One of the most versatile performers from Saturday Night Live has passed away. TMZ reports that Jan Hooks died today at age 57: "Sources tell us Jan had been battling a serious illness."
Hooks was on SNL from 1986 through 1991. She did memorable impressions of Sinead O'Connor, Kathie Lee Gifford, Tammy Faye Bakker, Kitty Dukakis, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bette Davis, and was also half of the Sweeney Sisters with Nora Dunn. She also had incredible chemistry with Phil Hartman
Apparently Hooks had stage fright and Hartman would help her; in an interview with David Bianculli, she said, "Phil was my rock. He was so solid. Just absolutely serene... During the  Gulf War, 'SNL' had become this wonderful favorite place for crazy people to call in bomb threats." She had panicked and refused to go on, "Phil and I were in that show's first sketch. He was the Anal-Retentive Chef, and I played his mother. I'm telling you, I was terrified... But Phil looked at me, and he always had a way of just wordlessly calming me. He - I'm going to start crying - he put his hand out, and I grabbed on, and it felt like an oak tree. It was the most grounding, calming, serene feeling, that he helped me get through that." She also said, "Phil knew how to listen. And he knew how to look you in the eye, and he knew the power of being able to lay back and let somebody else be funny, and then do the reactions. I think Phil was more of an actor than a comedian."
In 1989, the NY Times wrote, "In 'Pee-wee's Big Adventure' and in comedy showcases, Ms. Hooks lampoons her own roots with a honey-Southern drawl. But she drops it for sendups of, say, a twinkie talk-show hostess. She'll flash her elastic smile on 'Saturday Night Live' again this year."
In her post-SNL career, she was on Designing Women for two seasons and played Martin Short's wife on Jiminy Glick. More recently, she played Verna, Jenna Maroney's mother, on 30 Rock.