Anne Beatts, groundbreaking comedy writer, dead at 74

Anne Beatts, a groundbreaking comedy writer who was on the original staff of “Saturday Night Live” and later created the cult sitcom “Square Pegs,” has died at age 74

Obit Anne Beatts
Obit Anne Beatts

Anne Beatts, a groundbreaking comedy writer who was on the original staff of “Saturday Night Live” and later created the cult sitcom “Square Pegs,” has died. She was 74.

Beatts died Wednesday at her home in West Hollywood California according to her close friend Rona Kennedy Kennedy, a film producer and a fellow faculty member at Chapman University, did not immediately know the cause of death.

Starting in 1975, Beatts was among a team of gifted writers that included Rosie Shuster, Alan Zweibel, Marilyn Suzanne Miller and such cast members as Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase who helped make “Saturday Night Live” a cultural phenomenon.

In 1982, she developed her own series, what was then a rare sitcom centering on teen-age girls and starring Sarah Jessica Parker in an early breakthrough role. “Square Pegs” lasted just one season but was praised for anticipating — and even topping — the teen comedies John Hughes would soon become famous for.

“The show was also just plain cool, speaking to teens with a shared interest in their interests that made young people feel seen before the Hughes movies would have a similar effect,” New York magazine's Jen Chaney wrote in 2020. “No other show on TV back then would have focused an entire episode on a Pac-Man addiction or a New Wave-themed bat mitzvah that featured the actual band Devo performing ‘That’s Good.’”

Beatts was a native of Buffalo, New York, who later attended McGill University and got an early break writing comedy for National Lampoon where numerous future “Saturday Night Live” performers and writers worked. Her other credits included writing for “Murphy Brown” and “The Belles of Bleeker Street,” producing “A Different World” and helping to write the stage musical “Leader of the Pack.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in