Jan Hooks, whose Hillary Clinton and Tammy Faye Bakker were hallmarks of Saturday Night Live in the late '80s, has died. She was 57.
Hooks's agency confirmed that the comedian died early Thursday of an undisclosed cause.
During her five-year stint as an SNL regular, Hooks was part of an ensemble that included Mike Myers, Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey, Kevin Nealon, Chris Farley, Dennis Miller, Jon Lovitz, and her fellow Sweeney Sister, Nora Dunn.
A reliable supporting sketch artist, Hooks was best known for her spot-on impressions of mascara-melting Bakker, Clinton, Bette Davis, Diane Sawyer, Nancy Reagan, and Sinéad O'Connor during her 1986-91 run on the late-night comedy show. Her character Brenda the waitress later became a template for her guest role on 30 Rock, playing the gold-digging Verna Maloney, mother to Jane Krakowski's Jenna.
Hooks also appeared in a handful of films, including Tim Burton's Batman Returns and, most notably, Pee-wee's Big Adventure. She delivered one of the movie's catchphrases: "There's no basement in the Alamo!"
Hooks left SNL in 1991 to co-star on Designing Women, although she would return to Studio 8H for guest appearances through 1994. Hooks subsequently had a recurring role on 3rd Rock From the Sun. Her last credited on-screen work was on 30 Rock.
She also did voice work, most famously as The Simpsons' ever-patient Manjula Nahasapeemapetilon, who puts up with her husband Apu's long hours at the Kwik-E-Mart despite having octuplets to take care of.
Hooks was born in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur in 1957. According to an AP interview from 1991, Hooks worked in dinner theater and with the New Wits End Players comedy group before making it big. She first auditioned for SNL in 1985, but was deemed "too old," according to TV Guide. She joined the cast a year later during a major talent shakeup.
Following her death, SNL co-star and friend Lovitz issued a statement:
"This is very, very sad news about Jan. She was easily one of the best comedic actresses to be on SNL. Whenever she and Phil Hartman worked together, it was magic. As Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker on 'Church Chat' with Dana Carvey, the three of them created one of the best sketches, ever, in the history of SNL. She was terrific to work with and a very, very nice person. I will miss her very much. Peace and prayers to her family and friends."
Several other of her comedy peers joined fans on Twitter to celebrate Hooks.
— Arsenio Hall (@ArsenioHall) October 9, 2014
Sad to hear about Jan Hooks. Very funny and very underrated.
— Colin Quinn (@iamcolinquinn) October 9, 2014
— Orlando Jones (@TheOrlandoJones) October 9, 2014
Look back at Hooks's best SNL impressions: