Sad news today. Comedian Louie Anderson – one of the big breakout comics of the 80s comedy boom – has passed away at the age of 68. On January 18th, we first learned that Anderson had been admitted to the hospital with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. He lost his battle to the disease early this morning.
The Minnesota native was one of the many comics who broke out during the comedy boom of the 1980’s. After his first stint on The Tonight Show in 1984, he became a staple of the comedy circuit, known for his observational comedy delivered in his trademark nasally voice. In Hollywood, after being replaced by Mark Linn-Baker after filming the pilot for Perfect Strangers, his next big break came with his scene-stealing role in Coming To America.
Anderson eventually had some success in the world of television. From 1994 until 1998, Anderson had his own animated series, Life With Louie. This was followed in 1996 by an attempt at a live action sitcom with The Louie Show, that only lasted 6 episodes. In 1999, Anderson kicked off a revival of Family Feud, where he served as the host until 2002 when he was replaced by Richard Karn.
And then in 2016, he took on the role of Christine Baskets, mom to Zach Galifianakis’ character on Baskets. This was a part that he based off of his own mother. It was definitely a successful comeback of sorts, as it earned him an Emmy Award in 2016, and is largely regarded as one of the best parts he got to play.
Anderson’s other appearances in TV and film included Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Grace Under Fire, Chicago Hope, Ally McBeal, Nash Bridges, Scrubs, Sandy Wexler, Michael Bolton’s Big Sexy Valentine’s Day Special, Young Sheldon, Coming 2 America, No Activity, Twenties, and Search Party. He appeared as himself on The Jim Henson Hour, The New Hollywood Squares, The Arsenio Hall Show, The Dennis Miller Show, Late Night with David Letterman, MADTV, Comic Relief, @Midnight, Penn & Teller Fool Us, Conan, and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
His stand-up specials include Mom! Louie’s Looking At Me Again, Louie in St. Louie, Big Baby Boomer, and Big Underwear. He also was an author that published four books including the 2018 memoir Hey Mom: Stories for My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too. His other books include The F Word: How to Survive Your Family, Dear Dad: Letters from an Adult Child, and Goodbye Jumbo… Hello Cruel World.
Anderson left a pretty big mark on film, television, and most importantly stand-up. He will definitely be missed.