Silvio Horta, the creator and head writer of the Golden Globe-winning series Ugly Betty, has died. Variety reports that the 45-year-old was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a Miami motel.
Horta’s first break in Hollywood came as the writer of the 1998 slasher film Urban Legend, starring Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, and Tara Reid. He also penned the movie’s 2000 sequel, Urban Legends: Final Cut. As the millenium changed, Horta turned his attention to television, writing and executive-producing the short-lived Sci-Fi series The Chronicle. In 2003, he created and wrote for Jake 2.0 on UPN, though the show was canceled after one season.
It was ABC’s Ugly Betty that would become Horta’s biggest landmark achievement. An adaptation of the Colombian telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea, the series debuted in 2006 to instant acclaim. In its first season, it won Horta a Golden Globe for Best Comedy Series, while star America Ferrera took home the Best Leading Actress in a Comedy Series award. Despite early success, falling ratings led to the show’s cancelation after four seasons.
Upon learning of Horta’s passing, Ferrera paid tribute to the man who helped launch her career. “His talent and creativity brought me and so many others such joy & light,” she wrote on Instagram. “I’m thinking of his family and loved ones who must be in so much pain right now- and of the whole Ugly Betty family who feel this loss so deeply.”
Vanessa Williams, who played series antagonist Wilhelmina Slater, also remembered Horta on social media. “Still in shock after hearing the tragic news of our #uglybetty creator #silviohorta 💔,” she wrote on Instagram. “His creativity and passion will be missed by so many of us that worked with him. May he Rest In Peace.”
Find both actresses’ posts below.