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Hollywood crew member who got immortalised in Yellowstone TV series

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Melanie Olmstead is one of those stories of resilience and tragedy. If you are a fan of the Netflix show, Yellowstone, you may be wondering who she is, especially as season two of the show was dedicated to her.

Melanie Olmstead is not part of the main Yellowstone cast but her contribution to the production process has earned her a historical spot not only among the cast and crew but among fans of the series.

Therefore, this article uncovers more details about who she is, her career in Hollywood and how she died.

Who is Melanie Olmstead?

Melanie Olmstead smile
Melanie Olmstead was a driver and location assistant for many Hollywood movie productions. She was born on November 15, 1968, in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America.

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Olmstead worked for the transportation and location departments of movies and television series productions since 2000. Among her credits include Primary Suspect (2000), Frozen (2010), John Carter (2012), Wild Horses (2015), Wind River (2017), Hereditary (2018) and Joe Bell (2020). Some of her credits on TV series include Snatchers (2017-2018), Andi Mack (2017-2019) and Yellowstone.

Apart from Hollywood, Olmstead worked as a production assistant at Rocky Point Haunted House in Salt Lake City, Utah. However, the haunted house closed down in 2007. According to sources, Olmstead previously spent time in Africa working on women’s education initiatives before finding work in Hollywood around 2000.

Melanie Olmstead Yellowstone

Melanie Olmstead Yellowstone

Olmstead did not feature in the Yellowstone TV series. However, she was the transportation and location manager during the production. She reportedly joined the series due to her love for animals. Her background in ranching and conservation made her a valuable member of the production team.

Olmstead loved animals, especially horses. She had a beloved horse, Mahogany, and shared a photo on her Facebook page. When she is not working, she spends time with her horses and friends.

She wrote on her Facebook page:

My love affair with horses started about the time I learned to walk but I didn’t get my first “just mine” horse until I was an adult.

Filming for Yellowstone was supposed to be done at a location close to the Yellowstone National Park. However, the location was not logistically satisfying for the cast and crew. So, filming was shifted to Salt Lake, the birthplace of Olmstead and where she stayed all her life.

Olmstead reportedly shared a strong bond with the cast and crew. When she died, an emotional tribute was made to her in the episode of the show titled: Sins of the Father. The words “In memory of Melanie Olmstead 1968-2019” first appeared.

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Meanwhile, she was featured as a character in the second season of the series. Yellowstone creator, Taylor Sheridan, wrote Olmstead into the series as a character who has gone missing.

In the episode featuring her character, Kayce Dutton tries to gather information on what happened to a woman named Melanie Olmstead. Sheridan’s tribute has ensured that Olmstead remains an unforgettable name in the Yellowstone universe.

Melanie Olmstead family

Melanie Olmstead's family member

Olmstead was raised by her adoptive parents Reid Howard and Janet Corbridge. Ried Howard was a U.S. Army military personnel. He also served an LDS mission in St. Louis, Missouri and worked at the Defense Depot of Ogden for 25 years before retiring in 1991.

Reid and his first wife, Janet Corbridge, adopted Melanie in 1968 after their newborn child died in 1960. However, Janet died of a diabetes-related issue in April 1979. After her death, Reid married Loa Rose Hanson, a native of Utah, in the Ogden temple in February 1982. The couple was married for 34 years before Reid passed away in 2016.

Olmstead was a lesbian. She married Annalise Caroline Ford in January 2016. Ford hails from Atlanta, Georgia but currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has a degree in Psychology from Agnes Scott College and a Master of Science from Arizona State University. In addition, she served as a summer Intern at WebOps from 2007 to 2010. Then she served as Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant at Arizona State University from June 2011 to May 2014.

Ford worked as a Product Specialist at Crosslink Bioscience from 2014 to 2016. She is reportedly currently working as a Professional Client Consultant at WebOps, LLC.

Olmstead was reportedly a mother of three children.

Melanie Olmstead age

Olmstead was 50 years old before she died.

What happened to Melanie Olmstead?

Olmstead passed  away in May 2019. Although there was no public announcement on the official cause of death, many sources reported that she died after a two-year battle with cancer. She reportedly died in her home in Salt Lake City while in the company of her family and her spouse, Annalise Ford,  just before the premiere of Yellowstone season 2.

On July 30, friends, family members and peers gathered to celebrate her life. They had a horseback ride the day before in honour of their friend.
“The celebration for Melanie Olmstead was amazing! Horsewomen, writers, artists from all different areas came together,” one person wrote about the event. “My heart is still broken.”

A Twitter user posted a condolence message that read: “My prayers go out to Melanie Olmstead’s family and loved ones, including her Yellowstone family.”

I’m so sorry for all those impacted by Mel passing away at this young age,” one of her friends said, “She set such a high standard with how she treated everyone around her.”

Melanie Olmstead was a beloved daughter, mother, wife and a valuable member of production units she worked for. Her name has been immortalized in Yellowstone, a befitting tribute to a woman who has given so much to the development of the hit series. The fact that artists, writers, and horsewomen came together to honor her after her death is a testament of her impact in Hollywood, Salt Lake City where she lived all her life and the world at large.

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