‘Saturday Night Live’ pioneer writer was 74 – Deadline

UPDATE, with reactions Anne Beatts, an original Saturday Night Live The writer who created some of the show’s first groundbreaking characters, including nerdy high school kids Todd DiLaMuca and Lisa Loopner, died yesterday. She was 74 years old.

His death was announced in a tweet from SNL original actor Laraine Newman. A cause of death has not been revealed.

“He struggles to find adequate and appropriate descriptive words to describe his singular self,” tweeted Sarah Jessica Parker, who appeared on the CBS sitcom created by The Beatts in 1982. Square dowels. “I need time. Because I’m running short. Gosh, she was really something. RIP Anne. Thanks. For the record, very few 17/18 year olds manage to make it. X, SJ “

Beatts began his career in comedy writing with a stint at National Lampoon magazine, becoming the Harvard Lampoon first spin-off editor. She wrote one of the magazine’s most notorious parodies – an advertisement for the Volkswagen Beetle that featured a photograph of the floating automobile with the copy line, “If Ted Kennedy drove a Volkswagen, he would be president today. ” Volkswagen filed a lawsuit, securing notoriety for the parody beyond the magazine’s readership.

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While at Pamphlet, she met and began a romantic relationship with writer Michael O’Donoghue, and the two would soon take part in the development of Lorne Michaels Saturday Night Live.

Along with his writing partner Rosie Shuster, Beatts, during his five seasons with the series, created such SNL characters such as DiLaMuca and Loopner (played by Bill Murray and Gilda Radner), Laraine Newman’s Shirley Temple-like Child Psychiatrist, the lewd Uncle Roy (Buck Henry) and two of Dan Aykroyd’s greatest hits: the shady, cartoonish salesman Irwin Mainway and Fred Garvin, the unlikely and schlubby male prostitute.

Murray and Radner like Todd and Lisa, SNL
Everett Collection

As one of the SNLFirst female voices, Beatts spoke often of the challenges and triumphs of those years. She ran into the show’s first star, John Belushi, claiming in a 2009 TV Academy interview that her early friendship with the unstable comedian quickly gave way to resentment on her part.

“I had a complex relationship with Belushi,” she says. “At first I felt very protective of him and thought of him as that nice pussy guy…” Later, she continued, Belushi had “adversity” with the women on the show. and said, “Lorne should send the girls away and refused to participate.” songs that we wrote. Despite the strained friendship, Beatts said she considered Belushi “a genius”.

In all, Beatts has been nominated for an Emmy five times for SNL, winning twice.

In addition to SNL, Beatts created and produced the ephemeral but fondly remembered film Square dowels. In the 2009 interview, Beatts said she chose to hire a mostly female writing staff because the sitcom focused on the friendship of two high school girls (played by Parker and Amy Linker). “They must have been people who had summer girls in high school, ”Beatts said, adding that CBS demanded that she hire comedy writer Andy Borowitz as“ the token guy ”on the editorial team.

Beatts said she learned of the show’s cancellation while reading the news in the New York Post, but was proud of the influence of comedy on future high school programs like My so called life and Popular. “We were the first show to bring rock and roll back to television,” she said. “We were before Miami Vice.

After Square dowels, Beatts co-produced NBC’s first season A different world and in 1995 produced the unionized The Stephanie Miller Show.

For Broadway, Beatts wrote the 1979 one-woman show Gilda Radner – Live from New Yorkand rewrote the early drafts of the book for the 1985 Ellie Greenwich jukebox musical Leader of the pack. She later called her short-lived involvement in Leader of the pack “A disaster” which made him “aspire to the creative freedom of network television”.


Its year of production A different world, the Cosby Show spin-off with Lisa Bonet, was also “very difficult,” she said. “I think it was hard working with a star who was sort of getting comfortable and falling in love with Lenny Kravitz during that time. Her hours did not fit well with producing a TV show on the network.

In 2006, Beatts co-directed / produced the series John Waters Presents Movies That Corrupt You with her writing and production partner Eve Brandstein for their B-Girls Productions. Among the pilots that Beatts and Brandstein wrote and produced were Julie Brown: The show and The Belles of Bleecker Street. The new pending projects were The girl in the bedroom (on women in professional comedy) and The Funny Boys.

Beatts was reportedly involved in the development of a new Blues Brothers project with Aykroyd and Judy Belushi, the widow of John Belushi. She was an adjunct professor in the writing division of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, as well as at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University.

She is survived by her daughter Jaylene Beatts, her sister Barbara, her brother Murray and her nieces Kate and Jennifer.

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