RIP Louie Anderson (1953-2022)

Stand-up comedian and actor Louie Anderson died Jan. 21, 2022, after being hospitalized in Las Vegas for DLBCL Diffuse large B cell lymphoma. Anderson was 68.

Born March 24, 1953, as Louie Perry Anderson, the second-youngest of 11 children grew up in St. Paul., Minn. He began his comedy career in Minnesota in the late 1970s, before moving to Hollywood to make it big. Anderson became one of the fixtures at The Comedy Store in the 1980s, and from there made his first big break on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1984.

A gig on HBO’s 9th Annual Young Comedians Special, hosted in 1985 by Rodney Dangerfield, quickly followed. Anderson closed out a bill that included Rita Rudner, Yakov Smirnoff, Sam Kinison and Bob Saget. He had a small but quite memorable role in 1988’s Coming to America as a fast-food worker alongside Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall. Anderson was also part of two versions of Hollywood Squares, hosted Family Feud for three years, starred in the 1990s in both a short-lived sitcom for CBS (The Louie Show) as well as an Emmy-winning animated series for FOX (Life with Louie).

Anderson put out stand-up specials for HBO, Showtime and other platforms over the years, and for a decade starting in the early 2000s, headlined a residency in Vegas at various casinos and resorts.

After making a new splash with America courtesy of a reality competition called Splash, Anderson came back in a big way thanks to playing Christine Baskets in FX’s Baskets, for which he won an Emmy Award. Before his health declined, Anderson also got to chew up scenery as a defense lawyer in season three of Search Party for HBO Max, and reprised his fast-food role for the Amazon sequel, Coming 2 America.

I spoke with Louie Anderson in April 2018 when he released his memoir. You can listen to that episode of Last Things First. I’ve also gone ahead and edited the transcript.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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