Actress and comedian Jan Hooks, one of the funniest women during her tenure on Saturday Night Live, passed away on Thursday in New York. Hooks was 57 years old. News reports indicated that Hooks was suffering from an undisclosed illness.
Jan was part of a strong SNL ensemble from 1986-1991 that featured some of the biggest names in the show’s history including Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Chris Farley, Mike Myers, Chirs Rock, and Dennis Miller. Her presence on SNL was extremely valuable as she was part of the cast that saved the show from one of its worst seasons (1985-1986). The only cast member who returned from that horrendous season was Jon Lovitz.
Hooks forged her comedic start with the famous improvisational group, “The Groundlings”. Hooks and her SNL colleague Nora Dunn blazed a path for women performers on the show. She was most famous for being half of the Sweeney Sisters with Dunn, and also for her spot-on impressions of Bette Davis, Sinead O’Connor, Hillary Clinton and most notably Tammy Faye Baker. Her one skit with Alec Baldwin as Brenda the Waitress remains a fan favorite.
In her post-SNL days, she was featured on “Designing Women” and “Third Rock from the Sun”, for which she earned an Emmy nomination.
Hooks will forever be remembered for her role as Tina in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, where she reminds Pee-Wee and all of us that there is no basement in the Alamo. Never has been, never will be. All of us at Untied send our love and prayers to Hooks’ family.