As a fan of both “Saturday Night Live” in the present and the past, it pains my heart to report that former cast member Jan Hooks has passed away at 57 years old. TMZ first reported the news, citing that Hooks had been battling with an undisclosed illness for some time.
For those who don’t know, Hooks was a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” from 1986 to 1991, spending time on the sketch show with heavy hitters like Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Phil Hartman, and Dana Carvey. Hooks certainly held her own on the show, becoming well-known for her portrayals of Hillary Clinton, Nancy Reagan, Kathie Lee Gifford, Jodie Foster and Sinead O’Connor. However, the actress/comedian may be best known as being one-half of the musical Sweeney Sisters alongside fellow “SNL” cast member Nora Dunn.
After making a name for herself on “SNL,” a show that saw her appear in 102 episodes throughout her career, she left the cast to become a regular cast member of the TV series “Designing Women,” following the departure of Jean Smart. However, she continued to appear on “SNL” until 1994, mostly reprising her role as Hilary Clinton (much in the same way Tina Fey came back to play Sarah Palin on the show after she was no longer a cast member).
Hooks also had other notable TV appearances on fellow comedians’ shows like “The Martin Short Show” and “The Dana Carvey Show,” but she found somewhat more regular work as a recurring character on “3rd Rock from the Sun” and also a voice role as Apu’s wife on “The Simpsons” (and one guest appearance on “Futurama”). Hooks can also be seen in various films like Batman Returns and Coneheads.
Most recently, Hooks appeared in a couple episodes of “30 Rock,” a show that was essentially a parody of Tina Fey’s time spent at “SNL,” where she played the mother of Jane Krakowski’s Jenna Maroney character. There she went toe-to-toe with Alec Baldwin’s intimidating Jack Donaghy, proving yet again that she can share the screen with the best and still shine.
We wish more of the incredible work Hooks put in at “SNL” was more readily available online, but you’ll have to scour the web for some of her finer moments. Hooks was an immense comedic talent who influenced a lot of today’s biggest comediennes, and she will be missed.
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