Louie Anderson

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Louie Anderson
Louie Anderson.jpg
Born Louie Perry Anderson
(1953-03-24) March 24, 1953 (age 63)
Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
Occupation Actor, comedian, game show host, author
Years active 1984–present
Website louieanderson.com

Louie Perry Anderson (born March 24, 1953) is an Emmy Award-winning American stand-up comedian,[1] actor and television host. Anderson created the cartoon series Life with Louie, has written three books, and was the initial host of the third revival of the game show Family Feud, from 1999 to 2002.[2]

Early life[edit]

Growing up in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Anderson was the second-youngest of 11 children in his family (in 2016, Anderson told interviewer Marc Maron that his mother actually gave birth to 16 children, but 5 of them—the first baby and then 2 sets of twins—died in childbirth[3]). He went to Johnson Senior High.[4]


On November 20, 1984, Anderson made his network debut as a stand-up comedian on The Tonight Show.[5]

In late 1985, Anderson was cast as Lou Appleton alongside Bronson Pinchot on the pilot episode of Perfect Strangers for ABC (which was known in this early stage as The Greenhorn). When the show was picked up, Anderson was replaced by Mark Linn-Baker in the role of Appleton (whose first name was then changed from Lou to Larry) as the producers didn't think the chemistry between Anderson and Pinchot was quite right. The show ran for eight seasons on ABC.

In 1986, Anderson had a small role in the singing telegram scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.[6]

In 1987, Anderson appeared in a comedy special on Showtime.[7]

In 1988, Anderson played a role in John Landis' film Coming to America, which starred Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall.[8] The same year saw Anderson star in the camp comedy The Wrong Guys.

In 1989, Anderson guest-starred on the first episode of the MuppeTelevision segment of The Jim Henson Hour.

In 1995, Anderson created and produced a Saturday morning animated series for Fox called Life with Louie.[9] The series was based on Anderson's childhood with 10 siblings, a sweet-hearted mother and a loud, war-crazed father. It also detailed how he was picked on for his weight, and how he used comedy to deal with the teasing. The show was a 3-year hit on Fox, and won two Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program.[9]

In 1996, Anderson created and starred in The Louie Show for CBS. The show had Anderson playing a psychotherapist in Duluth, Minnesota.[10] The show ran six episodes and was cancelled.

In 1999, Anderson landed the role of host of the new version of Family Feud.[1] Anderson asked former Feud host Richard Dawson to appear on the premiere show to give him his blessing, but Dawson declined.[11] Anderson organized a 9/11-themed tournament week of Family Feud between the FDNY and the NYPD, putting up $75,000 toward both organizations for recovery from the September 11, 2001, attacks.[11] Anderson was let go from the show in 2002 and replaced by former Home Improvement star Richard Karn. Although Anderson predicted the demise of the show within a year under Karn,[11] Family Feud remains on the air; Karn, however, is no longer hosting the program after being replaced in 2006 with John O'Hurley, who in turn was replaced by Steve Harvey in 2010.

In 2001, Anderson appeared on an episode of Weakest Link, winning $31,000.[12] He has made appearances on network television in Scrubs,[8] Grace Under Fire,[8] Touched by an Angel (A Song for the Soul, Nov. 28, 1999) and Chicago Hope. He guest starred on the Adult Swim cameo-filled show Tom Goes to the Mayor.

Anderson played in the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas, Nevada.[13]

In 2012, Anderson filmed a standup special entitled Louie Anderson: Big Baby Boomer. In it, Anderson poked fun at his bad habits, pesky family members, and aging body.

In 2013, Anderson appeared in the ABC reality television series Splash. Anderson was helped out of a swimming pool while filming by costar football player Ndamukong Suh.[14]

In October 2014, Anderson signed on as the promotional spokesperson for Land O'Lakes Sweet Cream Butter. Anderson has since appeared in radio jingles, web ads, and television commercials promoting the product.

