Matt E. Villines 6-5-77 – 7-9-16

Most of you know that our son, Matt Villines was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma (Kidney Cancer) in June 2014. It was a long two years for him and us, yet filled with  so many blessings. We lost him on July 9th. He fought the best fight, doing everything right including a very strict diet which my beautiful and talented daughter-in-law Linda Tan Villines made possible for him. Matt and Linda married just 2-1/2 months before his diagnosis. She nurtured him and cared for him with such tender love and devotion. She is our angel.

Matt Villines Online Profile Matt and Oz

Matt Villines Online Profile
Matt and Oz


Matt had an exciting and creative life, always following his dreams. He arrived in LA young and broke. Matt was a director for Saturday Night Live (SNL) for three years until the New York City winter of 2014 proved much too difficult for a person battling cancer. He finished the season and moved back to Los Angeles in summer 2015. He was part of the directing duo know as Matt and Oz. Oz (Osmany) Rodriguez and Matt met while at the LA Film School, which they graduated in 2003. They have been business partners since. Oz is still at SNL and has been the most wonderful friend to Matt and to our family. Before SNL, Matt and Oz worked for Funny or Die and before that Super Deluxe.


We have had many blessings among the illness and overwhelming sadness. The biggest blessing, besides Linda, was Matt’s refusal to give up or give in. He carried us through on his shoulders, always smiling  and upbeat, always reminding that giving up was not an option. He wanted smiling faces around him. Another was his ability to continue to work through while enduring vile treatment periods. He took both traditional treatments and alternative but by the time he was diagnosed his cancer was in an advanced state. He did two additional SNL shows after moving back to Los Angeles, one of which was the SNL 40th anniversary show. He loved the cast and crew at SNL and I believe they loved him back. The amazing people at Caviar Content, an international ad agency, kept the offers to direct commercials coming. When he could accept a job, it was a victory — a wonderful thing. Being able to work throughout periods of the two years was an amazing blessing but the best blessings were his friends who rallied around, and were always there for support, encouragement and love.


Oct. 2015 L-R Linda Tan Villines, Oz Rodriguez, Matt Villines

Oct. 2015 L-R Linda Tan Villines, Oz Rodriguez, Matt Villines

Although his last day was not expected so soon,  dear friends were gathered around him on that last day. Strong men reached out and touched him and said “Matt we love you.” Josh Martin and his sweet wife Mandy drove to San Diego to bring him back to LA after treatments in a vehicle that made the drive more comfortable for him provided by  Caviar Content. Luis Sanchez, Sean Boyle and David Neher, an Oklahoma boy, and his wife Marissa who took him to numerous doctor appointments, as did Josh and Mandy Martin, and David Neher, and Jenny Pierson of David and Ginny Comedy Sketches for Matt & Oz and David’s production company, Honor Student. Until the end these incredible men and women stayed with us and played his favorite playlists, put his fav movies on the TV, and whispered encouragement to him. In the darkest moments he knew they were there. Some of these men gave up their time to drive him to doctor appointments, to the hospital, giving Linda a chance to take care of necessary business. She never left him alone in the last few weeks.

Caviar Content helped us with an apartment in New York City when Matt had surgery, and helped in so many ways. Mr. SNL, Lorne Michaels, was supportive, generous, and caring including giving us a referral to an oncologist in the City and offering encouragement.

We never plan to bury our children but our lives didn’t go as we planned, and we are only one family among many. I want to share some photos and I’ll have more in the future. The first above is Matt’s online profile pic courtesy of Oz. Matt’s tagline on this pic was “There is absolutely no photoshopping in this photo.”


Aaron Paul aka Jessie Pinkman of Breaking Bad SNL

L-R Matt Villines, Aaron Paul aka Jessie Pinkman of Breaking Bad, Oz Rodriguez SNL

For 37 years before his diagnosis, we never expected to live a single day without our son, but here we are, so blessed to have had him for 39 years. He and I shared a love for books and movies. He was my go-to-guy when I finished a book and needed a recommendation. We talked for hours about books and movies and Game of Thrones and Apple products, and when Oklahoma University (his alma mater) was playing football, he and his dad were on the phone for much of the game. For a number of years, he always came back to Tulsa each October  to be with his Dad when OU played Texas U.

