SNL music producer Hal Willner dies aged 64 ‘after suffering coronavirus symptoms’

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LEGENDARY Saturday Night Live music producer Hal Willner died Tuesday at the age of 64 after displaying symptoms consistent with the coronavirus.

Willner selected music for SNL since 1980 and also produced albums for Lucinda Williams, Lou Reed and Marianne Faithfull, who is being treated for COVID-19.


He had not been diagnosed with the coronavirus, but said on March 28 that he was bed-ridden on the Upper West Side in Manhattan.

“I always wanted to have a number one – but not this,” he tweeted, along with an illustrated map of the US.

The map appeared to highlight New York, which has been hit hard during the pandemic.

Willner is also known for curating a number of tribute albums, starting with “Amarcord Nino Rota” in 1981.

He recruited a variety of artists for tributes, including Sting, Keith Richards and Ringo Starr.

John Mulaney, a stand-up comedian who worked as a writer on SNL, posted a moving tribute to Willner.

“Hal,” Mulaney wrote in a series of tweets.
“I love you. I liked you in my life so much.

“When I got horrible reviews you sent me a full email of Lou Reed quotes on how to view critics.

“It meant so much to me. You changed my way of thinking on how to make stuff. You made what you wanted w/ the people you loved.

“Bye Hal.”

Mulaney added: “P.S. You loved life completely and lived it intensely and I know you would find it funny that it took a global pandemic to take you away.

I am going to miss you a lot.”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus wrote that she was “absolutely devastated to get this news about my weird and lovely pal, Hal.”

Wrote Adam Sandler: “RIP HAL WILLNER. An incredible person who so many of us will miss. Love u pal.”

Willner’s final tweet on March 29 wished ailing country singer John Prine well.

Prine, who had contracted the coronavirus, also died Tuesday.