Louie Anderson, a comedian beloved by LGBTQ+ audiences as well as others, has died of cancer at age 68.
Anderson died Friday in a Las Vegas hospital, his publicist Glenn Schwartz said. The Hollywood Reporter. He was receiving treatment for a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Anderson was known for his stand-up comedy and for his acting roles which included his Emmy-winning performance as Christine Baskets, the mother of the FX series Baskets. She was a melancholic but optimistic single mother, like the Journalist the dish. The comic series ran from 2016 to 2019, and Anderson said the portrayal was based on his own mother.
The comedian has spoken little publicly about his private life. He married his high school sweetheart in 1985, but the marriage ended after four weeks. He was the subject of gay rumors, but he never said he was gay.
In the 1990s he was blackmail by a man named Richard Gordon, who said Anderson offered him sex in a Vegas casino in 1993. Anderson originally paid Gordon $100,000, but Gordon returned with a demand for $250,000 Moreover. Anderson went to the police, who arrested Gordon in 2000 during an undercover operation. Gordon was found guilty and imprisoned.
Fellow comedian Tom Rhodes once accused Anderson of groping him at a comedy club in the 1980s, and Rhodes made the accusation part of his stand-up act. Anderson addressed the issue in a 2018 interview with the Tampa Bay weather.
I really regret that Tom felt hurt and uncomfortable,” Anderson said. I had no idea. I was a big flirt at the time, so it’s a possibility that this happened, and I regret it. I regret that he is put in this position. And I’m really sorry for that.
Rhodes spoke to the Time as well and said he took the story out of his act. He said he would not put Anderson in the same category as sexual predators exposed by the #MeToo movement and asked that his story not be circulated again, according to the Time. He expressed his sympathy and admiration for Anderson.
Anderson was more open about his family of origin. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1953, he grew up in a housing estate with 10 siblings. Her father was a violent alcoholic, while her mother was a loving wife who supported the family. Anderson wrote several memoirs of the family experience and often praised his mother while acknowledging her imperfections.
When he won his 2016 Emmy for playing Christine Baskets, he said, I haven’t always been a very good man, but I play a hell of a woman. This is for my mother, Ora Zella Anderson, from whom I stole all the shades, shameful look, cruel look, loving look [and] passive-aggressive line of. She had died in 1990, but Anderson told the Angels Time of her performance, I’m pretty sure my mother orchestrated it from the afterlife.
After graduating from high school, Anderson worked for several years as a youth counselor, but he began performing at comedy clubs in Minnesota, cracking self-deprecating jokes about his family and his weight. He won the Midwest Comedy Competition in 1981, and that year’s host, veteran comic Henny Youngman, became his mentor.
He rose to national fame after appearing on The show tonight in 1984. He became a staple of comedy specials and won acting roles that included scene-stealing cameos in Eddie Murphy’s 1988 film. Coming to America and its sequel. He appeared in other movies and had numerous TV spots, and he provided the voices of himself and his father in the 1990s animated series. Life with Louie, which depicts him as a child. He won two Daytime Emmys for the performance. He also hosted the syndicated game show family quarrel and starred in a short-lived sitcom in 1996, The Louie Show.
Of his comedy, he once told The San Diego Union Tribune, I’m trying to say, Hey, aren’t we all pathetic? I’m just presenting myself as the main pathetic person: I can’t stop eating, but I have to because I’ve already eaten everything. I spread it over there.
Survivors include two sisters, Lisa and Shanna Anderson.