His longtime Tulsa friends Matt Vandaveer, Blaine Nelson, Tony Romanello, Jay Jegethesan, Ryan Hendrix and so many others kept in constant contact. And his childhood friend, Dr. Aaron Kallsnick and his parents Judge Richard Kallsnick and Fran Kallsnick, were an important part of his life. Also in Tulsa, his aunt Nema Book who never stopped praying, cousins, Brett Book and Coni Book, Holly and Pete Edwards, Heather and Mike Horton and Hanna Hubbs, Connie and Jeff Cope, and Mike and Linda Hilsabeck, and Aunt Donna and Uncle Tom Reed who recently relocated to Tulsa and prayed so faithfully, as did so many we didn’t know personally. Uncle David Hubbs and Aunt Rachel Hubbs of Bradenton, FL, Uncle Don Hubbs and Aunt Sheryl Hubbs of Mustang, OK. and cousins Dr. and Mrs. Kim and K.C. Lewis of Grand Junction, Colorado who kept the prayers flowing. I’m sure I’ve left someone out.

Matt with Kinsley and Paker

Matt with Parker and Kingsley

Matt’s sisters  Renae Ost and Audrey Villines of Kansas City, KS and one of our two granddaughters, Chloe Sherkat were with Matt at the end, or Chapter 2 as Matt and Linda referred to the future. We were a family blessed to spend quality time with each other over the years. Renae and Audrey, Chloe and Katie were precious to him, along with our fine son-in-law Jeff Ost.

God blessed us with Matt in our lives and we are so very grateful and grateful that he is no longer suffering. Every mother believes their son was the sweetest boy and the finest man, ever. I know mine was. RIP dear one.


Update: Matt donated his body to the UCLA cancer research program. He has always loved sharks. His ashes will be sprinkled over the Pacific ocean. He will finally get to swim with the sharks.


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  • SuzyQ

    Dearest Maggie, I have so been hoping this post would never come. I feel like a kindred spirit with you having followed your wonderful observations and analysis for a few years now. May you find peace and gratitude in the dark days from the wonderful times you describe. Many hugs to your family.

    • SuzyQ, Yes, I thought the first post was tough to write and it was but this one flooded me with memories and so much left to say about Matt. Thank you for your long support and encouragement.

    • SuzyQ, I know I also replied to you yesterday but can’t find it now. I’m feeling technology-challenged in this hotel room. Thank you for all your support and encouragement over the last couple of years. I also hoped this post would never be needed because our prayers for a miracle would come true, but it wasn’t to be.

  • Kathleen LaBonte

    Dearest Maggie, like SuzyQ and thousands more, we feel so connected to you as family. My deepest sympathy to you, his beautiful wife Linda, and all your family and friends from far and wide. I enjoyed the pictures, and the time you took to tell us more about your beautiful son Matt. May angels surround him with their beauty and love, and know in time that he is only a thought away. Though that might not help your aching heart today, he will show you what I say. God Bless you sweet Maggie, and I’m just so very sorry for your family’s loss. (Kathleen from NH)

    • Kathleen, thank you. I feel connected to my readers too, and I know so many were praying for our miracle with us. No way to express how much we appreciated those prayers.

    • Kathleen, I know I replied to you yesterday but the reply didn’t stick I guess. Thank you so much for the kind words. We could feel angels around him at the end.

      • Kathleen LaBonte

        Maggie – you are gifting everyone with your lovely personal comments. Thank you for your warm hugs back, and in essence letting us know we are indeed your extended family. Love and continued prayers of healing to you and your family.

  • Maggie: He sounds like a remarkable human being. Our hearts go out to you in your loss.

    • Oh Mike, he was a remarkable human being. Thank you.

    • Hi Mike, he was remarkable. People have sent such wonderful stories. He made a difference while he was here.

  • Xavier

    Maggie I am so sorry to hear this. That was a wonderful article about Matt – I know you are so proud of him. Much sympathy from us.

  • Amy Nicholson

    This was wonderful to read. Thank you, Maggie. Here’s that photo of him at his first LA job. He had so many great things ahead of him in the next 15 years. All of us who knew him were so proud.


