Jan Hooks, Decatur native, has died at age 57

Jan Hooks (left) as Tammy Faye Bakker with Phil Hartman as Jim. CREDIT: NBC
Caption
Jan Hooks (left) as Tammy Faye Bakker with Phil Hartman as Jim. CREDIT: NBC

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

TORONTO - SEPTEMBER 18: (US TABS AND HOLLYWOOD REPORTER OUT) Actor Jan Hooks attends the "Lalawood" after party and festival closer during the 29th Annual Toronto International Film Festival September 18, 2004 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Darryl James/Getty Images) Jan Hooks, 57, grew up in Decatur and built her comedy chops in Atlanta before moving to New York. CREDIT: Getty Images
Caption
TORONTO - SEPTEMBER 18: (US TABS AND HOLLYWOOD REPORTER OUT) Actor Jan Hooks attends the "Lalawood" after party and festival closer during the 29th Annual Toronto International Film Festival September 18, 2004 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Darryl James/Getty Images) Jan Hooks, 57, grew up in Decatur and built her comedy chops in Atlanta before moving to New York. CREDIT: Getty Images

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

Decatur native and "Saturday Night Live" star Jan Hooks has died at age 57.

A spokeswoman confirmed her death to CNN but did not say what she died of.

She spent five seasons as a main cast member of "Saturday Night Live" with the likes of Mike Myers, Phil Hartman, Kevin Nealon, Dana Carvey and Victoria Jackson. Later she was a cast member of "Designing Women" and "3rd Rock From the Sun."

As a teen-ager, she left Decatur for Fort Myers, Fla. At first, she focused on dramatic acting. She didn't develop an interest in comedy until she came back to Atlanta in 1979 and met Bonnie and Terry Turner of the Wit's End Players. The Turners later became writers at "SNL" while Hook was there and creators of sitcom hits "3rd Rock of the Sun" and "That 70s Show."

According to a 1986 profile the AJC wrote about her, the trio worked in Atlanta nightclubs for nearly a year before WTBS (the SuperStation!) hired her as a cast member of the sketch-comedy show "Tush" led by Bill Tush.

"Tush" only lasted 22 episodes. ( Ted Turner apparently didn't like the show, according to a profile AJC editor Bert Roughton wrote last year for myajc.com.)

"She was one of my closest, dearest friends and certainly one person who was with me in good times and bad, for both of us," Tush wrote in a brief text exchange. "We spoke on the phone almost weekly. We lived in the same cities at the same time: Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York and Woodstock, N.Y. "

Here is Hooks doing a Helen Reddy imitation on "Tush."

Hooks then moved to Hollywood, grabbing a few gigs here and there, including the syndicated "Comedy Break" and a stint with Leslie Nielsen on the summer replacement series "Prime Time." She spent one season with HBO's sketch show "Not Necessarily the News." She had small roles in the Goldie Hawn film "Wildcats" and "Pee Wee's Big Adventure."

In 1985, she tried to get a job with "SNL" but didn't get it. But she was hired the next year and moved to New York City.

"I look forward to success," she told AJC freelancer Ray Weiss in 1986, soon after she joined the cast. " I haven't been too happy being anonymous."
She was already enjoying that year's troupe, which was considered one of the best ever.
"It's a diverse, yet cohesive group. We all have our own strong points. We're real relaxed working together. ... But it's crucial that we just have fun on the show. It sounds corny, but that comes through to any audience."

Some of her most notable "SNL" characters over the years included being part of the Sweeney Sisters and imitating Hillary Clinton, Sinead O'Connor and Tammy Faye Bakker.

ajc.com

Credit: Rodney Ho

Jan Hooks (left) as Tammy Faye Bakker with Phil Hartman as Jim. CREDIT: NBC
Caption
Jan Hooks (left) as Tammy Faye Bakker with Phil Hartman as Jim. CREDIT: NBC

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) Phil Hartman as Bill Clinton, Jan Hooks as Hillary Clinton during the 'Nightline' skit on September 26, 1992 -- Photo by: Al Levine/NBCU Photo Bank SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) Phil Hartman as Bill Clinton, Jan Hooks as Hillary Clinton during the 'Nightline' skit on September 26, 1992 -- Photo by: Al Levine/NBCU Photo Bank
Caption
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) Phil Hartman as Bill Clinton, Jan Hooks as Hillary Clinton during the 'Nightline' skit on September 26, 1992 -- Photo by: Al Levine/NBCU Photo Bank SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) Phil Hartman as Bill Clinton, Jan Hooks as Hillary Clinton during the 'Nightline' skit on September 26, 1992 -- Photo by: Al Levine/NBCU Photo Bank

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

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