‘Many Thanks. For memories very few 17-18 year olds can make, Sarah Jessica Parker recalled Anna Beatts performing on Square Pegs as a freshman high school student trying to adapt.
Anne Beatts, a pioneering comedy writer with a taste for the sweet and the macabre, who was on the original staff of Saturday Night Live and later created the cult sitcom Square Pegs, has died. She was 74 years old.
According to her close friend Rona Kennedy, Beatts died on Wednesday at her home in West Hollywood, California. Kennedy, a film producer and faculty member at Chapman University, did not immediately know the cause of death.
Beatts began in 1975 and ran for five seasons. He was part of a team of talented writers that included Rosie Shuster, Alan Zweibel, Marilyn Suzanne Miller, and actors like Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase who helped make Saturday Night Live a cultural phenomenon. With Shuster she invented the beloved young nerds – the nasal, Marvin Hamlisch-loving Lisa Loopner (played by Gilda Radner) and the high-pants goofball Todd DiLaMuca (Bill Murray) – and helped to coin buzzwords like Lisa’s: “That is so funny I forgot to laugh. «
Beatts later drew on her own recognized background as an outsider in high school for her own series Square Pegs.
» If you look at the nerds, she knows this one World, « Zweibel told The Associated Press. » She and Rosie treated these characters with love. She knew this world. If you look at Square Pegs, the title alone speaks volumes. «
Square Pegs premiered in 1982 and was a rare teenage girl-focused sitcom at the time, starring Sarah Jessica Parker in an early junior high school role trying to fit in. Square Pegs only lasted one season but was made by Kriti kernel and beloved later. Praised for anticipating and surpassing the teen comedies that would soon make John Hughes famous.
« The show was just plain cool too, and spoke to teenagers who shared a common interest their interests and made young people feel like they were being seen before the Hughes films had a similar effect, « wrote Jen Chaney of New York magazine in 2020. TV would have had a full episode of a Pac-Man addiction back then or a bat mitzvah with a New Wave theme, in which the actual band Devo performed ‘That’s Good’. «
On Thursday, Parker tweeted, » She strives to find appropriate and appropriate descriptive words to describe her unique self. I need time. Because I’m missing out. Gosh, she really was something. RIP Anne. Many Thanks. For memories that very few 17 to 18 year olds can make. “
Other later credits from Beatts included writing for Murphy Brown and The Belles of Bleeker Street, producing A Different World, and assisting in writing the stage musical, Leader of the Pack. She is survived by her daughter Jaylene; Sister Barbara Resucha; and nieces Jennifer and Kate Dreger.
Beatts was from Buffalo, New York, and eventually settled down with her family in Somers. She grew up among readers and joke letters, talking about improving her own joke, if only to keep up.
After attending McGill University, she got an early break to do a comedy for the National Writing Lampoon Magazine, which featured numerous future Saturday Night Live artists and writers. She left the magazine in the mid-1970s out of frustration at being overlooked by the mostly male staff. But while she was there, she started dating her colleague Michael O’Donoghue, who was hired by producer Lorne Michaels for Saturday Night Live.
« I was never really a reader of Lampoon, » Michaels said 1983 to Rolling Stone, « but Anne was recommended to me by Michael O’Donoghue. She thought I was hiring her for the wrong reasons – because O’Donoghue was her boyfriend at the time – and when we met she was a combination of friendly and careful. She was a little combative. But that was 1975. Everyone was a little combative in 1975. «
Beatts, who Michaels initially rejected partly because she didn’t like television, was already known for an unusual sense of humor. shared live by many on Saturday night. In a replica Volkswagen ad that ran in Lampoon, it delivered an infamous slogan referring to Senator Ted Kennedy’s 1969 car accident on Chappaquiddick Island: « If Ted Kenne If you drove a Volkswagen, he’d be president today. «
In an email to The Associated Press, Saturday Night Live actress Laraine Newman wrote that Beatts » brought the toughness of National Lampoon with her when she was in ours Show wrote. But she didn’t learn from Lampoon. She already had it. Such a contradiction also because she was a very sweet person. “
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