Louie Anderson, the Minnesota-born comedian, entertainer, and Emmy winner whose decorated career spanned over 30 years, died Friday in Las Vegas. He was 68.
Glenn Schwartz, Anderson’s publicist, confirmed that his death was caused by complications related to blood cancer.
Louis Perry Anderson was born one of 11 children in St. Paul, Minnesota. Prior to achieving household name status, Anderson split his time between working as a counselor for troubled children and performing stand-up comedy to local audiences.
In 1981, Anderson won first place in the Midwest Comedy Competition. The competition’s host, Henry “Henny” Youngman, saw promise in the budding young comic and hired Anderson as a writer, thus jumpstarting his decades-long career in entertainment.
Anderson made his national television debut in 1984. He was invited to appear on “The Tonight Show” starring Johnny Carson, where he captured hearts and commanded attention from viewers across the country. Appearances with Jay Leno, David Letterman, “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” and other television specials followed. He even hosted one of America’s favorite game shows, “Family Feud,” from 1999 to 2002.
The beloved entertainer also took on various acting opportunities. He appeared in television shows such as “Grace Under Fire” as well as a few films, including an appearance in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Anderson went on to win three Emmy Awards, two for his Saturday morning animated series, “Life with Louie,” and another for his acclaimed work in the FX series “Baskets.”
Outside of stand-up comedy and on-screen entertainment, Anderson was also a best-selling author. He wrote candid and emotional accounts of his family struggles, insecurities, and other challenges in titles like “Dear Dad: Letters from an Adult Child,” “Goodbye Jumbo… Hello Cruel World,” and “The F Word: How to Survive Your Family.”
Anderson is survived by his two sisters, Lisa and Shanna Anderson.