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The world of television is now short another talent, as Silvio Horta, creator of ABC's popular dramedy Ugly Betty, has died at the age of 45. Horta was found dead in a motel room in Miami, Florida today, from an apparent suicide.
A representative for Silvio Horta did confirm his death, declining to comment on the circumstances, but other sources have told Variety that it appears he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Silvio Horta acted as showrunner and head writer for Ugly Betty during its four season run on ABC. The series, which ran from from 2006 to 2010, was adapted from a popular Colombian telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea, and focused on a fashion challenged young woman (played by America Ferrera) who gets a job at a high end fashion magazine, and has to try to grow her career while dealing with snobby co-workers, bosses and a completely different way of life.
Fans were immediately taken by the show, and America Ferrera's portrayal of a sweet, awkward, hard-working and slightly naive character who has to learn how to deal with very different types of people and circumstances to make her dreams come true. Ugly Betty was also a critical hit, with Ferrera winning a Golden Globe and a SAG Award for leading comedy series actress, while the show itself won a Golden Globe for Best Comedy Series in 2007.
The hit also won a Peabody Award and was nominated for an impressive 18 Emmys during its run, winning in 2007 for Best Casting in a Comedy Series, Best Direction in a Comedy Series, and Best Actress in a Comedy Series for Ferrera.
While Silvio Horta will always be best known for his contribution to TV with Ugly Betty, the writer / producer had been kicking around Hollywood for quite a while before getting the comedy off the ground. Horta, who was born in Miami and majored in film at NYU, got his big break in the business in 1998 when his screenplay for the horror / thriller Urban Legend was turned into a successful movie.
In 2001, Horta moved into television with the sci-fi comedy The Chronicle (which ran on Sci-Fi) and UPN's Jake 2.0, which focused on an NSA computer technician who's infected with nanotechnology, develops superpowers and becomes a secret agent. More recently, 2018 saw Horta working with Oscar nominee Mary J. Blige on the series Move, which went into development at Fox in 2018. The show was inspired by the life of choreographer and creative director Laurieann Gibson, who created memorable dance routines for hit-making singers like Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Alicia Keys and Michael Jackson.
Silvio Horta's most recent credit was for writing / executive producing NBC's 2015 drama pilot The Curse of the Fuentes Women, which starred Sonia Braga, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Rachel Ticotin and Christina Vidal, among others.
Our thoughts are with Silvio Horta's family and friends at this difficult time.