  • I’m so sad for you Maggie — you’ve written a beautiful tribute to your son, God bless him.

    • Hi Norma, thank you. I know he is being blessed now. No more cares, no more worries.

  • Guest

    Heartfelt condolences to you and your family at this very difficult time.

    May the love and memories of Matt give you peace and strength.

    • Guest, the memories and the love must go on, as it’s all we have now. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

    • Guest, thank you so much for coming by and commenting.

  • Oh, Maggie, I am so sorry! May the good Lord comfort you and wrap your entire family in His loving arms.

    • Zilla, thanks so much for coming by with comfort wishes for us. Sometimes I feel that’s all that left. Sorry, I slept in this morning out here in CA and mornings are a sad time for me. So many media are writing such thoughtful things about Matt. I’m in tears before coffee. Again thank you.

  • lauren

    Until today, I had never heard of your precious son. He sounds like a wonderful guy who knew how dear he was to all of you. May you feel God’s loving presence like never before. “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns, unending love, amazing grace.”

    • Lauren, thanks for the uplifting words.

  • Jeff Moore

    My name is Jeff Moore and I am the director of the OKPOP Museum in Tulsa, we interviewed Matt in 2013 for an exhibit called Oklahoma @ the Movies. My colleague Larry O’Dell and I often talked about some great ideas for Matt to help us with for the museum. We are very sad about this news and we will include his story in the OKPOP, he exemplified the Oklahoma Creative Spirit!

    • Jeff, thank you for sharing this with us and for passing on his Oklahome Creative Spirit. He often spoke of the movies being made here.

  • Dutchie12

    My deepest sympathy for your loss. What a wonderful tribute to your son. God bless and keep him.

  • Guest

    A Child Of Mine

    I will lend you, for a little time,

    A child of mine, He said.

    For you to love the while he lives,

    And mourn for when he’s dead.

    It may be six or seven years,

    Or twenty-two or three.

    But will you, till I call him back,

    Take care of him for Me?

    He’ll bring his charms to gladden you,

    And should his stay be brief.

    You’ll have his lovely memories,

    As solace for your grief.

    I cannot promise he will stay,

    Since all from earth return.

    But there are lessons taught down there,

    I want this child to learn.

    I’ve looked the wide world over,

    In search for teachers true.

    And from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes,

    I have selected you.

    Now will you give him all your love,

    Nor think the labour vain.

    Nor hate me when I come

    To take him home again?

    I fancied that I heard them say,

    ‘Dear Lord, Thy will be done!’

    For all the joys Thy child shall bring,

    The risk of grief we’ll run.

    We’ll shelter him with tenderness,

    We’ll love him while we may,

    And for the happiness we’ve known,

    Forever grateful stay.

    But should the angels call for him,

    Much sooner than we’ve planned.

    We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes,

    And try to understand.

  • Fixall

    No words can express your feelings at a time like this. Deepest sympathy to you and your family.

    • Thank you Fixall. I so appreciate your visits.

  • My heartfelt condolences to you all, Maggie. There’s not much more than that to say, is there? But they are truly yours.

  • My heart breaks for y’all, Maggie. My prayers and condolences.

  • M0torsp0rt

    Maggie, I am so sorry for your loss. I was Matt’s roommate at OK State where we rented a house. Before that, we lived on the same dorm floor. Matt and I had many many great times. I was dating my now wife, Jessica at the time (Matt was a groomsman in our wedding). We are both extremely saddened by this loss as he was a great friend to both of us. Matt was a wonderful, spirited, positive person and will be missed dearly. – Craig H.

    • Craig, I have heard Matt speak of you (all good, of course), and I remember him being a part of a wedding. He loved his days at OSU. Thank you for the memories. We will have a Celebration of Life event in Tulsa on Aug. 9th. Still working on details. We would love to have you be there. Final details in the works. Thanks for coming by.

  • May Perpetual Light shine upon Matthew. May God grant you fortitude and may the holy Spirit comfort you and yours. In the name of Christ we ask for these blessings. Amen.

  • Michael Haltman

    My deepest condolences Maggie!

    Mike Haltman

  • Fausta Wertz

    My most heartfelt condolences.

