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Anne Beatts, screenwriter of revolutionary comedy “ SNL ”, dead at 74

NEW YORK (AP) – Anne Beatts, a groundbreaking actress who was on the original crew for “Saturday Night Live” and went on to create the cult sitcom “Square Pegs”, has passed away. She was 74 years old.

Beatts died at her home in West Hollywood, California on Wednesday, according to her close friend Rona Kennedy. Kennedy, a film producer and faculty member at Chapman University, did not immediately know the cause of death.

Beginning in 1975, Beatts was part of a team of talented writers that included Rosie Shuster, Alan Zweibel, Marilyn Suzanne Miller and cast members such as Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase who helped make “Saturday Night Live. »A cultural phenomenon. Along with Shuster, she would help develop the beloved family of nerds, the Loopners, and Beatts would later draw on her own proven background as a high school underdog for her own “Square Pegs” series.

“Anne was a throwback to a time when words were weapons. RIP Anne, ”Zweibel wrote on Twitter.

Created in 1982, “Square Pegs” was then a rare teen-centric sitcom starring Sarah Jessica Parker in a leading role as a high school freshman trying to fit in. “Square Pegs” lasted only one season, but was praised for anticipating – and even surpassing – the teenage comedies for which John Hughes would soon become famous.

“The show was also just plain cool, reaching out to teens with a common interest in their interests that made young people feel like they were being seen before the Hughes films had a similar effect,” Jen Chaney wrote. of New York magazine in 2020. At the time, television reportedly focused an entire episode on Pac-Man addiction or a new wave themed bat mitzvah starring current band Devo performing “That’s Good.” .

Beatts was originally from Buffalo, New York, who then attended McGill University and got a first hiatus writing a comedy for National Lampoon, where many future “Saturday Night Live” performers and writers worked. In Lampoon, she started dating another writer Michael O’Donoghue, who was hired by producer Lorne Michaels for what became “Saturday Night Live”.

“I’ve never been a real Lampoon reader,” Michaels told Rolling Stone in 1983, “but Anne was recommended to me by Michael O’Donoghue. She thought I hired her for the wrong reasons – because O’Donoghue was her boyfriend then – and when we met she was both friendly and suspicious. She was a bit combative. But that was in 1975. Everyone was a bit combative in 1975. “

Other Beatts credits included writing for “Murphy Brown” and “The Belles of Bleeker Street”, producing “A Different World” and writing assistance for the musical “Leader of the Pack”. She is survived by her daughter, Jaylene; sister Barbara Resucha; and nieces Jennifer and Kate Dreger.

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