‘Baskets’ Star Louie Anderson, a Stand-Up Comedian and Actor Who Won an Emmy, Has Away at the Age of 68.
Former “Baskets” star Louie Anderson died. His age was 68.
His longtime publicist, Glenn Schwartz, told The Times that the beloved stand-up comic died Friday morning in Las Vegas from cancer complications.
His cancer was DLBCL, an aggressive form of non-lymphoma Hodgkin’s that Anderson had.
On “Family Feud” from 1999 to 2002, he won two Daytime Emmy Awards for his animated kids series “Life With Louie.” From 1994 to 1998, he voiced an animated version of himself as a child with ten siblings.
With Zach Galifianakis as Christine Baskets’ sons, he won a Primetime Emmy for supporting actor in a comedy in 2016. He received two more nominations.
Anderson was the tenth of 11 children born in Minnesota. His Mayflower descendant mother Ora Zella Anderson was an alcoholic abuser.
He said he based Christine Baskets on his late mother.
With her, Anderson told The Times in 2018: “I embrace every aspect of her: good, bad, and ugly.” “To embrace my mother’s humanity, I think that’s what people are responding to. Because this is her protecting 11 baby chicks from the hurricane that was my dad. It’s amazing that she could stand up to him and still protect us.”
Occasionally, he said, Christine reminded him of his father or one of his five sisters, respectively.
“This is life,” the cartoonist stated. “Those who come after you are a carbon copy of those who preceded them. Those ten people made up Louie Anderson, so thank God. Everyone else owns it, but I own it as if it were mine.”
With an observational comedy routine that often poked fun at his large family — and his large build — Anderson began working clubs. Asked about his first joke in front of an audience, he said it was in 1978. Onstage, Anderson stated that she could not stay long because she was hungry. “It made a big laugh.”
On Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” in 1984, he made his first national television appearance, which led to many more late-night appearances.
With Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, and Billy Crystal, he joined “Comic Relief’87.” A panellist on “The New Hollywood Squares” from 1986 to 1988. (He also starred in the 1998-2002 re-make.)
Since 1989, Anderson has been trying to lose weight. At his heaviest, his 5-foot-7 frame weighed over 400 lbs.
“I’m moving slowly. No Oprah for me “tells The Times in 1991, after a year off the road. “I want to heal myself first, then the world will heal.”
He pondered whether he could continue to satirise his unhappy childhood during his year off.
The burden of having such a trauma was too much for him. “I used to bring it all on stage. I was displeased. I used to be bored. I see. It’s also more enjoyable for the audience.”
Anderson wrote and starred in “The Louie Show” for CBS in 1996. The sitcom, which also starred Bryan Cranston, Laura Innes, and Paul Feig, featured him as a Minnesota psychotherapist but only lasted six episodes.
A-list comics helped contestants win cash from 2017 to 2020 on the game show “Funny You Should Ask.”
Two sides of the comic were revealed in a 1993 Times interview. As freelancer David Kronke put it, “the popular comedian…who has killed them on talk shows and Showtime specials and has toured the nation.” An emotionally raw account of reclaiming his shattered self-image after growing up in a dysfunctional family inspired thousands of fans, while the other was a “clever writer” of a book of letters from his father.
Readers who identified with “Dear Dad” sent him 10,000 letters. Who’s first? He got a snicker.
The lifelong struggle to accept his obesity was the subject of his 1993 book “Goodbye Jumbo, Hello Cruel World.” He recalled his mother overfeeding his siblings to soothe their trauma.
‘Goodbye Jumbo’ changed my life forever. My self-esteem and self-hatred were lifted from me, and I felt free “In an interview with TIME, Anderson “I resolved to change everything and stop hating myself. That I had enough guilt and shame and wanted to move on. And I could contribute. Then I wanted to have fun.”
As a result of reading Anderson’s books, people didn’t enjoy his comedy as much, which made him feel “less popular as a comedian.” Hey Mom: Stories for My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too, was published in 2018.
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Anderson’s life turned sour in 1997. Richard John Gordon, of Arizona, wrote the comic a check “According to an FBI affidavit,
A casino in the South Bay, Anderson allegedly asked Gordon to accompany him home, disrobe, and let him “touch” him. According to the affidavit, Anderson later changed his mind and only wanted to see Gordon undress.
On October 1, 1998, Gordon agreed to settle their “contract” for a lesser sum. According to the affidavit, Gordon returned in March 2000, feeling cheated. He desired $250,000 more. To get the money, he and his manager enlisted the help of the FBI.
Gordon was charged with trying to extort $250,000 from “Family Feud” host Marlene King after a high-profile car chase through L.A.’s Westside. Finally, Gordon entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to 21 months in jail and a $4,000 reparation fee in the federal courts.
Victimization is an unfortunate and growingly common consequence of celebrity “a statement from the comic’s publicist.
Anderson bounced back with guest spots on “Scrubs” and “Nash Bridges,” among other TV shows.
Aside from “Coming to America,” Anderson had a small role in the 1986 cult classic “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and a small role in the 2021 sequel. Seen on Conan O’Brien’s late-night talk show “Conan,” he also portrayed Winston Churchill in the FX anthology “Drunk History” and Bob in “Search Party.”
To keep his weight down, Anderson joked about intermittent fasting with O’Brien in March 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued.
“You’ve made a career of making funny weight jokes,” O’Brien noted. “What do you do, you’re losing weight, you’re going to get down to 275 — will you retire those jokes?”
If I retire my fat jokes, I’ll be funny forever.
Lisa and Shanna Anderson are his surviving sisters.