Anne Beatts, one of many unique writers for Saturday Night Live and the creator of the 1982 sitcom Sq. Pegs, has died at age 74. The announcement got here from Laraine Newman, an SNL unique forged member, although no additional particulars have been confirmed.
Beatts started her comedy writing profession as the primary feminine editor of the Nationwide Lampoon journal, a by-product from the Harvard Lampoon. It was there that she met Michael O’Donoghue, with whom she would intently collaborate as they developed Lorne Michaels‘ brainchild that finally turned SNL.
With writing accomplice Rosie Shuster, she created a few of the present’s most memorable characters, together with Todd and Lisa (performed by Bill Murray and Gilda Radner), Uncle Roy (Buck Henry), Irwin Mainway and Fred Garvin (Dan Aykroyd). Discovering herself as soon as once more as one of many few ladies within the room, Beatts regularly stood up for her items and purposefully employed a principally feminine writing crew when she launched Sq. Pegs.
“I all the time say very freely when individuals ask, ‘How did you get into comedy?’ … ‘The identical manner that Catherine the Nice bought into politics,” she instructed Television Academy in 2009. “It wasn’t like some Machiavellian scheme on my half. … It was simply that I used to be interested in individuals who had been doing issues that I needed to do.”
“I bear in mind as soon as at Saturday Night time Dwell having spent the evening in my workplace,” she famous. “There was a heavy snowfall in a single day, and I appeared out the window onto fifth Avenue and I noticed that your complete road was lined with pristine recent snow. I simply felt very joyful, and I believed the eight-year-old me all the time needed to remain within the metropolis — while you could be going to FAO Schwarz and the Museum of Pure Historical past — and I used to be all the time like, ‘Sometime I am not going to go away.’ I believed if somebody had mentioned to that eight-year-old, ‘Properly, sure, you’ll do that; you’ll have this second,’ I’d have been simply thrilled.”
Sq. Pegs, which ran for one season, starred a younger Sarah Jessica Parker and Amy Linker as two youngsters of their first yr of highschool. A part of the present’s legacy turned its heavy use of up to date new wave music, together with a theme music carried out by the Waitresses and a musical visitor spot from Devo. The rock vibe even prolonged to the casting: Amongst different cameos, Doors drummer John Densmore appeared in an episode as a part of a fictional band.
“My thought for Sq. Pegs was that, since rock music is essential to children, that there ought to all the time be rock music on the present,” Beatts mentioned in an interview on the time, including, “I believe that it is integral to the present.”
She elaborated on the present’s musical legacy in a 2018 Yahoo! interview. “It was groundbreaking, however no person [at the network] needed us to do it, as a result of they thought that it could intrude with the dialogue!” she mentioned. “And so they certain didn’t need to spend the cash on it. Nobody, nobody, nobody needed us to do it. However I knew it was necessary to maintain placing music in there.”
Beatts discovered extra TV work after Sq. Pegs: Amongst different tasks, she coproduced the primary season of the Cosby Show spin-off A Completely different World in 1987-88, wrote a 1991 episode of Murphy Brown and co-penned the 1993 TV film The Elvira Present. She additionally labored in different mediums, together with Broadway productions (cowriting Radner’s 1979 one-woman present), humor columns, a number of books (as each a author and editor) and educating (together with a stint as adjunct writing professor at College of Southern California’s College of Cinematic Arts).
“We had been doing comedy for us,” Beatts instructed the Vancouver Film School in 2011, reflecting on the philosophy of early SNL. “Do we predict that is humorous? We’ll put it on the air.”