Who is Melanie Olmstead in Yellowstone (& Why is She Important)?

Who is Melanie Olmstead in Yellowstone (& Why is She Important)?

It is not uncommon for movies and television shows to pay tribute to the deceased cast and crew members or individuals who impacted the film or television series. However, when the season 2 finale of Yellowstone aired in August of 2019 and was dedicated to Melanie Olmstead, many fans were left asking who she was. 

Melanie Olmstead worked on various television shows and movies from 2000 to 2019 in transportation and location management. While she is not credited as a crew member on IMDB, she worked as the lead for transport and location management for Yellowstone for the parts of the show that were filmed in Utah. 

Olmstead must have made quite the impression for them to pay tribute to her. But what exactly happened to her? Please keep reading to learn more about Melanie Olmstead, including her role with the famed Yellowstone series and her death.

Who was Melanie Olmstead?

Who is Melanie Olmstead in Yellowstone (& Why is She Important)?

Melanie Olmstead was born November 15, 1968, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Reid Howard and Janet Corbridge adopted her. There is not much information about how old she was when she was adopted or her biological parents. Her adoptive mother passed away in 1979, and her adoptive father in 2016. 

According to her IMDB profile, she started working in the film industry as a location manager and in transportation in 2000. Her first credited project is the movie Primary Suspect. She worked on other films, including Benji Off-Leash, John Carter, Wild Horses, Point Break, and Hereditary. 

She was also the personal driver for actor Jeremy Renner in the 2017 movie Wind River. Her television projects include the Disney show Andi Mack and the sci-fi comedy/horror series Snatchers. Her last credited work was the 2020 film Joe Bell which stars Mark Wahlberg. 

Melanie was an animal lover and advocate, especially of horses. She loved horses ever since she was little but did not own one until she was older. Her beloved horse, Mahogany, was approximately 37 in horse years at the time of Olmstead’s death, which is a little over 100 human years. Mahogany passed away a little over a month after Melanie died.

When she passed away, Melanie was married to her life partner, Annalise Ford. The two were married in 2015. It is unclear how the pair met or how long they were together before they married. 

The connection between Melanie Olmstead and Yellowstone

Who is Melanie Olmstead in Yellowstone (& Why is She Important)?

The biggest question many Yellowstone fans had after the season 2 finale was, “What was Melanie Olmstead’s connection to Yellowstone?” Obviously, she was not a cast member, and she was not credited as a crew member either.

One fan speculated on the Yellowstone Facebook page that since Olmstead was not credited as a crew member for Yellowstone, and she passed away shortly before season 2 aired, perhaps the production crew knew her from other projects. 

Yellowstone takes place on a ranch outside of Yellowstone National Park, but most of the filming for the show takes place on ranches in both Montana and Salt Lake City, Utah. Melanie was born in Salt Lake City and spent the majority of her life there, so it was likely that she was familiar with the filming locations. 

Furthermore, Melanie was known to be an animal lover and advocate. She belonged to many animal support groups, including the Best Friends Animal Society and Utah’s Greyhound Gang. She was also a big fan of the show, probably because she knew much about ranch life and could relate. 

So while the only credit she has from Yellowstone is the season 2 finale tribute to her memory, it is still believed she worked closely with the production team on the set because of her background in transportation and location management and her familiarity with the filming location. 

What happened to Melanie Olmstead?

Who is Melanie Olmstead in Yellowstone (& Why is She Important)?

While the season 2 finale that paid tribute to Melanie aired in August of 2019, Olmstead actually passed away in May of 2019, shortly before season 2 aired on television. She was 50 years old. 

There was some confusion about her cause of death in the beginning because the information was not made public at first. However, her family later revealed that Melanie had been battling cancer for the two years before her death, and she died as a result of complications from the cancer. 

Melanie’s family and friends held a celebration of life honoring Melanie on June 30, 2019, hosted by some of her family, including her partner Annalise. This event included a hobby near and dear to Melanie’s heart: horseback riding. Melanie’s friends remember her as brilliant, funny, and generous. 

Anyone who wanted to do something in remembrance or honor of Melanie were encouraged by her family to donate to any of the animal rescue groups that Melanie was involved in.