Louie Anderson, Famous Actor and Comics Genial, Dies at 68

Louie Anderson, popular comedian, actor, and television presenter who won an Emmy Award for her work on the series “BasketsAnd two Daytime Emmys for his children’s animated show, “Life With Louie,” passed away Friday in Las Vegas. He is 68 years old.

His death, in a hospital, was confirmed by his longtime publicist, Glenn Schwartz, who said it was caused by complications from diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. .

In an entertainment career that spanned more than four decades, Mr. Anderson had a self-deprecating style that earned him numerous fans, among them Henny Youngman and Johnny Carson, who soon catapulted him to stardom. .

In 1981, Mr. Anderson was among the top finishers in a comedy competition run by Mr. Youngman organization, who later hired him as a writer.

Mr. Anderson made his first national television appearance on “The Tonight Show” with Mr. Carson in 1984, and as the comedians say, he killed people. His habit was heavy on jokes about his weight (up to 300 pounds at one point), and he made the audience roar from his opening deadpan line: “I can’t stay long. I’m in between meals. ”

Mr. Carson then brought him out to provide him with a second bow, a rarity for comics and especially one of his firsts. As Mr. Anderson recounted, Mr. Carson later gave him another compliment.

“On the way to my dressing room, he popped in and said, ‘Great shot, Louie,’ he told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2002.” Because the comic called it a ‘shot’ on ‘The Tonight Show.’ And that was huge for me.”

Anderson went from making $500 a week for his stand-up job to double that money overnight, he said. And film and television work began to come to him, including small roles in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986) and “Coming to America” ​​(1988). In 1987, Showtime aired a comedy special that attracted him to perform at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

Program evaluation for The New York Times, John J. O’Connor wrote, “In an age when comedians rely on desperate measures to establish performant identity – think Howie Mandel enamored with the screams of babies or Sam Kinison feigning a nervous breakdown – Mr. Anderson has developed a lighthearted act that can fit comfortably into the family entertainment genre.”

He added, “At a time when indie comedy is trading so much insult, hysteria, and sexual obsession, Mr. Anderson seems to have come up with something really different – ​​humour. classic, warm.”

That will be the bread and butter for his entire career, although he has gone in an interesting direction. “Life With Louie,” which ran from 1994 to 1998 and won Daytime Emmys in 1997 and 1998 as outstanding performer in an animated show, is a savvy children’s show as well. supervised by an adult; Its title character, a child, solves a series of problems at home and on the playground.

On “Baskets,” a popular manga TV series that ran from 2016 to 2019 and starred Zach Galifianakis, Mr. Anderson, as drag, plays the mother of twin brothers played by Mr. Galifianakis. shoulder. Mr. Anderson has been nominated for an Emmy for a supporting actor award for the role three times, winning in 2016.

In a 1996 interview with The Orlando Sentinel, he reflected on his attractiveness.

“People feel comfortable with me on stage,” he said. “There is nothing obnoxious about my comedy. I look at it from a humanist point of view. I was just like, ‘Hey, we’re all together,’ and so they felt comfortable inviting me into their living room. “

Louis Perry Anderson was born on March 24, 1953 in St. Paul, Minn. His mother, Zella, is a homemaker and his father, Louis, is a jazz musician.

He graduated from high school in St.

“I was hanging out with some guys from work one night and we saw some comedians,” he recounted in a 1987 interview with The Post-Standard of Syracuse, NY. “I remarked that none of them were very funny, and people started telling me to get up there myself if I thought I could do better.

“The kind of joke that escalated over time,” he continued, “and finally one night I got up on stage. Once I did, I discovered that I liked it a lot. I have been doing that ever since.”

He started working for comedy clubs in Minnesota, then branched out into Chicago and other mid-American cities. At the 1981 Midwestern Comedy Competition in St. Louis, he did well enough to impress the host, Mr. Youngman, who hired him as a screenwriter and boosted his confidence.

“He helped me learn to write really good documentaries, and he encouraged me to keep doing comedies,” Anderson said of Mr. Youngman. “At that point, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next.”

Carson’s appearance in 1984 made him a celebrity, and he worked regularly in Las Vegas and other top comedy cities, touring for a time with Roseanne Barr. A 1996 comedy, “The Louie Show,” where he plays a psychotherapist. Lasting only six episodes despite a supporting cast that included Bryan Cranston, Mr. Anderson frequently guest-starred on other series and was a fixture on late-night talk shows. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he was the host of the game show “Family Feud”.

He is also an author. His stand-up comedy mainly focuses on his family in comedic ways, but his books have a more serious element. “Dear Dad: Letters from an Adult Child” (1989) is a series of letters to his father, which address his father’s problem of alcoholism.

“I can remember coming home from school and knowing when I walked in the door whether you were drunk or not – not even seeing anyone,” he wrote. “That’s how I think I’ve become sensitive.”

As his career progressed, Mr. Anderson turned to jokes about his weight, and the book “Goodbye Jumbo… Hello Cruel World”, published in 1993, is a candid look at his food addiction. “The F Word: How to Survive Your Family” (2002) and “Hey Mom: Stories For My Mom, But You Can Read Them” (2018) also have serious intentions.

Mr. Anderson is one of 11 children. Mr. Schwartz said survivors included his sister Lisa and Shanna Anderson.

Mr. Anderson said he based parts of the character “Basket” on his mother. In “Hey Mom,” he talked to her directly.

“I guess I have to believe in the afterlife if I write to you and I talk to you and my face is always up to the sky,” he wrote. “If To be an afterlife, I hope there’s a big comfy chair, because I know you like that, and a good cup of coffee for your coffee, and a TV replaying old ones. “

Neil Vigdor contributed reporting.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/21/arts/television/louie-anderson-dead.html Louie Anderson, Famous Actor and Comics Genial, Dies at 68

Fry Electronics Team

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