Ugh. It’s never easy to report on the passing of anyone, let alone a comedy icon we’ve long admired: Jan Hooks. The Saturday Night Live vet and boss lady of the hahas passed away, according to TMZ, on Thursday. She was 57-years-old.
There is little information currently available on the matter, though TMZ did report that Hooks has apparently “been battling a serious illness.” There’s no word on the validity of that claim or what the illness might have been. Hooks was in New York City when she passed.
Jan Hooks was nothing if not an exuberant touchpoint of comedic intensity. Her wit coupled with some seriously sharp timing made her an asset to anything she touched. Most recently, the actress played Jenna’s egomaniacal mother on an episode of 30 Rock, but she is perhaps most well known for her impressive impression work while she was on SNL from 1986 – 1991 alongside a seriously talented crew of comedy icons, including Chris Farley, Mike Myers, Phil Hartman, and Dana Carvey. To make an impact on audiences with that sort of pedigree around? No small feat, but Hooks was nothing if not always up for a challenge. While working in the House that Lorne Michaels built, the comedian was notable for her mimicry of ladies ranging from Bette Davis, Ann-Margret, Sinead O’Connor, Hillary Clinton, and even Jodie Foster.
And, of course, who could forget her turn as Tina in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Right? It’s Tina the Alamo girl!
She starred for two seasons on Designing Women after her time on SNL, and even managed to nab an Emmy nomination in 1998 for her guest starring role on 3rd Rock from the Sun.
Hooks will be supremely missed. Hopefully she and Robin Williams are having a yuck up at the big Comedy Attic in the sky. Our thoughts are with her family and those that loved her during this time.