There's some very sad news for comedy fans today, as “Saturday Night Live” and “Designing Women” vet Jan Hooks has reportedly passed away.
Hooks has allegedly been fighting a serious illness for some time and passed away at age 57 in New York City today, according to a TMZ report.
Born in 1957, Hooks grew up in Decatur, Georgia, before moving to L.A. where she joined the renowned improv comedy group The Groundlings. In the early '80s, she was drafted to join the cast of HBO's early comedy series “Not Necessarily the News.”
She was added to the 1986-'87 season of “SNL” along with fellow newcomers Dana Carvey and Phil Hartman. Hooks stayed with the show until 1991, where she built up an impressive repertoire of fictional characters such as Candy Sweeny (one half of the Sweeny Sisters along with Nora Dunn) and impressions of celebrities and political figures such as Tammy Faye Bakker, Sinead O'Connor, Nancy Reagan and Hilary Clinton.
After “SNL,” Hooks joined the cast of CBS' long-running “Designing Women” and later had a recurring role on “3rd Rock from the Sun.”
She also appeared in several movies, including brief roles in Tim Burton's “Pee Wee's Big Adventure” and “Batman Returns.” Hooks' voice may also sound familiar to fans of “The Simpsons,” on which she played Apu's wife, Manjula.
More recently, Hooks appeared in the fourth season of NBC's “SNL”-inspired “30 Rock” as Verna Maroney, mother of Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski).