Louie Anderson, whose career spanning more than four decades as a comedian and actor included his unlikely, Emmy-winning performance as the mother of twin adult sons on the television series Baskets, died on Friday. He was 68 years old.
Anderson died in a Las Vegas hospital of cancer, said Glenn Schwartz, his longtime publicist. Anderson had a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Schwartz previously said.
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A portly, round-faced Anderson used his girth and a turbulent childhood in Saint Paul, Minnesota as fodder for his early stand-up routines.
Later, his life as one of 11 children in a family led by a troubled father and devoted mother became a source of thought and inspiration for Anderson, both in his work on screen and in his bestselling books.
Anderson won a 2016 Emmy for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Christine Baskets, mother of twins played by Zach Galifianakis. Anderson received three consecutive Emmy Award nominations for her performance.
He was a familiar face elsewhere on television, including as the host of a revival of the game show family quarrel from 1999 to 2002, and in comedy specials and frequent appearances on late-night talk shows.
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Anderson voiced an animated version of himself as a child in Life with Louie. He created the cartoon series, which first aired in prime time in late 1994 before switching to Saturday mornings for its run from 1995 to 1998. Anderson won two Daytime Emmy Awards for the role.
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He has made appearances in several television series, including Scrubs and Touched by an angeland was on the big screen in 1988 Coming to America and in recent years, the Eddie Murphy comedy sequel.
Anderson also toured regularly with his stand-up act and as a stand-up comedian.
Anderson’s early jobs included advising troubled children. He changed course after winning a comedy contest in the Midwest in 1981, where he was scouted by veteran comedian Henny Youngman, who was hosting the contest, according to Schwartz.
Anderson worked as a writer for Youngman, then gained stage experience traveling across the United States. His big breakthrough came in 1984 when Johnny Carson, known for featuring up-and-coming comedians on The show tonightbrought him to play.
His books included Dear Dad Letters from an Adult Childa collection of Anderson’s letters to his late father; Goodbye Jumbo Hello Cruel Worlda self-help book and The F-word, how to survive your family.
His book, Hi Momreleased in 2018, was a tribute to the wisdom passed down from his mother and practical advice for dealing with life’s challenges.
© 2022 The Canadian Press
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