Polly Williams, one of the women featured in the HBO documentary “Thin,” was found dead last Friday, according to reports.
Williams (whose real name was Pollack Ann Williams) died at her Tennessee residence, and according to a report by the New York Post’s Page Six, it is believed to be a suicide.
The 33-year-old Williams, who was a lobbyist for the National Eating Disorders Association, was one of four women featured in Laura Greenfield’s 2006 HBO documentary, “Thin,” which chronicled the women’s lives inside Renfrew, a Florida treatment center.
However, Williams was kicked out of Renfrew for allegedly giving pills to a fellow patient and getting a tattoo.
In a November 2006 interview with Access Hollywood, Greenfield talked about working with Williams after production on “Thin” was complete.
“Polly has a wonderful personality. She’s been doing quite well… she has a focus in her a life, a new passion, which is photography, which I think is helping her stay on track,” Greenfield told Access. “And yet, she has had some had some serious bouts of relapse and eating disorder symptoms. Most recently, [she] has had weight loss and is now working to get herself back up there. I feel like when she was at Renfrew, she learned important tools, which she continues to use, but it’s definitely an up and down struggle for Polly.”
Greenfield also revealed that prior to entering Renfrew, Williams had attempted suicide, as had some of the other women featured on the show.
“Luckily none of them were successful,” Greenfield added. “These girls are doing very serious damage to their bodies and it’s devastating and it’s life threatening.”
But was Greenfield ever concerned one of the women featured on the show might take their own lives while she was working with them and getting to know them?
“I was definitely overwhelmed with concern about their health, but I never got to the point where I thought they might die,” she continued. “I mean, death is a possibility, but the crazy thing is that they know that. They’re very smart, intelligent women who know a lot about this illness and I think don’t want to die. They all have a lot to live for. Yet, knowing this information about the damage they’re doing to their bodies is not enough to help them get well.”
In a statement posted on Greenfield’s Web site following Williams’ death, she remembered Polly as an “extraordinary woman.”
“It is with great sadness that I impart the news that Polly has passed away. She was an extraordinary woman with unforgettable gifts and she will live on in our memories and our hearts. In her short life, she touched more people than most people do in their lifetime and I know she was very proud of the contribution she made in the eating disorder community,” the statement read. “I will miss her terribly.”
In Williams’ obituary in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Polly’s sisters “remember that her life motto was simply ‘Believe.’”