Currently, beginning on January 21, 2016, Anderson plays the part of Christine Baskets, on the FX comedy series Baskets. Zach Galifianakis portrays both roles of Christine's sons, and non-identical twins, Chip and Dale. Anderson is a main cast member. He plays the put upon mother of her grown sons. Chip becomes a local rodeo clown, after failing to get a degree at a prestigious clown school in Paris. The Baskets live in Bakersfield, California.[15] Anderson won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance as Christine Baskets in 2016.

Stand-up style[edit]

Dennis Miller has called him "one of the lightest on his feet comedians I know... There's very few guys I'm going to leave my dressing room early (to watch). ... (Louie has) a Fred Astaire-approach. Very nimble, and he wouldn't hammer points home, but he would do a 'weave-back' that was almost Pulp Fiction-like."[16]

Personal life[edit]

A 1985 marriage to his high school sweetheart lasted four weeks.[17]

Blackmailing incident[edit]

In the late 1990s, Anderson was extorted by a man named Richard John Gordon. Gordon demanded money from Anderson, threatening to reveal to tabloids that Anderson reportedly propositioned him in a casino in 1993.[18]

Anderson initially paid Gordon $100,000 in hush money, fearing the story would threaten his starring roles in two family-oriented series, but when Gordon's demands increased to $250,000 in 2000, Anderson informed law-enforcement authorities. Gordon, who was 31 at the time, was arrested.[18][19]


Anderson has authored the following:[9]

  • The F Word: How to Survive Your Family, 49 family survival tips
  • Dear Dad: Letters from an Adult Child, a collection of letters to his late father
  • Goodbye Jumbo... Hello Cruel World, a self-help book for those who struggle with self-esteem issues


  1. ^ a b Roura, Phil (1999-03-21). "Playing The Heavy - For Laughs Louie Anderson Turns Childhood Abuse & Weight Into the Stuff of Standup". Daily News. New York. Archived from the original on 2008-07-17. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  2. ^ "Louie Anderson". The Grable Group. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  3. ^ "Episode 715: Louie Anderson". WTF with Marc Maron. 2016-06-13. 
  4. ^ "A Real-Life Family Feud, Talk Show Host Repairs Family Ties". CBS News. 2000-07-20. Archived from the original on 2008-07-17. 
  5. ^ "Louie Anderson". Dead-Frog - A Comedy Blog. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  6. ^ "Louie Anderson". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  7. ^ O'Connor, John. J. (August 17, 1987). "Louie Anderson, Comedian". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ a b c The New York Times
  9. ^ a b c Bubbenheim, Aaron."Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 19, 2005. Retrieved August 26, 2009.  , The Pitt News, 17 March 2005. (archived link)
  10. ^ O'Connor, John J. (February 5, 1996). "The More the Merrier, for a Vet and a Therapist". The New York Times.
  11. ^ a b c E! True Hollywood Story. Family Feud. July 28, 2002.
  12. ^ "Las Vegas, KTNV Channel 13 Action News". Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  13. ^ "PokerStars.com Players Win More Than $21 Million at the 2006 World Series of Poker". 2006-08-17. Archived from the original on 2008-07-17. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  14. ^ Ley, Tom (January 28, 2013). "Louie Anderson Nearly Drowns In The Most Pathetic Way Possible, Is Saved By Ndamukong Suh". Deadspin.
  15. ^ Joanna Robinson. "Louie Anderson on His Extraordinary New Role as a Woman on Baskets". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  16. ^ Miller, Dennis (2014-02-10). The Dennis Miller Show. Interview with Dennis Miller. 
  17. ^ "He's Getting Laughs All Over TV, and Louie Anderson Has Only Just Begun to Throw His Weight Around". People. September 7, 1987. 
  18. ^ a b Weatherford, Mike (2006-05-17). "Neon - Laughter and Tears". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on 2008-07-17. 
  19. ^ Armstrong, Mark (2000-04-14). "Louie's Sex-Extortion Feud". E! News. Archived from the original on 2008-07-17. 

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Richard Dawson
Host of Family Feud
Succeeded by
Richard Karn