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Anne Beatts

Anne Beatts

American comedy writer and playwright
Anne Beatts
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American comedy writer and playwright
Was Screenwriter Writer Playwright Journalist
From United States of America
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio Journalism Literature
Gender female
Birth 25 February 1947, Buffalo, Erie County, New York, USA
Death 7 April 2021, West Hollywood, California, USA (aged 74 years)
Star sign Pisces
Emmy Award  
Peoplepill ID anne-beatts
The details (from wikipedia)


Anne Beatts (February 25, 1947 – April 7, 2021) was an American comedy writer.

Early life

Beatts was born in Buffalo, New York, to parents she has described as "beatniks". Beatts grew to have what has been called an "aggressive, dark sensibility" which she later put to use in comedy. Growing up in Somers, New York, she later attended McGill University.

It was at McGill University where Beatts discovered the darkly tragic humor of Jewish writers J. D. Salinger, Philip Roth, and Bruce Jay Friedman. At this time, Beatts converted to Judaism.

National Lampoon

After graduating from college, Beatts joined National Lampoon magazine, a national offshoot of the Harvard Lampoon. She brought her dark sense of humor to her work, and co-wrote a parody advertisement for Volkswagen which was conceived by Philip Socci for which the magazine was later sued by the car company. The advertisement stated, "If Ted Kennedy drove a Volkswagen, he'd be President today," accompanied by a photograph of a VW Beetle floating on a lake (an allusion to Kennedy's Chappaquiddick incident).

During Beatts' time at National Lampoon magazine, she worked with Michael O'Donoghue. The two became romantically involved, and both soon joined the creative team of Saturday Night Live in the early years of the program.


Beatts is widely regarded as a pioneer in television and comedy circles, as an early female comedy writer and one of the very few female writers working in the National Lampoon/SNL comedy scene of the 1970s. At SNL she was nominated for an Emmy five times, winning once. In 2001 she won a Writer's Guild Award. Beatts created the 1982 CBS sitcom Square Pegs, and additionally appeared in uncredited guest spots on the early SNL.

Beatts wrote the book for the 1985 Ellie Greenwich jukebox musical Leader of the Pack and produced the first season of A Different World in 1987–1988.

After several credits in the 1990s, Beatts eventually moved away from writing for television. In 2006, she directed the series John Waters Presents Movies That Will Corrupt You with her writing and producing partner, Eve Brandstein for B-Girls Productions.

In 2007, Beatts served as one of the judges for the online comedy competition Project Breakout.

Beatts served as Adjunct Professor in the Writing Division at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, as well as at Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. She also gave private lessons on writing sketch comedy.


  • National Lampoon (Magazine)
  • National Lampoon's Lemmings (with Sean Kelly, Tony Hendra, Christopher Guest, and Paul Jacobs) (1973) (Stage Show)
  • Tarzoon: Shame of the Jungle (with Michael O'Donohue) (1975) (Adaptation)
  • National Lampoon: A Dirty Book (1976) (Book)
  • Saturday Night Live (1975–1979) (TV)
  • Titters: The First Collection of Humor by Women (with Deanne Stillman) (1976)
  • Gilda Live (with Gilda Radner, Michael O'Donoghue, Alan Zweibel, Don Novello, Lorne Michaels, Marilyn Suzanne Miller, Paul Shaffer, and Rosie Shuster) (1980) (Stage Show)
  • Square Pegs (1982–1983) (TV)
  • Titters 101 (with Deanne Stillman and Judith Jacklin Belushi) (1984) (Book)
  • Leader of the Pack (1985) (Stage Show)
  • “The Mom Book” (with Judith Victoria Jacklin [Belushi] and Deanne Stillman (1986) (Book)
  • A Different World (1987–1988) (TV) (Producer only)
  • Faerie Tale Theatre (1987) (TV)
  • The Belles of Bleeker Street (1991) (TV)
  • Murphy Brown (1991) (TV)
  • The Elvira Show (1993) (TV)
  • The Stephanie Miller Show (1995) (TV)
  • Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child (2000) (TV)
  • Hollywood Off-Ramp (2000) (TV)
  • 56th Annual Writers' Guild Awards (2004) (TV)

Media portrayals

Beatts was portrayed by Natasha Lyonne in the 2018 Netflix film A Futile and Stupid Gesture. She was profiled in the January 6, 2020, issue of New York Magazine.


Beatts died at age 74 on April 7, 2021, at her home in West Hollywood. She is survived by her daughter, Jaylene Beatts.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 11 Apr 2021. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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