Comedian Louie Anderson Has Died At 68

In deeply saddening news, actor and acclaimed comedy legend Louie Anderson has died at the age of 68. Initial reports of Anderson's hospitalization due to treatment of diffuse large B cell lymphoma, which is a particularly aggressive and the most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer, came from fellow comedian, actor, and filmmaker Pauly Shore. A longtime friend of Anderson, Shore tweeted the day before that he had been visiting his Las Vegas hospital to say his goodbyes, alongside the late comedian's family and close friends. As he put it at the time: 

"...I say this with a heavy heart just left the hospital in Las Vegas where Louie Anderson his sisters and close friend were kind enough to let me say my goodbyes he's still with us but keep him in your prayers." 

According to Deadline, Louie Anderson's subsequent passing on Friday morning has since been confirmed by the comedian's publicist, Glenn Schwartz, who released a statement saying that Anderson died "peacefully."

The beloved comedian, game show host, and Emmy-winning actor was a regular presence on stage and on television, making a name for himself in the comedy scene and ultimately leading to his stand-up debut on Johnny Carson's "The Tonight Show" in 1984. After landing a small role in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (specifically appearing in the singing telegram scene), his big break in film came four years later when he was cast in John Landis' "Coming To America." His classic role as a "McDowell's" worker alongside Eddie Murphy actually came at the behest of Paramount, a story that Murphy told himself during an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" last year while promoting the sequel, "Coming 2 America."

Anderson returned to reprise his role for the 2021 film and remained busy in recent years as well, culminating in perhaps his most meaningful performance in the FX series "Baskets." His turn as Christine Baskets led to two Emmy nominations in 2017 and 2018, as well as an Emmy win for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2016.

"One of TV Comedy's Greatest Gifts"

Born on March 24, 1953, in St. Paul, Minnesota, Louie Anderson was the second youngest of 11 children and constantly praised his mother's role in shaping his life — particularly influencing his acclaimed turn in "Baskets." His self-deprecating jokes and incredible work ethic helped Anderson earn his way to the top of the stand-up circuit, further bolstered by the handful of comedy specials he took part in (including one in which he appeared with the late Bob Saget, in 1984's "Young Comedians"). 

A decade later, Anderson created and starred in the Fox animated series "Life With Louie," based on his own childhood and leading to two Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program. From 1999 to 2002, the talented comedian even became the host of the new version of the classic game show program, "Family Feud." Various television roles over the years included "Grace Under Fire," "Chicago Hope," "Touched by an Angel," "Scrubs," "Joey," and most recently "Young Sheldon" and "Search Party."

Mourning, fond remembrances, and public celebration of his life poured in on social media on Friday, with many of his peers taking to Twitter to eulogize the late, great comedy legend. Actor Michael Abbot Jr. praised Anderson's role in "Baskets" and his overall legacy, crowning him as " of tv [comedy's] greatest gifts." Michael McKean poignantly stated, "'Baskets' was such a phenomenal 'second act' for Louie Anderson. I wish he'd gotten a third." Fellow comedian Travon Free's most lasting memory of Louie Anderson might very well be the most touching, as he revealed that Anderson "...was a very dear friend and one of the people who very early in my career believed in me and would put me and a couple of other comics he loved up in a hotel in Vegas and pay us to open for him when we needed money. What a huge loss. Rest in peace my friend."

Louie Anderson leaves behind two sisters, Lisa and Shanna Anderson, and a lasting legacy that will forever live on among stand-up comics, actors, and his many, many fans.