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Election Star Jessica Campbell Dies at 38 as Costar Reese Witherspoon Mourns the Actress

People logo People 1/13/2021 Eric Todisco
Jessica Campbell smiling for the camera: Alamy © Provided by People Alamy

Actress Jessica Campbell, best known for her role as Tammy Metzler in the Reese Witherspoon-led 1999 comedy Election, has died. She was 38.

Campbell's cousin, Sarah Wessling, confirmed the news to TMZ, telling the outlet that Campbell died unexpectedly at her home in Portland, Oregon on Dec. 29. According to Wessling, Campbell, a naturopathic physician, worked a normal shift seeing patients at her practice and returned home to visit with her mother and aunt on the day of her death.

Jessica Campbell smiling for the camera: The late actress also appeared in two episodes of Freaks and Geeks © Alamy The late actress also appeared in two episodes of Freaks and Geeks

Once home, Campbell went to the bathroom but never came out, Wessling told TMZ, adding that the aunt eventually checked on Campbell and found her collapsed on the floor. Neither the aunt nor the EMTs who arrived shortly after were able to revive Campbell.

Campbell's family is awaiting autopsy results to determine the cause of death, according to TMZ.

A GoFundMe has been launched by Wessling to assist in Campbell's funeral costs and provide income for the late actress's 10-year-old son, Oliver. As of Wednesday, the page has raised over $24,000.

"Traveling the world, acting, becoming a doctor, being Mom to the coolest kid ever; these bucket list items wove the quotidian fabric of her reality," the page reads. "Her passion for life and the people in it was astounding."

Jessica Campbell et al. standing in front of a store: Everett Collection Jessica Campbell in Election © Provided by People Everett Collection Jessica Campbell in Election

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Reese Witherspoon, who starred as Tracy Flick in Election, reacted to the tragic news of her costar's death on Twitter. "So heart broken to hear this. Working with Jessica on Election was such a pleasure. I'm sending all my love to Jessica's family and loved ones," she wrote.

RELATED: Reese Witherspoon Marks 20 Years Since Election: 'This Film Holds a Special Place in My Heart'

According to her IMDb page, Campbell's first acting role was in the 1992 NBC TV movie In the Best Interest of Children, which starred Sarah Jessica Parker. In 1999, she played Tammy Metzler, the sister of Chris Klein's character Paul Metzler, in Election. The film was directed by Alexander Payne and also starred Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick.

Campbell's role in Election earned her a nomination for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance.

She also starred in two episodes of the short-lived NBC series Freaks and Geeks as Amy Andrews, a tuba player in McKinley High's marching band. Additional acting credits for Campbell include the 2001 film The Safety of Object, as well as Dad's Day and Junk, both in 2002.


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