Louie Anderson

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Louie Anderson
Louie Anderson (26038389891).jpg
Anderson in 2016
Birth nameLouis Perry Anderson[1]
Born(1953-03-24)March 24, 1953
Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
DiedJanuary 21, 2022(2022-01-21) (aged 68)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
MediumStand-up, television, film
Years active1984–2022
GenresObservational comedy, clean comedy, deadpan, satire
Diane Jean Vono
(m. 1984; div. 1984)

Norma J. Walker
(m. 1985; div. 1985)
Websitelouieanderson.com Edit this at Wikidata

Louis Perry Anderson (March 24, 1953 – January 21, 2022) was an American stand-up comedian, actor, author and game show host.[2] Anderson created the cartoon series Life with Louie and the television sitcom The Louie Show, and wrote four books, including Hey Mom: Stories for My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too, which was published in 2018. He was the fourth host of the game show Family Feud, from 1999 to 2002, in its third run and second revival.

For his performance on the FX comedy television series Baskets, Anderson received three consecutive Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series nominations and won once in 2016.[3]

Anderson performed a stand-up show called Louie: Larger Than Life in Las Vegas, Nevada, from 2003 through 2012. The show originated at the Union Plaza hotel downtown, before moving to Excalibur, South Point, and Palace Station hotels.[4]

Early life[edit]

Anderson was born and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the son of Ora Zella (née Prouty; 1912–1990), a Mayflower descendant, and Louis William Anderson (1901–1980).[1][5] His father was a trumpeter for singer Hoagy Carmichael.[6] Anderson was the second youngest of 11 children in his family. In a 2016 interview on WTF with Marc Maron, Anderson revealed that his mother actually gave birth to 16 children, but five of them—the first baby and then two sets of twins—died at birth.[7] Anderson described his father as "abusive" and an alcoholic.[8]

Anderson attended Johnson Senior High in Saint Paul.[9]


Anderson at the 2012 Sin City Rules Premiere Party

Anderson made his television debut on January 13, 1984, on Rodney Dangerfield's Young Comedians Special on HBO.[10]


On November 20, 1984, Anderson made his network debut as a comedian on The Tonight Show.[11] 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[12] 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. Anderson had a small role in the singing-telegram scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off,[13] as well as appearing in a comedy special on Showtime.[14]

Anderson also played a role in John Landis' film Coming to America, which starred Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall, a role which he reprised in the 2021 sequel. Murphy requested Anderson be hired for Coming To America after producers wanted a white actor in the otherwise African-American cast; Murphy described his friend Anderson as "the funniest white guy around".[15] Anderson also starred in the 1988 camp comedy The Wrong Guys,[16] based on a story by John Hughes.

In 1989, Anderson guest-starred on the first episode of The Muppets television segment of The Jim Henson Hour.[17]


In 1995, Anderson created and produced a Saturday-morning animated series for Fox called Life with Louie.[18] 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.[18]

Anderson created and starred in The Louie Show for CBS. The show had Anderson playing a psychotherapist in Duluth, Minnesota.[19] The show ran six episodes and was cancelled.[20]

Anderson landed the role of host of the new version of Family Feud in 1999.[2] Anderson asked former Feud host Richard Dawson to appear on the premiere show to give him his blessing, but Dawson declined.[21] 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.[21] Anderson was let go from the show in 2002 and was replaced by Richard Karn.[22]


In 2000, Anderson appeared as a panelist on an episode of To Tell the Truth hosted by John O'Hurley, and in 2001, Anderson appeared on an episode of Weakest Link, winning $31,000.[23] He made appearances on network television in Scrubs,[24][better source needed] Grace Under Fire,[24][better source needed] Touched by an Angel (Then Sings My Soul, November 28, 1999),[25] and Chicago Hope.[citation needed] He guest starred on the Adult Swim cameo-filled show Tom Goes to the Mayor.[26]

Anderson played in the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas, Nevada.[27]


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.[28]

In 2013, Anderson appeared in the ABC reality television series Splash. After practicing several dives into a swimming pool then nearly drowning, he needed help getting out from co-star football player Ndamukong Suh.[29] Anderson signed on as the promotional spokesperson for his home state's Land O'Lakes Sweet Cream butter brand. Anderson appeared in radio jingles, web ads, and television commercials promoting the product.[30]

