Louie Anderson, an Emmy winner whose career spanned from stand-up comedy and game show host to lead roles in television and film, died Friday in Las Vegas of complications related to cancer, a confirmed his publicist Glenn Schwartz to CNN.
On Thursday, her friend, comedian Pauly Shore, tweeted that he had said goodbye to Anderson and asked for prayers for the ailing star.
Born one of 11 children in St. Paul, Minnesota, Anderson was a counselor for troubled children when he won the first place trophy at the 1981 Midwest Comedy Competition.
The contest host, legendary comedian Henny Youngman, was so impressed that he hired the young comedian as a writer.
Anderson was soon basking in his own spotlight on comedy stages nationwide.
Johnny Carson invited Anderson to make his national television debut on “The Tonight Show” in 1984 and Anderson’s career took off.
Appearances with Jay Leno, David Letterman, “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson”, “Comic Relief”, as well as Showtime and HBO specials further cemented him as one of Hollywood’s top comedians.
But he was hosting the beloved game show “Family Feud” in 1999 that made Anderson a household name and opened theater doors to him.
Anderson has starred in several television series, including “Grace Under Fire”, “Touched by an Angel”, and “Chicago Hope”, and he has appeared in films such as “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Coming to America” and his sequel “Coming 2 America”, opposite Eddie Murphy.
He voiced a fictional version of himself at age 8 in the popular 1990s animated series “Life With Louie,” which ran for three years.
Most recently, Anderson appeared on “Young Sheldon,” had a recurring role on the dark comedy “Search Party,” and joined the cast of the hit BET series, “Twenties.”
Critics noticed that in 2016, Anderson was chosen to co-star with Zach Galifianakis and Martha Kelly in the hit comedy series “Baskets.”
Anderson starred as “Christine”, the matriarch of the Baskets clan, and based the character on his mother and five sisters, who he said were a major presence in his life.
The role earned him an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, as well as a Critics’ Choice Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
Anderson was also a bestselling author.
His books included “Dear Dad – Letters from a Grown Child”, “Goodbye Jumbo…Hello Cruel World”, and “The F Word, How To Survive Your Family”.
Her most recent book, “Hey Mom” was published in 2018 and “combined wry wit and poignant humor while sharing her journey to turn life’s challenges into joy as well as much of the wisdom he acquired from his late mother”.
Anderson is survived by his two sisters, Lisa and Shanna Anderson.
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