Louie Anderson, a longtime fixture in the stand-up comedy scene and a beloved TV personality and actor, has died at 68 after being hospitalized for cancer treatment earlier in the week. The Life with Louie star and creator’s death was confirmed by his publicist to Variety, which paid tribute to his career:
A seasoned stand-up with a career spanning over three decades, Anderson broke through as a comedian in 1984, when he performed a set on “The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.” From there, he performed a comedy special on Showtime in 1987, made regular TV appearances on late-night shows, and appeared in movies such as “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” in 1986 and “Coming to America” in 1988.
Prior to Anderson’s death, Pauly Shore, a longtime friend of the comedian, had tweeted on Thursday evening that the family had been called in to say their goodbyes:
Attention comedians and @TheComedyStore alumni’s 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
— Pauly Shore (@PaulyShore) January 20, 2022
After becoming a TV game show fixture, Anderson recently returned to acting with a critically acclaimed role in the FX series, Baskets, starring Zach Galifianakis. Anderson also made a return to his ’80s roots by appearing in the Coming to America sequel Coming 2 America. The return to his role from the original opened an opportunity for Eddie Murphy to explain how Anderson ended up being the only white guy in the first film, and it’s a testament to the love for him in the stand-up community.
“[T]he whole cast is Black — and this was back in the ‘80s — so [Paramount] was like, ‘We have to have a white person! There has to be a white person in the movie,'” Murphy told Jimmy Kimmel back in March. “So it was, ‘Who’s the funniest white guy around?’ And Louie, we knew him. We was cool with him. So that’s how Louie got in the movie.”