Often writing with Rosie Shuster, she created some memorable sketches in the early years of the series, including including those that identify nerds Lisa and Todd.
Anne Beatts, who wrote for "Saturday Night Live " from its beginnings in 1975 until 1980, a boisterous and innovative period that made the show a central part of the American cultural landscape, died Wednesday at her home in West Hollywood, Calif. She was 74 years old.
His family announced the death in a statement. The cause was not specified.
Ms. Beatts had written for National Lampoon and other outlets when producer Lorne Michaels signed her on for a new sketch show by late night which will be broadcast live on NBC on Saturday.
"I was fortunate that when Lorne Michaels came looking for female comedy writers, there weren't too many of them. New York at the time ", she declared to the Orange County Register in 2013. "I was at the top of a very short list.
The early years of the show featured members of the cast who quickly became household names, coMs. Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase and John Belushi. The show's writers often worked in pairs, and Ms. Beatts wrote frequently with Rosie Shuster, creating sketches like the series "Nerds," which starred Lisa Loopner (Ms. Radner) and Todd DiLaMuca (Bill Murray), a couple. incredibly awkward.
"It was probably our biggest success," Ms. Beatts told The Join. Image Mrs. Beatts, on her knees, with Lorne Michaels (standing, right), the producer of "SNL," and a number of writers and performers on the show, including Al Franken, Dan Aykroyd, Michael O 'Donoghue, Chevy Chase , Bill Murray and Ms. Beatts' frequent writing partner, Rosie Shuster, seated behind her. Credit ... Lynn Goldsmith
Ms. Shuster, in a telephone interview, said that she and Ms. Beatts made a point of honor to write material for the women of the "SNL" troop. And, she said, Ms. Beatts had no problem defending herself in the "S.N.L. " Writers' Room.
"Because she had worked at Lampoon with a lot of guys, she wasn 't more and more violent " said Mrs. Shuster.
Alan Zweibel , who was in this room, remembered a comedian with a tip.
"His words were like weapons - really sharp, really satirical," he said. "Not only was there a spirit; there was a bit of anger there. But it landed.
Ms. Beatts often wrote the TV parodies that the show used at the time, and sometimes she was on them. Mr. Zweibel especially remembered 'an absurdly exaggerated housewife she played in a fake - woman ' s secret was a product called Speed.
Ms. The Beatts, Mr. Zweibel said, "approached things from a different angle," a quality that Laraine Newman also remembered.
" Anne Beatts 'handwriting was very personal and specific, "she said via email." It brought out things we all knew but weren't. represented nor defined. For example, the Nerds. It was so Anne in her details. The fact that Lisa Loopner ate egg salad sandwiches. Her writing was very direct, muscular and somber at times, and that didn't. don't like that? ”
After exploring nerdiness with Lisa and Todd, Ms. Beatts drew this well again after leaving“ SNL ”in 1980 . In 1982, she created "Square Pegs ", a CBS comedy series that only lasted 20 episodes, but anticipated the trend of TV shows about the pressures and pitfalls of high school as an experienceyielded by the excluded crowd. It centered around two clumsy girls, Patty and Lauren, who were constantly under siege by the cool kids. Image The cast of" Square Pegs ", the 1982-83 CBS sitcom created by Ms. Beatts. In the front row, from left, Amy Linker and Sarah Jessica Parker; middle row, from left, Tracy Nelson, John Femia and Merritt Butrick; back row, from left, Jon Caliri, Claudette Wells and Jami Gertz. Credit ... PEL Communications
Patty was played by Sarah Jessica Parker, then largely unknown. Ms Beatts said the character was based on herself and her experiences at Somers Central High School in the City of Somers, Westchester County, New York. >
"I just wanted to tell Laurens and Pattys and others that no matter what they are suffering now, they could 'rejoice later, "Ms. Beatts tol d The Hfrance.fr in 1983. “Because most brilliant, prosperous people and happy that I know were pretty miserable in high school.
Anne Patricia Beatts was born on February 25, 1947 in Buffalo. Her parents, Pat and Sheila Beatts, were both educators. She graduated from McGill University in Montreal, where she worked for the campus newspaper, The McGill Daily.
"I have always wanted to be a writer," she told La Gazette de Montreal in2011, "but I was afraid to say it before I started working at The Daily.
After graduating, she worked in Toronto for a while, then moved to New York. She admitted that the easiest way for a woman to get noticed in the humor world back then was to date a guy who was in it. For her, it was Michel Choquette, founding figure of Lampoon, created in 1970; she followed strategy sessions with him.
"Nobody wanted me there, but nobody wanted to say: " Make her stay home " she told The Contra Costa Times in California in 2004, “so I went to editorial meetings at some of New York's worst restaurants. ” She added, “Everyone was talking and throwing out ideas, and in the end , they would ask who had this and who had that, and I would catch myself raising my hand.I'm sort of dewormed myself. " Image Ms. Beatts, right, with Jane Curtin, a member of the original "SNL Cast, in 2019 at the Nantucket Film Festival in Massachusetts. Credit ... Noam Galai / Images
A few years later, she was involved in Michael O 'Donoghue , an original " SNL "writer.
" Lorne had this idea of couples, like getting on board of the ark, "she said." Once you were there, you couldn't come down. "
She almost turned down Mr. Michaels' offer because she was working on a book.
"Then a friend of mine said: 'Are you crazy? ' ", she recalls in the 2004 interview .
Her time at "SNL ", she said was exhilarating but difficult.
"It was a combination of summer camp and concentration camp " she told the Miami Herald in 1982 .
After "Square Pegs," Ms. Beatts, who has moved to the West Coast, has written for other shows and produced occasionally, including episodes of "A Different World" in the 1980s. When she died she was a lecturer at Chapman University in Orange County, California.
She is survived by a daughter, Jaylene Beatts; one sister, Barbara; and one brother, Murray.
Ms. Beatts finished this book she was working on when Mr. Michaels called. Published in 1976, it was a compilation she edited with Deanne Stillman called" Titters : The First Collection of Humor by Women. ”She was a longtime advocate of giving women a greater voice in comedy, and purging sexism in this world.
In 1978, Hfrance.fr published an article which mistakenly referred to Ms Beatts as a former editor-in-chief of National Lampoon. The magazine's editors wrote to correct the report.
"Although for some time a recognized and valuable contributor, she never served in an editorial capacity," they wrote. "Since, elsewhere and frequently, Ms. Beatts has gone to great lengths to condemn the National Lampoon's conscious and unconscious sexism in the field of humor, it seems unlikely thatShe wants such a mistake to ruin her otherwise formidable record.