From 2016 to 2019, Anderson played the part of Christine Baskets on the FX comedy series Baskets.[31] Anderson won the 2016 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance.[32]

On July 23, 2017, Anderson competed on an episode of Celebrity Family Feud (hosted today by Steve Harvey); his opponent was singer/actress Christina Milian. This made him one of only a small number of individuals to have both hosted and been a contestant on the same game show, and also marked his first appearance on any form of Family Feud since his departure as host in 2002.[33] Anderson was a regular panelist on the TV game show Funny You Should Ask from September 2017 until the show went on hiatus in 2020.[34]

Stand-up style[edit]

Dennis Miller 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, with a broken leg, approach. Very quick thinking, and he wouldn't hammer points home, but he would do a 'weave-back' that was almost Pulp Fiction-like."[35]

Personal life[edit]

In 1984, Anderson married Diane Jean Vono;[36] however, they divorced after four months.[37] In 1985, Anderson married his high school sweetheart, Norma J. Walker.[38] The marriage lasted only four weeks.[39]

Blackmailing incident[edit]

In 1997, Anderson was blackmailed by Richard John Gordon, who threatened to tell tabloids that Anderson sexually propositioned him in a casino in 1993.[40]

Between 1997 and 1998, Anderson paid Gordon $100,000 in hush money, fearing that the story would threaten his starring roles in two family-oriented series, but when Gordon's demands increased to $250,000 in 2000, Anderson's lawyer informed federal authorities. Gordon, who was 31 at the time, was arrested after leading FBI agents on a high-speed chase along Santa Monica Boulevard.[40][41] Gordon was fined and sentenced to 21 months in prison.[42]

Health and death[edit]

In 2003, Anderson underwent two successful heart procedures.[43]

On January 18, 2022, it was announced that Anderson had been hospitalized in Las Vegas for large B-cell lymphoma; he had first been diagnosed with cancer a decade earlier, but kept the information private.[44][45] Anderson died of complications from the cancer three days later, on January 21, at the age of 68.[46][20]



Year Title Role
1984 Cloak & Dagger Taxi Driver #2
1986 Quicksilver Tiny
1986 Ferris Bueller's Day Off Flower Deliveryman[47]
1986 Ratboy Omer Morrison
1988 The Wrong Guys Louie[47]
1988 Coming to America Maurice[47]
1992 Bébé's Kids Security Guard #1 (voice)
1996 Mr. Wrong Himself
2002 Do It for Uncle Manny Tow Truck Driver
2005 Back by Midnight Game Show Host
2007 Cook Off! Mayor Doug Halverson
2017 Sandy Wexler Himself
2021 Coming 2 America Maurice (final film role)[47]


Year Title Role Notes
1984 9th Annual Young Comedians Special Himself Hosted by Rodney Dangerfield and featuring Anderson, Sam Kinison, Bob Saget, Rita Rudner, Yakov Smirnoff
1986–1988 The New Hollywood Squares Himself 13 episodes
1986 Remington Steele Bingham 'Bing' Perret Episode: "Steele Spawning"
1987 Trying Times Stu Episode: "Bedtime Story"
1989 The Jim Henson Hour Himself / Space Guy Episode #1: "Outer Space/The Heartless Giant"
1994 Grace Under Fire Dr. Andy Lewinson Episode: "Tears of Joy"
1995–1998 Life with Louie Andy Anderson / Little Louie (voice) 26 episodes
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program (1996–97)
Nominated—Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program
1995 Love & War James the Cat (voice) Episode: "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and a Cat"
1996 The Louie Show Louie Lundgren 6 episodes
1997 Chicago Hope Louie Lickman Episode: "Growing Pains"
1997 Rodney Dangerfield's 75th Birthday Toast Himself Rodney Dangerfield introduced Louie to a national audience and Louie participated in this roast to honor and thank him
1999 Touched by an Angel Uncle Dudley Episode: "Then Sings My Soul"
1998–2002 Hollywood Squares Himself 12 episodes
1999–2002 Family Feud Himself / Host
2000 To Tell the Truth Himself / Panelist
2000 Ally McBeal Therapist Episode: "Without a Net"
2001 Nash Bridges Richard Reynolds Episode: "Blood Bots"
2001 Scrubs Himself Episode: "My Two Dads"
2001 V.I.P. Homeless Person Episode: "Kayus Ex Machina"
2005 Half & Half Louie Episode: "The Big Credit Check Episode"
2005 Joey Himself Episode: "Joey and the Poker"
2006 The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy Burt (voice) Episode: "Fear and Loathing in Endsville"
2006 Tom Goes to the Mayor Mining Team of Louie Andersons (voice) Episode: "White Collarless"
2015–2017 Pickle and Peanut Gory Agnes (voice) 2 episodes
2016–2019 Baskets Christine Baskets 39 episodes
Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (2017–18)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
2016 Drunk History Winston Churchill Episode: "The Roosevelts"
2017 Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special Himself Television special
2017–2020 Funny You Should Ask Himself 105 episodes
2019 Long Island Medium Himself Episode: "A Spirit Returns"
2019 Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Player Episode: 104
2020 Young Sheldon Ralph Episode: "An Academic Crime and a More Romantic Taco Bell"
2020 Search Party Bob Lunch 5 episodes
2021 No Activity (voice) Episode: "40 Days & 40 Nights"
2021 Twenties Maurice 2 episodes
2021-2022 Tig n' Seek Chester (voice) 8 episodes (final/posthumous role)

