Louie Anderson, Emmy-winning comedian and actor, dies at 68

·2 min read

Louie Anderson, the longtime stand-up comedian and actor who enjoyed an acclaimed and Emmy-winning second act in recent years, died Friday at 68 due to complications from cancer, his publicist confirmed to NBC News.

A Minnesota native, the boyish-faced Anderson burst on the scene in the 1980s as part of the country’s stand-up comedy boom. Fans loved his self-deprecating style, in which he made fun of his weight.

“Let me move that, so you can see me,” he would say at the beginning of many sets, as placed the microphone stand to the side.

Louie Anderson Performing In Concert (John Atashian / Getty Images)
Louie Anderson Performing In Concert (John Atashian / Getty Images)

He made a name for himself performing on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and “The Young Comedians Special” on HBO, which often broke big acts.

He had a small part in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and a memorable role in “Coming to America” as Maurice, one of the workers at McDowell's, the fast-food restaurant where Eddie Murphy gets a job. He reprised the role in last year’s sequel, “Coming 2 America.”

EDDIE MURPHY, LOUIE ANDERSON, COMING TO AMERICA, 1988 (Alamy Stock Photo)
EDDIE MURPHY, LOUIE ANDERSON, COMING TO AMERICA, 1988 (Alamy Stock Photo)

Anderson also experienced success on the small screen. He won an Emmy Award for best supporting actor in a comedy series in 2016 for his work on “Baskets,” portraying the mother of twins played by Zach Galifianakis. He was nominated two other times for the part.

"Life with Louie," an animated show that ran on the Fox network for three seasons in the 1990s, was based on his childhood in the Midwest as one of 11 children. He also headlined the short-lived CBS sitcom, “The Louie Show" and made guest appearances on “Scrubs,” “Touched by an Angel” and “Chicago Hope.” In recent years, Anderson appeared on “Young Sheldon” and “Search Party.”

Earlier this week, a representative for the comedian said he had been hospitalized for cancer treatment.

BASKETS 2015 FX Networks tv series with  Louie Anderson. Image shot 2015. Exact date unknown. (Alamy Stock Photo)
BASKETS 2015 FX Networks tv series with Louie Anderson. Image shot 2015. Exact date unknown. (Alamy Stock Photo)

“Iconic comedian Louie Anderson is currently in a Las Vegas hospital being treated for DLBCL Diffuse large B cell lymphoma, a form of cancer. He is resting comfortably,” Anderson’s publicist, Glenn Schwartz, told TODAY in a statement.

Anderson's death hit home for many in the comedy world still reeling from the loss of Bob Saget, who died earlier this month.

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried posted a photo of himself, with Anderson and Saget. The "Full House" star died on Jan. 9.

"This photo is very sad now. RIP Bob Saget and RIP Louie Anderson. Both good friends that will be missed," he tweeted.

"Baskets was such a phenomenal 'second act' for Louie Anderson. I wish he’d gotten a third. RIP," Michael McKean tweeted.

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