Louie Anderson, the great comedian, game show host, and three-time Emmy winner, died at the age of 68.
The Baskets star died Friday morning in Las Vegas, where he had entered a hospital earlier this week for treatment of diffuse large B cell lymphoma, a type of cancer, according to his longtime publicist Glenn Schwartz.
Anderson, who has been a constant presence on stage and screen since the mid-1980s, won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2016 for his role as Christine Baskets, the mother of the FX series’ Chip and Dale, played by Zach Galifianakis. The actor was nominated in the category three years in a row, beginning in 2016 with his performance in Baskets. Anderson also won two Daytime Emmys in 1997 and 1998 for Outstanding Performer In An Animated Program for Fox’s Life with Louie.
Anderson, one of 11 children, was a counselor to troubled children before launching his comedy career with a firstplace trophy at the 1981 Midwest Comedy Competition, according to Schwartz. Henny Youngman, the competition’s host, hired him as a writer.
Making his late-night debut on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on November 20, 1984, the actor has had a half-dozen solo stand-up specials over the years, most recently 2018’s Louie Anderson: Big Underwear.
Anderson, a native of Saint Paul, Minnesota, made his big screen debut in 1988’s Coming to America, as well as its 2021 sequel. The ICM Partners-repped actor will reprise his Maurice role for two episodes of Lena Waithe’s Twenties on BET in 2020. Anderson had a brief stint on CBS’s The Louie Show as a Gopher State psychotherapist during the 1995-1996 television season.
Anderson debuted the Saturday morning animated series Life with Louie in 1995. Anderson is the only three-time recipient of the Humanitas Prize for writing on a children’s animated series for the long-running series based on his own childhood and life with his father. Anderson won two Emmys for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program and the series was nominated for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program.
Anderson, who hosted Family Feud from 1999 to 2002 and appeared on Celebrity Family Feud in 2017, has been a regular panelist on Jon Kelley’s Funny You Should Ask since the show’s inception five years ago.
Anderson appeared in sitcoms such as Grace Under Fire and dramas such as Touched by an Angel and Chicago Hope as a guest star. He played a memorable character in the classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
In 2013, he appeared on the ABC reality series Splash, where he overcame his own fears while becoming an inspiration to others. Big Baby Boomer, his stand-up special, debuted on CMT in 2013. He also appeared as a guest star on Young Sheldon, as a recurring character in the TBS dark comedy Search Party, and had recently joined the cast of the hit BET series Twenties.
Dear Dad – Letters From An Adult Child, a collection of poignant and humorous letters from Anderson to his late father, was one of his best-selling books, as was Goodbye Jumbo…
Hello Cruel World is a self-help book for people who struggle with low self-esteem. Anderson’s most recent book, Hey Mom, published in 2018, shared insights from his late mother.