Jan Hooks

Janet Vivian Hooks[1] (April 23, 1957 – October 9, 2014) was an American actress and comedienne, best known for her work on Saturday Night Live, where she was a repertory player from 1986 to 1991, and continued making cameo appearances until 1994. Her subsequent work included a regular role on the final two seasons of Designing Women, a recurring role on 3rd Rock from the Sun and a number of other roles in film and television including on Tina Fey’s NBC show 30 Rock and The Simpsons.

Jan Hooks
Jan Hooks.jpg
Hooks at the 40th Emmy Awards in 1988
Janet Vivian Hooks

(1957-04-23)April 23, 1957
DiedOctober 9, 2014(2014-10-09) (aged 57)
OccupationActress, comedienne
Years active1980–2013

Early lifeEdit

Hooks was born and raised in Decatur, Georgia, where she attended Canby Lane Elementary School and Towers High School. In 1974, she moved to Fort Myers, Florida, her junior year when her father, a Sears employee, was transferred. At this point, Hooks attended Cypress Lake High School and made her stage debut in a high school play and graduated in 1975. She attended Edison State College where she majored in Theatre, but opted to leave before completion, to pursue acting full-time.[3]


She began her career as a member of the Los Angeles-based comedy troupe The Groundlings and in an Atlanta nightclub act called The Wits End Players.[4]

From 1980 to 1981, she appeared in Tush on Ted Turner's television station WTBS, which eventually became TBS.[5] She gained attention in the early 1980s on the HBO comedy series Not Necessarily the News[6] and made guest appearances on Comedy Break with Mack and Jamie in the mid-1980s.[7]

Hooks was considered for SNL in 1985, but was passed over by the show's producers in favor of Joan Cusack. After the show's 1985–1986 season was deemed a ratings disaster and put on the chopping block for cancellation, returning producer Lorne Michaels offered Hooks a contract in 1986, along with new recruits Dana Carvey and Phil Hartman, among others. They helped put the show back in the national spotlight. Her characters included Candy Sweeney of "The Sweeney Sisters". She performed notable impressions of Bette Davis, Ann-Margret, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Sinéad O'Connor, Drew Barrymore, Tammy Faye Bakker, Kathie Lee Gifford, Kitty Dukakis, Diane Sawyer and Hillary Clinton.

Tiring of the stress of performing on a live show, Hooks left SNL in 1991 after being asked by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason to replace Jean Smart on the CBS sitcom Designing Women. Hooks played the role of Carlene Dobber for the final two seasons of the show. She continued to make occasional appearances on SNL through 1994, usually playing Hillary Clinton.

According to a 2014 Grantland article about her career and death, Hooks' combination of anxiety about acting and generally relaxed approach to seeking out work led to her often turning down both prestigious auditions and lucrative acting roles. Tina Fey commented after her death that she was angry that Hooks didn't have a more successful career (Fey compared Hooks to Rob Schneider in noting Hooks was a bigger star than he on SNL and should have at least had his level of success) but another friend stated that Hooks didn't have doors slammed in her face and often made no effort to seek out work.[8] She appeared in several movies, starred as Dixie Glick in the series Primetime Glick, and the movie Jiminy Glick in Lalawood. She had a recurring role as the trashy Vicki Dubcek on 3rd Rock from the Sun, which earned Hooks an Emmy Award nomination. Hooks guest-starred on two Matt Groening-produced cartoons for the FOX Network: six episodes of The Simpsons between 1997 and 2002, as Apu's wife Manjula (although Tress MacNeille sometimes substituted for her, and eventually replaced Hooks),[9] and in Futurama (in the episode "Bendless Love" as the voice of a female robot named Angleyne).[10] She appeared in Pee-wee's Big Adventure as a know-it-all tour guide at the Alamo and made a cameo appearance in the 1992 movie Batman Returns as Jen, the Penguin's image consultant during his campaign to become Mayor of Gotham City. She made two appearances on 30 Rock in 2010 playing Jenna Maroney's mother, Verna, which ultimately were the last live-action spots she ever did. She guest starred in a 2013 episode of The Cleveland Show called "Mr. and Mrs. Brown", which was her final acting job.[10]


Hooks died on October 9, 2014, at her home in Woodstock, New York, at the age of 57[1][4] from throat cancer.[8] Her remains were interred in Northview Cemetery in Cedartown, Georgia.

