Sarah Jessica Parker got a big career boost as a teenager from her starring role in the offbeat, much-praised sitcom “Square Pegs,” which had a one-and-done, brilliant-but-canceled run on CBS in the 1982-83 season.
Parker has paid tribute to “Square Pegs” creator and showrunner Anne Beatts, who died April 7 at the age of 74. Parker recalled her longtime friend and mentor as a unique personality who made an enormous impression on the future “Sex and the City” star, producer, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
“I assure you, there was no one like her. Not that I’d ever met,” Parker said in a statement to Variety.
On “Square Pegs” Parker played Patty Green, an awkward high school freshman at Weemawee High School who was desperate to break into the popular kids’ clique. She palled around with her equally ambitious best friend Lauren, played by Amy Linker, and their colorful outcast friends including the new-wave loving Jonny Slash (Merritt Butrick) and nerdy Marshall Bleckman (John Femia). Jami Gertz played Muffy, the school’s high-strung head cheerleader.
The series was hailed for its fresh look at the burgeoning youth culture of the 1980s and its sharp contrast with the Me decade that preceded “Square Pegs.” In reflecting on Beatts’ influence, Parker makes it clear that her work experience on that show had a profound impact on her life and career.
Here is Parker’s statement in full:
It’s very hard commenting on someone’s death. Trying to do right by all they did. A comment. Who they were. Uniquely so. And what they meant to so many people. To you. The impression left. You don’t know at the time.
You are only 17. And then 18. And a paper wants a comment. But she was Anne Beatts. I assure you, there was no one like her. Not that I’d ever met.
Everyone always noticed her red lips. I did too. But I heard her voice. It was like a melted silver. And she laughed. Big. And ran her hands through her one haircut while new lines emerged. Fast. She was stylish. Elegant. And she was always kind. To all of us kids.
She invited us over on the weekends. After having spent countless hours with us on a set. We swam in her pool and she entertained us. Fed us. And told us stories.
She threw a birthday party for me on the set when I turned 18. And ceremoniously burned my work permit, put the ashes in a jar, framed it and wrote “not a minor anything.”
I still have it. I see it everyday. I wanted to do everything exactly as she imagined. Cause I loved Patty Green. And I loved Anne Beatts.