'Saturday Night Live' veteran Jan Hooks dead at 57

Former 'SNL' cast member Jan Hooks has died at 57

Actress Jan Hooks, best known for her work on “Saturday Night Live” and “Designing Women,” died Thursday, a spokeswoman for Innovative Artists, the agency that represented her, confirmed. She was 57.

A cause of death was not released. 

Hooks joined "SNL" in 1986 and was a part of a cast that included Dana Carvey, Nora Dunn, Phil Hartman, Victoria Jackson, Jon Lovitz, Dennis Miller, Kevin Nealon and A. Whitney Brown. She stayed through 1991.

Often paired onscreen with Hartman, she was known for her impressions of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nancy Reagan and Tammy Faye Bakker and for playing lounge singer Candy Sweeney of the Sweeney sisters.

"Jan Hooks was an enormous part of my life," actor Kevin Nealon told The Times in an email. "We shared some amazing times; our years as friends, then dating and then the incredible rush of being on 'Saturday Night Live' together."

Nealon went on to say he was astonished by the amount of talent Hooks possessed. 

"I only wish she knew how well respected and admired she was," he said. "This is such a loss."  

Hooks was in a variety of other television shows and movies, including a role in the 1992 blockbuster “Batman Returns.” She also had roles on “Third Rock From the Sun,” “The Simpsons” and “30 Rock.”

Born April 23, 1957, in Decatur, Ga., Hooks studied for a time at the University of West Florida in Pensacola before leaving to begin her acting career.

“I was an Indian princess in an outdoor drama in Livingston, Texas,” she told the Associated Press in 1991. “I got $115 a week. I couldn't believe it.”

After that summer, she worked in dinner theaters and comedy shows -- on stage and, later, on television -- before getting her big break with a role in “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” (1985).

“SNL” soon came calling.

Unlike several other female veterans of the show, she thrived in the male-dominated environment.

“If you're talented, if you're good, you'll get work,” she told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1994. “It's a waste of energy to complain you're not getting this or that because you're a woman. On 'SNL,' I found that the more you complained, the more you pigeon-holed yourself.”

Celebrities were among those who took to Twitter to express their reactions to her passing.

"RIP Jan Hooks. Loved your work on @nbcsnl especially when you did #sineadoconnor. Condolences to friends/family/loved ones," said actor Orlando Jones. 

"DANG BYE JAN HOOKS," said actress Chelsea Peretti. "Clang clang clang went the trolley." 

"Incredibly sad about Jan Hooks. She was truly one of my favorite SNL cast members. So funny. A sad day for comedy. #RIPJanHooks," said director Paul Feig. 

Hooks' name was trending online worldwide after news of her death broke.

Follow @theryanparker and @raablauren on Twitter for breaking news.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

7:29 p.m.: This story has been updated with a quote from Kevin Nealon. 

4:52: p.m.: This story has been updated with a quote from director Paul Feig.

4:08 p.m.: This story was updated with details about the early part of Jan Hooks' career.

4:03 p.m.: This story was updated with a quote from actress Chelsea Peretti.

3:48 p.m.: This story was updated with more information about Jan Hooks' name trending on social media and about her time on "Saturday Night Live."

3:31 p.m.: This story was updated to include some of the cast members on "Saturday Night Live" during Jan Hooks' tenure. 

The first version of this story was published at 3:24 p.m.

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