Jan Hooks we say GOOD BYE !
We starting the blog with a sad news ...Jan Hooks the actress whose flair for comedy and ability to inhabit a character was showcased during her five years on “Saturday Night Live,” died on Thursday. She was 57.
Her death was confirmed by her agent, Lisa Lieberman, who did not provide any other details. Some news reports said she died in New York of an undisclosed illness. A spokeswoman for “S.N.L.” declined to comment.
Ms. Hooks joined “S.N.L.” in 1986 and was part of a cast that is widely regarded as one of the best in the show’s history, alongside the likes of Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey, Jon Lovitz, Nora Dunn and later Mike Myers.
Among the prominent women she impersonated were Donald Trump’s wife, Ivana, and the television evangelist Tammy Faye Bakker, whom she had seen on cable in Atlanta before Ms. Bakker and her husband, Jim, became nationally known. After leaving the show in 1991, Ms. Hooks returned several times to portray Hillary Rodham Clinton — the first “S.N.L.” cast member to tackle that assignment.
She was probably best known for her frequent appearances with Ms. Dunn as the Sweeney Sisters, an excruciatingly enthusiastic but minimally talented lounge act. Recalling the original “S.N.L.” stars Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, Allan Johnson of The Chicago Tribune wrote in 1999, “If Aykroyd and Belushi were the perfect comedy partnership on ‘S.N.L.,’ then Hooks and Dunn were close behind.”
Ms. Hooks’s first job after “S.N.L.” was a role on “Designing Women,” the long-running sitcom about women who run a design business in Atlanta. She replaced Jean Smart, playing the sister of Ms. Smart’s character.
She had not been planning to leave “S.N.L.,” she told The Associated Press in 1991: “Although my five-year contract was up, I was fully intending to return. But I wanted to investigate other possibilities.” The “Designing Women” offer came, she said, “out of nowhere.”
Ms. Hooks later had recurring roles on “3rd Rock From the Sun” and “The Simpsons.” Most recently she played the mother of Jenna Maroney, the flaky and self-centered TV star played by Jane Krakowski, on “30 Rock,” the Tina Fey sitcom about life behind the scenes at a late-night sketch show not unlike “S.N.L.” (Ms. Fey had been a writer and regular performer on “S.N.L.” after Ms. Hooks left the show.)
Ms. Hooks’s movie roles included a memorable turn as a tour guide at the Alamo in “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” (1985). She was also in “Batman Returns” (1992) and “Simon Birch” (1998). In 1995 she replaced Sarah Jessica Parker as an anthropomorphic dog in “Sylvia,” an Off Broadway comedy by A. R. Gurney.
Born in Decatur, Ga., on April 23, 1957, and raised in Atlanta, Ms. Hooks got her comedy training, as many other “S.N.L.” performers did, at the Groundlings, the Los Angeles improvisation and sketch troupe. Another Groundling was Mr. Hartman, who joined the “S.N.L.” cast the same year she did and who was a frequent sketch partner. (He was killed by his wife in 1998.)
Ms. Hooks often credited Mr. Hartman with helping her overcome what she called her “horrible stage fright.”
“I was one of the ones that between dress and air was sitting in a corner going, ‘Please cut everything I’m in!’ ” James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales quoted her as saying in their book “Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live” (2002).
In an interview with The Toronto Star in 1998, Ms. Hooks acknowledged that it had become “stylish” for female former “S.N.L.” cast members to “bash the show.” She did not, she said, because “it did me a lot of good.”