Jan Hooks, the actress and comedian who became a star impersonating Ivana Trump, Sinead O’Connor, and Tammy Faye Baker on Saturday Night Live, has died at 57.
CNN reports that the cause of death at this time is unknown. Her death was confirmed by her representative Lisa Lieberman.
Hooks was part of the late 1980’s SNL and she worked with comedic geniuses Phil Hartman, Nora Dunn, Kevin Nealon, Michael Myers, and Dana Carvey.
“She was totally amazing as a sketch player. She so immersed herself in her characters, and her timing was amazing. She got it from some crazy stratosphere, and I was so attracted to that talent in her, and I don’t think she ever knew how well respected and admired she was for her talent,” her SNL co-worker and former boyfriend Kevin Nealon told ABC News.
Hook starred on SNL from 1986 to 1991. She had no plans to leave the show, but when she was offered a role on the popular TV show Designing Women, Hooks said her goodbyes. For two seasons Hooks played the character Carlene Dobber.
Hooks, was originally considered for the 1985 cast of SNL. That year she was passed over and Joan Cusak was hired. She was brought on in 1986. One of her most memorable appearances was with Alec Baldwin, in a skit called ‘The Diner.’ Hooks played a waitress named Brenda.
Born in Decatur, Georgia, in 1957, Hooks and her family moved to Florida and Texas while she was in her teens. When she returned to Atlanta she joined the comedy troupe the New Wit’s End Players. While working with the troupe she met writers Bonnie and Terry Turner.
Soon after Hooks went with the Turners to TBS, where they worked on a show built around Bill Tush. The Turners then began working on the show 3rd Rock From the Sun, which Hooks appeared on several times.
Hooks appeared in a handful of movies. Her role as an Alamo tour guide in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure in 1985 was a comedic brilliance.
TMZ reported that Hooks passed away in New York City after battling a serious illness.
“I was friends with her for a long time, and then we started dating for a while, and then we were on SNL together. I think the whole experience of going to New York to be on a show like SNL. I think about that a lot, ” Nealon added as he remembered his friend.