The Simpsons episode "Super Franchise Me" memorialized her on October 12, 2014, with her longtime character Manjula Nahasapeemapetilon honored during the credits.[11]

"Love Is a Dream"Edit

Saturday Night Live paid tribute to Hooks in the third episode of its 40th season on October 11, 2014 where guest host Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig introduced a tribute in which SNL re-aired a short she had filmed for SNL's 14th season in 1988 with Phil Hartman, titled Love Is a Dream.[12] This short film had also been repeated as a tribute, following Hartman's death in 1998. The short is described as "a sweet and melodramatic tribute to the 1948 film The Emperor Waltz", which was directed by Billy Wilder starring Bing Crosby and Joan Fontaine.[13] The scene casts Hooks as an aging woman who vanishes into her own imagination to sing and share a dance with a long-lost lover (Hartman). The singing voices appear to be dubbed by the actors in the original 1948 film, Crosby and Fontaine. Critics noted after the SNL tribute, that the "Jan Hooks tribute showed that Jan did not need to be funny in order to captivate the attention of her audience".[14]



Year Title Role Notes
1985 Pee-wee's Big Adventure Tina
1986 Wildcats Stephanie Needham
1987 Funland Shelly Willingham
1992 Batman Returns Jen
1993 Coneheads Gladys Johnson
A Dangerous Woman Makeup Girl
1998 Simon Birch Miss Leavey
2004 Jiminy Glick in Lalawood Dixie Glick


Year Title Role Notes
1980 Tush Various characters
1983 Prime Times Various characters TV special
1983 The 1/2 Hour Comedy Hour Various characters
1983–1984 Not Necessarily the News Various characters 24 episodes
1984 The Joe Piscopo Special Various characters TV special
1985 That Was The Week That Was Various characters TV special
1985 Comedy Break Various characters
1986–1994 Saturday Night Live Various characters 102 episodes
1989 Dear John Suzanne Episode: "John's Blind Date"
1991–1993 Designing Women Carlene Frazier Dobber 45 episodes
1992 Frosty Returns Lil DeCarlo Voice
TV special
1994 The Martin Short Show Meg Harper Short
1996 The Dana Carvey Show Kathie Lee Gifford Episode: "The Diet Mug Root Beer Dana Carvey Show"
1996–2000 3rd Rock from the Sun Vicki Dubcek 16 episodes
1997 Hiller and Diller Kate 2 episodes
1997–2002 The Simpsons Manjula Nahasapeemapetilon Voice
6 episodes
2001 Providence Doreen Dunfey Episode 3.10: "The Gun"
2001 Futurama Anglelyne Voice
Episode: "Bendless Love"
2001–2003 Primetime Glick Dixie Glick
2004 Game Over Nadine
2010 30 Rock Verna Maroney 2 episodes
2013 The Cleveland Show Mrs. Kellogg Voice
Episode: "Mr. and Mrs. Brown"
(final appearance)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Jan Hooks obituary, liteseyfh.com; accessed October 21, 2014.
  2. ^ Obituary for Jan Hooks, northwestgeorgianews.com; accessed October 21, 2014.
  3. ^ Buitrag, Juan (October 14, 2014). "Jan Hooks, 'SNL' & Cypress Lake alumnus dies". News-Press.com. Fort Myers, FL.
  4. ^ a b Keepnews, Peter (October 9, 2014). "Jan Hooks of 'Saturday Night Live' Fame Is Dead at 57". The New York Times. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  5. ^ "'Saturday Night Live' Vet Jan Hooks Dead at 57". NBC News. October 9, 2014. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  6. ^ Rothman, Michael (October 9, 2014). "Jan Hooks Dead at 57: Comedian Starred on 'Saturday Night Live' in the 1980s". ABC News. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  7. ^ Wright, Megh (July 5, 2011). "Saturday Night's Children: Jan Hooks (1986–1991)". Splitsider. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  8. ^ a b Thomas, Mike (October 20, 2015). "The Laughs, Pathos, and Overwhelming Talent of Jan Hooks". Grantland. ESPN. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  9. ^ "US comedian Jan Hooks dies aged 57". BBC News. October 10, 2014. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  10. ^ a b Jan Hooks on IMDb
  11. ^ Perkins, Dennis. "The Simpsons: "Super Franchise Me"". TV Club. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  12. ^ "'SNL' Remembers Jan Hooks With Emotional Tribute". The Hollywood Reporter, October 11, 2014.
  13. ^ "The 'SNL' Jan Hooks Tribute: Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig Present 'Love Is But a Dream'". ScreenCrush Network. Archived from the original on April 29, 2017. Retrieved September 13, 2019.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  14. ^ "Jan Hooks: Here Are Five Reasons Why Her SNL Tribute Was Absolutely Perfect". Retrieved September 13, 2019.

External linksEdit