Louie Anderson was born Louis Perry Anderson on March 24, 1953, in Saint Paul Minnesota. His father was a trumpeter for singer Hoagy Carmichael. Anderson described his father as “abusive” and an alcoholic. His mother Ora Z gave birth to 16 children.
Louie was the second youngest of 11 children, 5 had died at childbirth. He attended Johnson Senior High in Saint Paul. After his fathers death he learned what a bad childhood he had and was able to forgive him. Louie Anderson’s early jobs included counseling troubled children. He changed course after winning a 1981 Midwest comedy competition, where he was spotted by veteran comic Henny Youngman, who hosted the contest, “according to Schwartz”.
Bill Cosby and I had similar goals. 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.Louie Anderson
While writing for Youngman he got his first TV appearance, January 13, 1984 on Rodney Dangerfield’s Young Comedians Special on HBO. Later that year, November 20, 1984, Anderson made his network debut as a comedian on The Tonight Show. In 1985 he was cast alongside Bonson Pinchot for “Perfect Strangers” on ABC although they he has replaced before shooting started with Mak Linn-Baker.
He was a kind, generous, talented man who leaves behind a legacy of laughter, love and french fries.Rita Rudner
In 1986 he appeared in the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. The next year he was in a comedy special on Showtime. In 1988 Louie played a role in “Coming to America” and also reprised it in the 2021 remake.
You’ll be missed, Louie. What an awesome friend. One in a million.Gilbert Gottfried
In 1989, Louie appeared on the first episode of the Muppet Television segment of The Jim Henson Hour. In 1995 he created and produced a Saturday-morning animated series for Fox called “Life with Louie” that was about his childhood.
Oh dear. Another great comedian. Another great Vegas star. Such a sweetheart. We will miss you #LouieAndersonPenn Jillette [on Twitter]
The next year he created and starred in “The Louie Show” for CBS which only ran 6 episodes. In 1999 Louie landed the hosting position for the game show, replacing Richard Dawson. He 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. In 2002 he was replaced by Richard Karn.
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 nimble, and he wouldn’t hammer points home, but he would do a ‘weave-back’ that was almost Pulp Fiction-like.Dennis Miller
Louie played the part of Christine Baskets on the FX comedy series Baskets from 2016 to 2019. He won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Louie had a Showtime special that I must have watched 200 times. His influence on me is not measurable. Most importantly, he was always kind and encouraging. He didn’t like mean.Jim Gaffigan
Louie Anderson has written 4 books. “The F Word: How to Survive Your Family” a 2005 honest, funny, and brilliant survival manual, “Dear Dad: Letters from an Adult Child” a 1991 collection of letters that are poignant and often angry, yet touched with humor, “Goodbye Jumbo… Hello Cruel World” a 1994 tale of his arduous struggle to lose weight and deal with his personal “drug of choice”–food, and “Hey Mom: Stories for My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too” a 2018 heartfelt book.
Anderson died on Friday, January 21, 2022, age 68, at a hospital in Las Vegas of complications from cancer. He had a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.