    Lifting you and your family in prayer,

  • bobmontgomery

    He got it honest, Maggie. Your character and love of life throughout all of this is a beautiful thing, and peace and comfort be with you.

  • So very sorry to hear of your loss. What a fine tribute. Wishing that you may find much peace in the coming weeks from this terrible sadness.

    • Hi Bunkerville, it is a “terrible sadness.” Thank you for coming by.

    • Thank you Bunkerville and I appreciate the ongoing prayers.

  • So very sorry for your loss I have two sons 30 and 27 and I couldn’t begin to imagine losing them God Bless you and keep you!

    • JaredByPolitics, I can tell you it IS unimaginable until you have no choice but to understand that it is happening. God Bless you and your boys.

  • Lady_Penguin

    Dear Maggie, You don’t know me, but a very good internet friend and fellow patriot, Bob Montgomery, let several folks know about your loss.

    I am so sorry for your loss. Matt sounded like a terrific young man, and he obviously brought something special to this world. May you and your family and friends be comforted by the beautiful memories that all of you shared.

    May God strengthen you in the days ahead. May your hearts be eased from the pain to the joy of the love that such incredible people like Matt bring into our lives.

    God Bless you.
    Regards, Lady Penguin

    • Lady Penguin, thank you so much for coming by with these comforting words. We arrived back in Tulsa today and nothing seems the same, or will ever be the same, but God will get us through.

  • fred hopkins

    Maggie that’s news I was hoping I’d never hear. I remember when you told your online friends and was hoping I guess that he was recovering. Just one more sunrise to see, may his memory live on.

    • Hi Fred, I lost you when I changed my FB page. Thanks for coming by. We kept the faith for a miracle, but … So many memories.

  • marlene

    I’m so sorry for your loss. God bless Matt’s accomplishments in life and the love he left behind.

  • hali

    Hello Maggie & Villines family, I am very heartbroken to hear this news. I only knew Matt briefly. I was 16 or 17 years old working at the Taco Bell at the Woodland Hills Mall, Matt worked at the Mazzios Pizza ( I believe) he was just a couple years older than me. He was leaving after that summer for school ( I believe film school). Matt had a crush on me 🙂 hehe.. so he asked me to hang out with him, we became friends that summer and then he took off to chase his dreams. Im telling you this, because I never forgot about him, even though he was just a teenager he was one of the most kind people I had ever known, I even wrote him a letter before he left telling him how much I thought of him as a person. I had a feeling he was going to lead a spectacular life, and he did. God bless Matt, God bless all your hearts.

    • Hi Hali, I apologize for taking so long to respond. I was locked out of my blog for awhile (a period when i wasn’t well organized). Yes Matt worked at Mazzios in the Mall. He graduated OU first and then on to film school. Thank you for the sweet remembrances. I will treasure them.

  • My sincere and deepest condolences to you and your family, Maggie.

    How are Parker and Kingsley bearing up?

    • Parker and Kingsley are okay. Parker has the bigger problem. We def think she knew Matt was sick before did. Parker was very close to him, and had some weird behavior problems early on. They are such sweet and well behaved pups.

  • Renal carcinoma is terrible! I was recently tested for it. Negative — thank God! But I have another major kidney trouble. So painful and so draining!

    All the above to say that I can empathize with some of what your son had to endure during treatment.

    • Hi AOW, what a scare for you. So glad to hear your tests were negative, but sorry that you have ongoing issues. His treatments were def vile. Nothing improved his condition. Just heart breaking. Praying for you.

  • Geo

    Maggie, such terrible news to hear. My sincere condolences to you and your family.

    • Geo, thank you for coming by. I’ve been locked out of my blog for awhile, so the late reply. It is terrible.

  • cryandhowl

    Hello Maggie. I’m very sorry I didn’t see this sooner. I had stopped blogging for a while there and just recently got back into it again.
    I’m terribly sorry for your loss. You’re a dear friend and will always be in mine and Rina’s prayers.

    • Hi Steve, sorry I am so late answering. Thank you for your prayers. We def still need them. Needless to say, this is the most difficult time in our lives. Hope all is well with you and Rina and your pup.