Anne Beatts, original SNL writer and Square Pegs creator, dies at 74

Rosy Cordero
·1 min read

Robin Marchant/Getty Images

Anne Beatts, an original Saturday Night Live writer who created some of the show's most iconic early season characters, died on Wednesday at age 74.

The news was confirmed by Laraine Newman, who appeared on the hit NBC sketch comedy series from 1975-1980, in a post on Twitter. No further details regarding her death are readily available.

"Our Anne—an OG SNL writer passed away yesterday," she shared.

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Buffalo-born Beatts began her career after graduating college as a writer for National Lampoon magazine where she would later become the first female editor of the publication.

She joined Saturday Night Live in 1975, becoming a pioneer for female comedy writers alongside her writing partner Rosie Shuster, with whom she helped create Dan Aykroyd's sleazy toy company exec, Irwin Mainway; the Nerds played by Gilda Radner and Bill Murray; and Buck Henry's Uncle Roy. Beatts was nominated five times for an Emmy during her tenure, with one win for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy, Variety, or Music series in 1976.

Five years later, she created the cult classic series Square Pegs starring a then-teenaged Sarah Jessica Parker in the lead role that helped launch her Hollywood career. She followed her success on the CBS sitcom with a producing role on the first season of A Different World, a spin-off of The Cosby Show.

In later years, Beatts took a hands-on approach to teach comedy as an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, and later a lecturer at Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.

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