’re energized about something, you are, too. You get into the things they get into. You see them delighted and you get delighted. This was such an interesting and devastating case that has taken place over such a long time with so much evidence.

Was it hard for you to work on this documentary?

It was pretty tough. I’ve only watched four of the six episodes. Five and six got to be too much for me. It hit too close to home.

How did you deal with the grief of losing your wife?

They say you’re not done with grief until grief is done with you. And I’ve found that grief does let you know when it is done with you. I’ve found there is no choice but to go through it and accept that there is a loss of control. You can’t control another’s grief either because it is their own thing. Sadly, whatever advice people give you on this topic rarely helps. I think you just have to wake up every morning and go to sleep every night. You get those days behind you.

How is your daughter, Alice, and do you hope she discovers her mother’s work someday?

She’s good. Really well. She’s 11 now. I don’t want to predict how she will feel about her mother’s work. I just want her to figure it out later on.

You fell in love again and married actress Meredith Salenger.

Meredith and I started talking on Facebook. I missed engaging with someone who was so smart. So we talked for months and fell in love. I believe if you feel love, you should run at it or run toward it. She’s a poem of a woman.

How are all of you getting through the pandemic?

Day to day. … There has been some home schooling involved, although I’m terrible at the math. Right now, we’re just trying to give Alice a fun summer. Don’t ask us what we cook. We’re terrible. We have stuff delivered.

Any plans for when all the restrictions are lifted?

