Silvio Horta, maker of ABC’s popular series “Ugly Betty“, was found dead Tuesday in a motel room in Miami in an apparent suicide. He was 45.
Sources tell Variety that Horta died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A representative of Horta confirmed his death, but refused to comment on its nature.
The American version of “Ugly Betty”, starring America Ferrera, ran for four seasons on ABC from 2006 to 2010 and was adapted to the Colombian telenovela “Yo soy Betty, la fea”. Horta served as show runner and lead author on the comedy drama.
Ferrera posted on Instagram about his death and said: “His talent and creativity brought me and many others so much joy and light”.
The show focused on Betty Suarez, a young, smart Mexican American woman from Queens who lands a job at a chic fashion magazine in Manhattan. The show won two Golden Globes during the run, one for the best comedy series and one for Ferrera. The original series was created by Fernando Gaitan in 1999 and ran until 2001.
Horta, who was born in Miami to Cuban parents and studied film at NYU, had a project with Mary J. Blige under development at Fox in 2018. The future series, titled “Move”, was inspired by the life of the famous choreographer and creative director Laurieann Gibson, who created routines for people like Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys and Lady Gaga.
His big breakthrough came in 1998 when he wrote the screenplay for horror thriller “Urban Legend”. The script was turned into a successful feature starring Jared Leto and “Dune” star Alicia Witt.
Horta’s moved to TV in the early 2000s with the Sci Fi series “The Chronicle”, which ran for a single season and starred Octavia Spencer, among others. In 2003, Horta continued his science fiction run with the UPN series “Jake 2.0. The series, which lasted just one season, revolved around a computer expert (Christopher Graham) who, while working for the NSA, was accidentally infected by nanobots, giving him superhuman powers.
Horta’s most recent achievement was writing the 2015 TV film “The Curse of the Fuentes Women”.