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Anne Beatts, Original ‘SNL’ Writer, Dead at 74

Emmy-winning writer also created sitcom Square Pegs, edited Titters: The First Collection of Humor by Women

Anne Beatts

Jimi Celeste/Patrick McMullanMcMullan/Sipa USA/AP Images

Anne Beatts, one of the original writers on Saturday Night Live, has died at the age of 74. Former SNL cast member Laraine Newman first tweeted news of Beatts’ death Wednesday, “Our Anne- an OG SNL writer passed away yesterday.”

Film producer and Beatts’ friend Rona Edwards confirmed the writer’s death to the Hollywood Reporter. Beatts died Wednesday at her home in Los Angeles, but no cause of death was provided.

“Anne was a pioneer – she truly paved the way for women in comedy and female comedy writers in particular who may not have had their shot if Anne hadn’t come before them – but overall, she was my friend – my heart is completely broken,” Edwards said in a statement. “She was one of a kind and no one can ever replace her wit, her wisdom, and her talent, but to me, nothing can ever replace her friendship and humanity.”

Beatts, who was the first woman to serve as writer and editor on the humor magazine The National Lampoon, joined the SNL staff along with her writing partner Rosie Shuster in 1975 ahead of the series’ premiere that year. She remained a part of the writing staff until 1980, with Beatts credited in part with creating SNL characters like Dan Aykrord’s Irwin Mainway and Fred Garvin: Male Prostitute and Buck Henry’s Uncle Roy. Beatts received two Emmy Awards for her work on SNL.

In addition to editing and authoring a series of books on comedy — including 1976’s Titters: The First Collection of Humor by Women — Beatts also created the short-lived Sarah Jessica Parker sitcom Square Pegs, and produced series like A Different World and The Stephanie Miller Show.

Since 2009, Beatts served as an instructor at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. “Anne wasn’t just the queen of comedy; she was also an extraordinary mentor to many students,” Stephen Galloway, dean of Dodge College, said in a statement to Variety. “She would read their work and help them find internships, always going above and beyond the expectations of her job.”

From Rolling Stone US