Right now, I’m home doing some writing. I do want to go back on the road when this is over. My Netflix comedy special (“I Love Everything”) was a rebuke to grief. It was a resurgence of my life force. When you laugh, you don’t let grief win. Laughing means living a joyful life.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
RV of Las Vegas entertainers missing from their home - Video
RJ entertainment columnist John Katsilometes talks to longtime Las Vegas entertainers Joe and Jessica Trammel, who discovered Wednesday afternoon that their RV, trailer and belongings had been stolen. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Television shows could fuel Las Vegas tourism rebound - VIDEO
CBS reality dating competition series “Love Island" and ABC’s “Shark Tank” are set to film upcoming seasons in Las Vegas. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Garth Brooks reschedules concert at Allegiant Stadium - Video
The country superstar made the announcement Wednesday morning that he has moved his Aug. 22 date at the stadium back to Feb. 27.
Bart Torres of ‘Highway Vibe’ memoriam
Vegas broadcaster Bart Torres of ‘Highway Vibe’ dies at 54. He was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame in September 2018. (Greg “Gonzo” Spillane/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Naya Rivera confirmed dead after body is found - Video
Naya Rivera, the "Glee" star, went missing during a boating trip with her 4-year-old son at Lake Piru in California last week. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Actress Kelly Preston dies at 57 - Video
Kelly Preston, actress and wife of John Travolta, had been privately battling breast cancer for two years. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas bar workers frustrated, angry as restrictions return - VIDEO
In Southern Highlands, the Italian restaurant Spaghetty Western, while remaining open, had to shut down its bar. Bartender Scarlett Brock, who is still waiting to receive unemployment payments from the initial shutdown, calls the financial impact of being out of work again “a knock in the face.” (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'In the Dark' at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum - Video
Laurie Thomas, controller for the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, discusses the new exhibit, "In the Dark," in Las Vegas on Thursday, July 9, 2020. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Summertime Dole Whip Cocktails
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer at The Venetian has two new Dole Whip cocktails. The Golden Tiki, which offers a line of Dole Whip cocktails, is reopening Wednesday.
Lin-Manuel Miranda says 'Hamilton' criticism is 'fair game'
Lin-Manuel Miranda has responded to people claiming he presented an idealized version of the Founding Fathers. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Charlie Daniels, 'Devil Went Down to Georgia' singer, dead at 83 - Video
Charlie Daniels, the country music star, was struck by a hemorrhagic stroke in Hermitage, Tennessee. His death was confirmed on Monday. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jennifer Romas takes her 'Sexxy The Show' to Dreamland Drive-In - Video
Jennifer Romas, producer, director, choreographer and star “Sexxy The Show" at Westgate took her show to Dreamland Drive-In at FreshWata Studios in Las Vegas. The show, which is currently dark at the Westgate, is a benefit for charities Golden Rainbow of Southern Nevada, The Actors Fund and Pawtastic Friends. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Wynn Las Vegas’ ‘re-imagined’ buffet - VIDEO
On June 18, The Buffet at Wynn reopened to customers with what the resort called “a re-imagined all-you-can-eat concept that combines the abundance of the traditional buffet with the benefits of a full-service restaurant.” (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jimmy Kimmel issues public apology for past blackface sketches - Video
On Tuesday, late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel took to Twitter to apologize for his blackface impression of NBA star Karl Malone. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kurt Cobain's MTV Unplugged guitar sold for record-breaking $6M - Video
The 1959 Martin D-18E, which was often out of tune, was expected to fetch between $1million and $2 million. The iconic guitar was sold during the online 'Music Icons' sale hosted by Julien's Auctions over the weekend. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joel Schumacher, director of 'Lost Boys' and Batman films, dead at 80 - Video
Schumacher died in New York City after battling cancer for a year. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'We are not a monolith' - Video
Lance Smith, a multidisciplinary artist, talks about how black artists should be acknowledged for their work and not tokenized or only have their work connected to trauma. "Blackness, we are not a monolith, we deserve to live and create in a world that respects us as we are." (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Amid protests and pandemic, black artists view works as means to empathy, healing - Video
Erica Vital-Lazare is an artist, writer, sometimes activist and professor at the College of Southern Nevada. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
PodKats! with Ross Mollison
On this edition of PodKats! Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes is joined by the founder of Spiegelworld and producer of Las Vegas Strip shows such as "Absinthe," and "Opium," Ross Mollison.
Paramount pulls 'Cops' series in wake of protests - Video
Paramount Network recently confirmed their decision to cancel the long-running reality show, "Cops." (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Restaurants add COVID-19 surcharge - Video
Some Las Vegas Strip restaurants are adding a COVID-19 surcharge to their bills to help offset the additional costs of reopening. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kats hangs at Mayfair Supper Club as Bellagio reopens
Las Vegas Review-Journal man-about-town columnist John Katsilometes visits The Mayfair Supper Club at the Bellagio on the Strip in Las Vegas on the first night after reopening Thursday, June 4, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas performers adapt to pandemic restrictions - Video
The coronavirus pandemic has forced creative people in Las Vegas, a city that thrives on live performance, to adapt to new or changed ways to entertain. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas woman brings Blue Angel to life - Video
When Las Vegas shut down during the coronavirus pandemic, Victoria Hogan created the Blue Angel costume and performance, emulating the statue locals know and love in order to connect with others in a time when connection isn’t as possible. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
‘Hamilton’ postponed as Smith Center remains dark indefinitely - VIDEO
The hit musical 'Hamilton' was supposed to run from September through October at The Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons rides a bicycle on the Strip with Kats
Las Vegas resident and ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons rides down the Strip with his wife Gilligan Stillwater GIbbons and Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes Wednesday, May 20, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons rides a bicycle on the Las Vegas Strip with Kats - Video
Las Vegas resident and ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons rides down the Strip with his wife, Gilligan Stillwater Gibbons, and Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Ex-WWE star Shad Gaspard found dead on beach - Video
Shad Gaspard, 39, the former WWE wrestler, was found dead Wednesday morning on the shoreline of Venice Beach in California. Gaspard went missing over the weekend. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buffets won’t reopen soon, but they may return eventually - VIDEO
In a Tuesday earnings call, Frank Fertitta III, CEO of Station Casinos parent company Red Rock Resorts, said buffets won’t be among the amenities included in the early stages of the resorts’ reopenings. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'Hamilton' to debut on Disney+ in July - Video
The film version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s popular musical was originally set for theatrical release in October. The musical’s director, Tommy Kail, shot three live performances featuring the original Broadway cast. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Actor Ron Perlman not even close to retirement

“Building a character and performing in that skin” keeps this character actor, now 70 years old, coming back to the screen.