Patton Oswalt’s Heartbreaking Tribute to His Late Wife After Emmys 2016 Win: ‘The Lights Have Been Turned Down’

Patton Oswalt paid tribute to his late wife, Michelle McNamara, after winning an award at the 2016 Emmys on Sunday, September 18, and his words were heartbreaking.

The 47-year-old actor, writer and comedian thanked her during the acceptance speech for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special saying, “I want to share this with two people: One of them is my daughter, Alice, waiting at home. The other one is waiting somewhere else — I hope.”

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But what he said backstage about his true-crime writer wife — who sadly died in her sleep nearly five months ago— was even more touching.

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“Every bit of growth that I’ve had in my career, especially in my writing and my performing, came because I met Michelle McNamara,” he said. “Because I met and married this woman who just was so much wiser and self-actualized and aware of life than I was. I had convinced myself that I was aware and self-actualized and mature, but then I met the real deal … to have that ripped out of my life the way that it has this year — I’m not trying to say that this is meaningless, but everything seems like the lights have been turned down 50 percent on everything since she’s gone. It just going to be a long, long time before I can be the kind of person she made me again.”

Patton Oswalt and wife Michelle McNamara arrive at the ‘Young Adult’ Los Angeles premiere at AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on Dec. 15, 2011, in Beverly Hills.
Patton Oswalt and wife Michelle McNamara arrive at the ‘Young Adult’ Los Angeles premiere at AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on Dec. 15, 2011, in Beverly Hills. Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

In an article for Time.com shortly after she died he looked back on the legacy left by his love, saying, “The reaction to her passing, the people who are shocked at her senseless absence, is a testament to how she steered her life with joyous, wicked curiosity,” he wrote of McNamara, who he wed in 2005. “She hasn’t left a void. She’s left a blast crater.”

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Last month he also posted a Facebook message about his pain, explaining how grief “makes depression cower behind you and apologize for being such a dick.”

He described her death as being like “the sun died” and admitted, “I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do now without her.”

Oswalt won his Emmy for the Netflix special Patton Oswalt: Talking for Clapping.

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