In tragic news, Variety has reported that the creator of ABC’s Ugly Betty, Silvio Horta, has died by apparent suicide. The publication reported that he passed away as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and that he was found in a Miami motel room on Tuesday. He was 45.
Variety reported that Horta got his big break in 2000 with his screenplay for Urban Legend. He later went on to work on Jake 2.0 and The Chronicle. Most recently, he wrote and produced the 2015 TV movie The Curse of the Fuentes Women.
His biggest break came with Ugly Betty, which ran on ABC from 2006 to 2010. The series was adapted from the Columbian series Yo soy Betty, la fea. He was the showrunner and head writer for the show, and he had even earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series for his work on the ABC series.
The Ugly Betty cast and crew most recently reunited for the ATX Television Festival back in July of 2016, per The Hollywood Reporter. At the time, Horta and many of the series’ stars, such as America Ferrera, Eric Mabius and Michael Urie discussed how the series came to be. According to Horta, he envisioned Betty (Ferrera) as an FBI agent working undercover at Mode magazine instead of the writer that she ultimately ended up being.
“I’m met with just crickets,” he recalled of his original pitch for the series. “They said, ‘Look, we think what was done originally worked and stay with that. Don’t shy away.”
He also revealed that ABC originally wanted the name to be “Betty the Ugly,” but that he pushed them to keep it as Ugly Betty. The showrunner continued to discuss the decision to remove the word “ugly” from the title sequence in the show’s finale.
“The reality is: look beyond the title, the name,” Horta said. “The word fades because it never really should have been there if we’re talking about who she is.”
At the time, Horta said that he wasn’t opposed to rebooting the series, but that everyone would need to be involved. And it just serves as a sobering reminder that he has since passed.
“If we were to do something, it would be a dream, but everybody on the stage would have to be involved, including Becki Newton,” Horta said, noting that Newton was not present for the reunion because of a previous commitment. “There’s a lot more stories to tell.”