Emmy Winning actor and comedian Louie Anderson passed away Friday from complications with cancer, said his longtime publicist Glenn Schwartz. Anderson had a career that spanned four decades. One of his most memorable moments was his performance as a mother to twin adult sons on the hit television show “Baskets.” He was 68 years old.
Schwartz previously stated that Anderson was battling a type of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. He died in a Las Vegas hospital from cancer.
Fans remember Anderson on social media.
“‘Baskets‘ was such a phenomenal ‘second act’ for Louie Anderson. I wish he’d gotten a third,” tweeted Michael McKean. “You’ll be missed, Louie. What an awesome friend. One in a million,” George Wallace wrote.
Anderson used his quirky looks and a rollercoaster childhood in Saint Paul, Minnesota, as material for his stand-up comedy shows. In an interview with the Associated Press, Anderson compared himself to Bill Cosby, who also used his childhood as the substance for his comedy.
“Bill Cosby and I had similar goals,” Anderson told AP. “I wanted parents to be able to bring their children and children to be able to bring their parents to my concerts. I feel a family that can laugh about family problems is better off. The difference between Cosby and myself is that he sees it from an adult perspective, and I tell it from a child’s viewpoint.”
Anderson used his longtime struggle with obesity as content for his work in the past. Over time that changed. Anderson did not use all his battles as ammunition for jokes.
“I’ve always been big,” he said. “But I don’t do fat jokes anymore.”
Some of Anderson’s best work stemmed from life lessons he learned from his mother. His 2018 book titled “Hey Mom” was a written tribute to share the facts-of-life tips and advice on overcoming everyday challenges.
Anderson said in an Associated Press interview that year, “I just started writing with one letter, saying,’ Hey Mom, I’m playing you on TV. I hope you see it. I hope you’re a part of it…”
Anderson credits his mother for his 2016 Emmy win for the best supporting actor for his portrayal of Christine Baskets, who played mother to twins Chip and Dale Everett Baskets, played by Zach Galifianakis in the hit FX television show “Baskets.“
Anderson’s early job was as a counselor to troubled children. He switched gears after winning a Midwest comedy competition in 1981. At the comedy show, he was discovered by comedian veteran Henny Youngman, who also hosted the contest.
Anderson started out working as a writer for Youngman and gained onstage experience. 1984 proved to be the year of his big break after Anderson was brought onstage by Johnny Carson to perform on “The Tonight Show.”
Sisters Lisa and Shanna Anderson are among his survivors.