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2000 Family Feud Himself


Anderson authored the following:[18]

  • Dear Dad: Letters from an Adult Child, a collection of letters to his late father (1989) ISBN 9780140148459
  • Goodbye Jumbo... Hello Cruel World, a self-help book for those who struggle with self-esteem issues (1994) ISBN 9780517135679
  • The F Word: How to Survive Your Family, 49 family survival tips (2002) ISBN 9780446530170
  • Hey Mom: Stories for My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too (2018) ISBN 9781501189180


  1. ^ a b "FamilySearch.org". FamilySearch.
  2. ^ a b Roura, Phil (March 21, 1999). "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 July 7, 2009. Retrieved January 21, 2022.
  3. ^ "Louie Anderson". emmys.com. Television Academy. Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  4. ^ Nave, Howie. "Nave: Comedian Louie Anderson grateful during pandemic". Tahoe Daily Tribune. Swift Communications, Inc. Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  5. ^ Berkshire, Geoff (July 21, 2016). "'Baskets' Emmy Nominee Louie Anderson on the Role of His Career". Variety.com. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  6. ^ "JFL: Louie Anderson shares ups and downs of his career". July 26, 2019.
  7. ^ "Episode 715: Louie Anderson". WTF with Marc Maron. June 13, 2016.
  8. ^ "Interview with Stephen Colbert". Late Show with Stephen Colbert. CBS. April 10, 2018.
  9. ^ "A Real-Life Family Feud, Talk Show Host Repairs Family Ties". CBS News. July 20, 2000. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012.
  10. ^ Zinoman, Jason (January 21, 2022). "Louie Anderson and the Compassion of America's Eternal Kid". The New York Times.
  11. ^ "Louie Anderson". Dead-Frog - A Comedy Blog. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  12. ^ "Comedian Louie Anderson Has Died at 68". January 21, 2022.
  13. ^ Schneider, Michael (January 21, 2022). "Louie Anderson Turned His Pain Into Laughter so That We Could All Cope With Family Dysfunction". variety.com. Variety Media, LLC. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  14. ^ O'Connor, John. J. (August 17, 1987). "Louie Anderson, Comedian". The New York Times.
  15. ^ Saad, Nardine (January 21, 2022). "Louie Anderson was the 'token white guy' in 'Coming to America.' And he loved that". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 23, 2022. Apparently, Paramount Pictures "forced" them "to put a white person" in the film," they told Jimmy Kimmel. "[T]he whole cast is Black — and this was back in the '80s — so [Paramount] was like, 'We have to have a white person! There has to be a white person in the movie,'" Murphy said on Jimmy Kimmel Live. "So it was, 'Who's the funniest white guy around?' And Louie, we knew him. We was cool with him. So that's how Louie got in the movie." Hall, who claimed that the studio gave him "a list with three white guys," said the studio asked him, "'Who would you rather work with?' I said Louie."
  16. ^ Wilmington, Michael (May 17, 1988). "Movie Reviews : A Lot Wrong With 'The Wrong Guys'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  17. ^ "TV REVIEW : Muppets Maintain Huggability in 'Jim Henson Hour'". Los Angeles Times. April 14, 1989.
  18. ^ a b c Bubbenheim, Aaron (March 17, 2005). "Comedian's visit to focus on funny". The Pitt News. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  19. ^ O'Connor, John J. (February 5, 1996). "The More the Merrier, for a Vet and a Therapist". The New York Times.
  20. ^ a b D'Zurilla, Christine; Saad, Nardine (January 21, 2022). "Stand-up comic and actor Louie Anderson, Emmy-winning 'Baskets' star, dies at 68". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 23, 2022.
  21. ^ a b E! True Hollywood Story. Family Feud. July 28, 2002.
  22. ^ "Anderson Out, Karn In on 'Feud'". apnews.com. The Associated Press.
  23. ^ "Las Vegas, KTNV Channel 13 Action News". Jrn.com. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  24. ^ a b "Movies". The New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  25. ^ "Actor, comedian Louie Anderson dead at 68". January 21, 2022.
  26. ^ "Louie Anderson, beloved comedian, actor and host, dies at 68".
  27. ^ "PokerStars.com Players Win More Than $21 Million at the 2006 World Series of Poker". August 17, 2006. Archived from the original on August 7, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2008.
  28. ^ Weatherford, Mike (June 15, 2012). "Food, fat jokes staples of Anderson's 'Boomer' comedy". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved January 21, 2022.
  29. ^ Ley, Tom (January 28, 2013). "Louie Anderson Nearly Drowns In The Most Pathetic Way Possible, Is Saved By Ndamukong Suh". Deadspin.
  30. ^ "Comic, actor, and St. Paul's own: Louie Anderson dies at 68". January 21, 2022. Retrieved January 21, 2022.
  31. ^ Joanna Robinson (January 29, 2016). "Louie Anderson on His Extraordinary New Role as a Woman on Baskets". Vanity Fair. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  32. ^ "Louie Anderson". emmys.com. Television Academy. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  33. ^ Longmire, Becca (January 21, 2022). "'Family Feud' Host And 'Baskets' Star Louie Anderson Dies At Age 68". etcanada.com. Corus Entertainment Inc. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  34. ^ "Louie Anderson tributes: 'He left this world a funnier and better place'". Los Angeles Times. January 21, 2022. Retrieved January 21, 2022.
  35. ^ Miller, Dennis (February 10, 2014). "The Dennis Miller Show" (Interview). Interviewed by Dennis Miller. Archived from the original on April 25, 2019. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  36. ^ "Louis Perry Anderson and Diane Jean Vono". MyHeritage.com.
  37. ^ "Louis P Anderson & Diane J Vono". MyHeritage.com.
  38. ^ "Louis P Anderson & Norma J Walker". MyHeritage.com.
  39. ^ "He's Getting Laughs All Over TV, and Louie Anderson Has Only Just Begun to Throw His Weight Around". People. September 7, 1987. Archived from the original on September 29, 2019.
  40. ^ a b Weatherford, Mike (May 17, 2006). "Neon - Laughter and Tears". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on April 3, 2008.
  41. ^ Armstrong, Mark (April 14, 2000). "Louie's Sex-Extortion Feud". E! News. Archived from the original on June 8, 2022.
  42. ^ "Man sentenced for trying to extort $$ from TV host". DeseretNews. December 20, 2000.
  43. ^ "Louie Anderson is Currently Hospitalized for Blood Cancer". January 19, 2022.
  44. ^ Greiving, Tim (January 21, 2022). "Louie Anderson, comedian and Emmy-winning TV actor, dies at 68". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 29, 2022.
  45. ^ "Minnesota actor-comedian Louie Anderson undergoing cancer treatment". Star Tribune. Associated Press. January 18, 2022. Archived from the original on January 18, 2022. Retrieved January 19, 2022.
  46. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (January 21, 2022). "Louie Anderson, Genial Stand-Up Comic and Actor, Dies at 68". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  47. ^ a b c d Martin, Garrett (January 21, 2022). "Comedian Louie Anderson Has Died at 68". Paste. Retrieved January 29, 2022.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by Host of Family Feud
Succeeded by