Theresa Duncan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Theresa Duncan
Born Theresa Lee Duncan
(1966-10-26)October 26, 1966
Lapeer, Michigan
Died July 10, 2007(2007-07-10) (aged 40)
East Village, Manhattan, New York
Nationality American
Occupation Game designer
Partner(s) Jeremy Blake

Theresa Duncan (October 26, 1966 – July 10, 2007) was an American game designer, blogger, filmmaker and critic.


Theresa Lee Duncan was born in Lapeer, Michigan to Donnie and Mary Duncan. She had a sister, Deanna and a brother, Scott. Duncan was a writer, filmmaker, and computer-game creator who became known in the 1990s for developing graphic adventure games for girls, notably Chop Suey. She lived with Jeremy Blake in Los Angeles until 2007, when she and Blake moved to Manhattan.

On her blog, Duncan listed her interests as "film, philology, Vietnam War memorabilia, rare and discontinued perfume, book collecting, philately, card and coin tricks, futurism, Napoleon Bonaparte, the history of electricity."


Duncan produced three CD-ROM computer games: Chop Suey, Smarty, and Zero Zero. The games were designed to be alternatives to a traditionally male-dominated field. They are story-based and as such revolve around search and discovery. Chop Suey, created with Monica Gesue, was named "1995 CD-ROM of the Year" by Entertainment Weekly.[1] She wrote and directed an animated film, The History of Glamour, which was selected for the 2000 Whitney Biennial. The film details the semi-autobiographical journey of a young woman from a small town to the glamour of New York; she ultimately rejects it all to return home to pursue her writing career.

Duncan's essays and film and literary criticism were published in Artforum, Slate, Salon, and Bald Ego. At the time of her death, Duncan was working on the film Nick's Trip with her longtime boyfriend Jeremy Blake.


Duncan was found dead in the East Village, Manhattan apartment she shared with Blake on July 10, 2007. The official cause of death was suicide as a result of the combined ingestion of Tylenol PM—a combination of acetaminophen and diphenhydramine -- and alcohol.[2] Blake is believed to have killed himself a week later, having been seen walking into the Atlantic Ocean near Rockaway Beach by an anonymous 911 caller. According to friends of the couple, Duncan and Blake believed that they were being followed and harassed by Scientologists up to the point of their deaths.[3] After her death, two posts appeared on her web log (presumably written prior to her death).[4] The last one appeared on New Year's Eve, 2007.

In popular culture[edit]

On November 30, 2008 the New York Post's Page Six reported that Bret Easton Ellis is writing a screenplay about Duncan and Blake. Director Gus Van Sant has signed on as a consultant for the movie, which is being produced by Braxton Pope and Kevin Frakes.[5]

It has been suggested that the Law & Order episode "Bogeyman" in season 18 is loosely based on the deaths of Duncan and Blake.[6] In the episode, the body of the character paralleling Theresa Duncan has forensic evidence that calls into question her suicide, while the Jeremy Blake parallel character survives his suicide attempt. A case against him is disrupted by the cult group Systemotics, resulting in a near mistrial followed by a plea accepted after the ADA implies both he and the judge are connected to Systemotics.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Burr, Ty. "1995 The Best & Worst/Multimedia", Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on May 27, 2009.
  2. ^ Amsden, David. "Why Did Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake Commit Suicide?" New York Magazine, August 20, 2007.[1]
  3. ^ Sales, Nancy Jo (January 2008). "The Golden Suicides". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  4. ^ "Dead Woman Blogging". Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  5. ^ Krentcil, Faran; Will, Kelly (2008-11-30). "Tragic love story to hit the big screen". Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  6. ^ Dupuy, Tina. "Law and Order Depicts Theresa Duncan’s Death". FishbowlLA. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 

External links[edit]