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Matt Villines: SNL director dies at 39

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Chris Pizzello/AP

Saturday Night Live director Matt Villines died on Sunday at the age of 39, EW has confirmed.

Working with Osmany Rodriguez as part of the SNL directing duo Matt and Oz, Villines was responsible for helming some of the most memorable digital shorts, including “(Do It In My) Twin Bed,” “Sad Mouse,” and “A Thanksgiving Miracle.

On Monday, SNL co-head writer Bryan Tucker revealed in a Facebook post that Villines passed away “after a long battle with cancer.” Tucker wrote in part, “Matt was not only an excellent director. He was a warm, kind guy who got an enormous amount done without ever raising his voice.” 

In addition to their work on SNL, Villines and Rodriguez have also directed an episode of Fox’s The Last Man on Earth and several Funny or Die shorts, including “The Wire: The Musical,” and “The New Guy on New Girl with Zooey Deschanel.” The duo also stepped behind the camera for the feature film Brother in Laws, which stars Gillian Jacobs, Taran Killam, and Bill Pullman.

In the wake of his death, SNL released the following statement: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Matt Villines. His talent, grace, and unerring comedic intelligence will be irreplaceable. Everything he touched, he made better; everyone he worked with, he made happier. We will miss you, Matt.”

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Several SNL cast members and crew — including Bobby Moynihan, Aidy Bryant, and Mike O’Brien — have shared touching tributes on social media. “He was one of my favorite people. He taught me a ton about filmmaking and even more about being kind even when you’re stressed or frustrated or sick,” wrote SNL writer Mike O’Brien, who worked with Villines on “Sad Mouse” and “The Jay Z Story,” in an Instagram post. O’Brien also promised to share more photos of Villines in the coming days. 

 

Watch some of Matt and Oz’s sketches below: