Anne Beatts is dead. A pioneer in the world of comedy writers, Beatts is probably best known for his five-year career as a writer in the early days of Saturday Night Live, where she as one of the few women in the show’s writing staff helped create any number of classic characters and sketches. After leaving series, Beatts continued to create his own television, in particular cult high school sitcom Square pegs, which helps start a young Sarah Jessica Parker’s career in the process. According to Variety‘Beatts’ The death was confirmed today by her longtime friend Rona Edwards. The Beatts were 74.
The Beatts first gained a prominent place as a comedy writer with his time as an editor National Lampoon, one of several comedy tributaries that fed the original writing staff SNL. (She was known for helping to write a fake ad that earned the magazine a lawsuit from Volkswagen.) By joining the series, Beatts often paired with co-author Rosie Shuster, where they were often tasked about developing material for the female members of the show’s staff, especially Gilda Radner. (Like many of the early ones SNL writers, the Beatts served as writers on Radner’s 1980 man show Gilda Live.) Beatts wrote for SNL for the entire original Lorne Michaels period in the series, which created characters such as Todd and Lisa Lupner (aka The Nerds), Buck Henry’s deeply disturbing “Uncle Roy” and Fred Garvin, the male prostitute.
In the 1980s, the Beatts started alone and created Square pegs for CBS. Heralded for telling the same kind of teen-focused stories that John Hughes would spend the next decade mining after hits, the single-season show had a cast of future stars (especially Parker), a new wave-heavy soundtrack, and at least a few cameo- performances from the Beatles’ old friends –especially Bill Murray in a single-episode guest starring role. (Father Guido Sarducci also showed up.) Sorry, reports of dysfunction on the show’s set lwent to the studio by pulling the plug on a promising start and ending the series after a single season.
After Square pegs ended, the Beatts continued to write with some regularity and wrote an episode of Murphy Brown in 90s and wrote for comedian Stephanie Miller short-lived late on tonight’s talk show in 1995. She also served for many years as a writing teacher and served as an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California, and at Chapman University.