Silvio Horta, ‘Ugly Betty’ Creator Found Dead In Miami In Apparent Suicide

January 8, 2020 Updated: January 8, 2020
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Silvio Horta, the creator and executive producer of ABC sitcom, Ugly Betty, has died at the age of 45, Variety reports.

Horta was found dead in a Miami hotel room on Jan. 7 in an apparent suicide, according to the publication.

A representative for Horta confirmed the news of his passing but did not comment on the cause of death.

Cuban-American Horta created the United States version of Ugly Betty, which aired more than 80 episodes over four seasons from 2006 to 2010.

The hit show was based on the Colombian telenovela “Yo soy Betty, la fea,” and followed the life of a sweet-natured Mexican-American girl from Queens, Betty Suarez, who lands a job at a trendy but cutthroat New York fashion magazine.

America Ferrera, who played the loveable character of Betty, won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for her role in the series.

Eric Mabius, Tony Plana, Ana Ortiz, Becki Newton, Michael Urie, Mark Indelicato, and Vanessa Williams were regular characters on the show throughout its entire run.

Judith Light and Silvio Horta
Judith Light and Silvio Horta attend the Ugly Betty Reunion After Party in Austin, Texas on Jun. 11, 2016. (Rick Kern/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly)

Ugly Betty earned Horta an Emmy nomination in 2007 for outstanding comedy series, and in the same year, it won best television series—comedy or musical at the Golden Globes.

Horta was the son of Cuban immigrants and was born in Miami. He graduated from Coral Gables Senior High School in 1992 and majored in film at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

His other credits include the TV series Jake 2.0, which broadcast on UPN from 2003 to 2004, and The Chronicle, which aired on the Sci-Fi Channel from 2001 to 2002.

However, his most recent was for writer/executive producer of NBC’s 2015 TV movie “The Curse of the Fuentes Women.” About a mysterious stranger who washes up on the beach in Miami and changes the lives of three generations of Fuentes Women.

In a 2008 interview with NewNowNext, Horta spoke candidly of the stresses of creating a hit show and admitted the process was “exhausting.”

“My first year doing this, people would constantly ask me, ‘Aren’t you happy? You must be thrilled. You’ve got a hit show. You must be having the time of your life.’ Well, no, I’m not. It’s all-consuming,” he said.

“I was so exhausted by the time I got home on Friday night. I was just paralyzed. I didn’t want to go out. I didn’t want to socialize, and I had so much work to do. That was it. That was my life.”

Ugly Betty star America Ferrera was among some of the celebrities to pay tribute to Horta, and said she was “heartbroken” over the “devastating news.”

“His talent and creativity brought me and so many others such joy & light,” she wrote. “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,” she wrote on Instagram.

Executive producer Silvio Horta
Executive producer Silvio Horta of “Ugly Betty” speaks on the Showrunners Panel during the 2007 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour for ABC at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 14, 2007. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Vanessa Williams also reacted to Horta’s passing on Instagram, writing: “Still in shock after hearing the tragic news of our #uglybetty creator #silviohorta. His creativity and passion will be missed by so many of us that worked with him. May he Rest In Peace.”

For a suicide prevention number within the United States call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

For those living anywhere else the International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide can provide contact details for suicide help.