We’re not that far into 2022 and are already screaming to either fast forward to 2023 or go back to 2021 (which was a landfill of sadness in itself). And in even more sad news, comedy legend Louie Anderson died this morning. You can temporarily stop screaming at 2022 to scream at the horrible demon cancer. Because Louie died after being hospitalized with blood cancer. He was 68.
Louie Anderson’s publicist Glenn Schwartz confirmed the sad news to Deadline, saying that he was hospitalized in Las Vegas earlier this week for treatment of diffuse large B cell lymphoma. Yesterday, Pauly Shore said that he had gone to see Louie in the hospital and said his goodbyes to his friend.
Louie Anderson was born Louie Perry Anderson in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and was the second youngest of 11 children. Louie’s childhood was rough because his father was an abusive alcoholic. But Louie later made peace with and forgave his father after learning that his father also had a tough, tough childhood. Louie found the funny in the dark. And his Emmy-winning performance of Christine Baskets on Baskets was inspired by his own mother and he praised her when he won a Critics Choice Award in 2016. via People:
To my mom, who raised 11 children, and my dad was mean to her,” he said at the Critics Choice Awards that year, where he won best supporting actor in a comedy series for his role on hit FX show starring Zach Galifianakis.
“No matter how tough it got for Laura Stella Anderson, she never lost her humanity,” he continued. “She had so much of it that it dribbled onto me — I didn’t want it, but I found it, and this part has helped me find it.”
Louie wrote about his childhood and life in several books: The F Word: How To Survive Your Family, Dear Dad: Letters From An Adult Child, Goodbye Jumbo… Hello Cruel World, and Hey Mom: Stories For My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too.
Earlier in life, Louie worked as a counselor to troubled children before he got his start in comedy by winning first place at the 1981 Midwest Comedy Competition. Master comedian Henny Youngman was the host of the competition and hired Louie to write for him. Three years later, Louie made his network TV debut while doing stand-up in front of Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. Louie went on to make more appearances on The Tonight Show and other late-night shows.
Since I’m a child of the 80s and 90s, Louie was a big presence in my TV-and-movie-watching life. One thing I learned while writing this post is that Louie was originally cast as Lou Appleton opposite Bronson Pinchot’s Balki in the pilot episode of Perfect Strangers. When the show was picked up in 1986, Louie was replaced by Mark Linn-Baker (and the character’s name was changed to Larry). But even though he lost out on that gig, he did pretty well for himself.
Louie had a small role in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off before he was cast as Maurice in Coming To America. Eddie Murphy has said that when the studio told them that they had to put a white person in Coming To America, he asked himself, who is the funniest white guy around? The answer: Louie Anderson! Yes, whenever I wash the lettuce, I still say, “Soon, I’ll be on fries!”
Louie played Maurice again in last year’s Coming To America sequel.
Many 90s kids can probably count on Louie being their babysitter for a minute because he turned his childhood into a Saturday morning cartoon. Life with Louie ran for three seasons from 1995 to 1998, and it featured Edie McClurg as the voice of his mother. Louie got two Daytime Emmys from Life with Louie and the show won the Humanitas Prize three times.
Louie was also a regular on the game show circuit. He made several appearances on The New Hollywood Squares and Hollywood Squares, and also was a contestant or panelist on To Tell The Truth, Funny You Should Ask, Splash, and Weakest Link. And from 1999 to 2002, he was in houses every day as the host of Family Feud.
Throughout his career, Louie and his glorious gap-tooth were also in The Wrong Guys, Bébé’s Kids, Remington Steele, Mr. Wrong, The Louie Show, The Jim Henson Hour, Chicago Hope, Grace Under Fire, Ally McBeal, Scrubs, Young Sheldon, and Search Party as Bob Lunch. And as I mentioned above, Louie perfectly played Queen of Many Crowns (Rodeo Queen, Carpet Queen, and Costco Queen) Christine Baskets on FX’s Baskets:
I will never not laugh at this scene of Louie Anderson on Baksets!!!! I’ve had it saved on my phone since I first saw it…….. long live Louie!!!!!❤️🧺 #LouieAnderson https://t.co/bcuydG0iZ7 pic.twitter.com/CYX3xwaDry
— Adrian McMillan (@yoadrianmcmill) January 21, 2022
Rest in peace, Louie Anderson.