Anne Beatts who was a brilliant comedy writer and was one of the original staff members of ‘Saturday Night Live’ and later went on to create the show ‘Square pegs’ has passed away at 74.
Rona Kennedy, who was her close friend said Beatts passed away on Wednesday in her home in West Hollywood, California. Rona who is a faculty member at Chapman University and is a film producer did not know the cause of death.
‘Saturday Night Live’ started in 1975 and ran for five seasons which included a team of amazing writers with Beatts, Alan Zweibel, Rosie Shuster, Marilyn Suzanne Miller and cast members like Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd. It soon became very famous. Beatts along with Shuster created beloved characters of Lisa Loopner who was played by Gilda Radner and Todd DiLaMuca played by Bill Murray. She also helped coin the phrase “That’s so funny I forgot to laugh.”
Beatts drew inspiration from her own high school life for her show “Square Pegs.”
Zweibel told The Associated Press, “If you look at the nerds, she knew that world. She and Rosie handled those characters with love. She knew that world. If you look at ‘Square Pegs,’ the title alone speaks volumes.”
“Square Pegs” premiered in 1982 and was a rare show back then which focussed on teenage girls and starred Sarah Jessica Parker as a first-year student of a high school who was trying to fit in. “Square Pegs” only had one season but was praised by critics.
Jen Chaney wrote for New York magazine in 2020, “The show was also just plain cool, speaking to teens with a shared interest in their interests that made young people feel seen before the Hughes movies would have a similar effect. No other show on TV back then would have focused an entire episode on a Pac-Man addiction or a New Wave-themed bat mitzvah that featured the actual band Devo performing ‘That’s Good.’”
Sarah Jessica Parker tweeted on Thursday, “Struggling to find adequate and appropriate descriptive words to describe her singular self. I need time. Cause I’m coming up short. Gosh, she was really something. RIP Anne. Thank you. For memories very few 17/18 yr olds get to make.”
Beatts later worked on “Murphy Brown,” “The Belles of Bleeker Street” as a writer and produced “A Different World”. She also assisted in writing the musical “Leader of the Pack.” Anne is survived by a daughter, Jaylene, sister Barbara Resucha and nieces Kate and Jennifer Dreger.
Beatts was from Buffalo, New York, and later settled in Somers. She attended McGill University and found a job writing for National Lampoon magazine where a lot of ‘SNL’ writers and performers worked. She resigned from the magazine in the 1970s because she was often overlooked amidst the mostly male staff. She dated Michael O’Donoghue who was later hired for ‘SNL’. Lorne Michaels who was a producer of SNL told Rolling Stone in 1983, “I was never a real reader of Lampoon. But Anne had been recommended to me by Michael O’Donoghue. She thought I was hiring her for the wrong reasons — because O’Donoghue was then her boyfriend — and when we met, she was a combination of friendly and wary. She was a little combative. But that was 1975. Everyone was a little combative in 1975.”