Original 'Saturday Night Live' Writer Anne Beatts Dies at 74

Beatts was one of few women to join the writers room for SNL when it debuted in 1975

Anne Beatts
Photo: Robin Marchant/Getty Images

Anne Beatts, one of the original writers of Saturday Night Live and the creator of the CBS sitcom Square Pegs, has died. She was 74.

Beatts died on Wednesday, former SNL cast member Laraine Newman said on Twitter on Thursday. The cause of Beatts' death has not been announced.

"Our Anne - an OG SNL writer passed away yesterday," Newman said.

Beatts was one of few women to join the writers room for SNL when it debuted in 1975. In 1976, she won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Series for her work on the show.

She was nominated for the golden statuette the next four consecutive years from 1977 to 1980.

While she was still a writer on SNL, Beatts created the teenage coming-of-age sitcom Square Pegs. The show, starring a young Sarah Jessica Parker, ran for one season from 1982 to 1983.

Beatts was also the first female contributing editor of National Lampoon magazine, a humor publication that ran from 1970 to 1998.

Anne Beatts (LEFT)
Denver Post/Getty Images

It was at National Lampoon that Beatts met Michael O'Donoghue, a major contributor to the magazine who would become the first head writer of SNL. The two were dating when O'Donoghue helped her secure a seat in the writers room.

In a 2009 interview with the Television Academy, Beatts said she was reluctant to take the job because of sexism she had experienced while at National Lampoon. She said she knew she would have regretted not saying yes.

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"I always say very freely when people ask, 'How did you get into comedy?' I say, 'The same way that Catherine the Great got into politics. On my back,'" Beatts joked, adding, "It wasn't like some Machiavellian scheme on my part, it was just that I was attracted to people who were doing things that I wanted to do."

During five seasons at SNL, Beatts helped create some of the show's most iconic characters.

Anne Beatts
Nicholas Hunt/Getty IMAGES

Beatts also had a hand in producing several other series, including NBC's A Different World and The Stephanie Miller Show. In addition to her writing for television, Beatts wrote a one-woman show called Gilda Radner – Live From New York in 1979.

Most recently, Beatts was an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts and at Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.

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