Hal Willner, longtime 'Saturday Night Live' staple, has died

Lawrence Kim
April 10, 2020

And in addition to maintaining this role for almost two decades, he produced records for artists including Marianne Faithfull (who has also been hospitalized with coronavirus symptoms, but is in stable condition), Lucinda Williams, and the legendary Lou Reed. A representative for Willner confirmed the producer's passing to Rolling Stone. Willner appeared to suggest he had contracted the illness on Twitter late last month, sharing a COVID-19 outbreak map of the United States on March 28 with the message, "I always wanted to have a number one - but not this.In bed on upper west side".

Born in Philadelphia in 1956, Willner moved to NY in 1974 to work under record producer Joel Dorn.

Willner had worked on "Saturday Night Live" as a music sketch music producer since 1981. By 1980 he had produced his first tribute album, recruiting musicians such as Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, and Wynton Marsalis for Amarcord Nino Rota, a jazz album of covers from Federico Fellini's films. He produced albums for Lucinda Williams, Lou Reed and Marianne Faithfull, who is now being treated for the coronavirus in a London hospital. He would continue to work for SNL while producing a variety of all-star tribute albums, including homages to Walt Disney, Charles Mingus, and Thelonious Monk.

"Willner was also a score producer on "Gangs of New York" in 2002, "Talladega Nights" in 2006", and "Step Brothers" in 2008. The concert helped launch the career of Buckley's son, Jeff, who performed at the event.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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