‘Coming To America’ Star Louie Anderson Dead at 68

By Greg2600 - Louie Anderson, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=114512787

Emmy winning comedian Louie Anderson died while he was undergoing cancer treatments at the age of 68.

Anderson “passed away peacefully” on Friday in a Las Vegas hospital, after being admitted last week to treat a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The comedian was raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota and had a troubled childhood as one of eleven children born to an “abusive” alcoholic father, which he mined as source material for jokes in his early stand-up sets.

He worked as a counselor for troubled children prior to breaking onto the comedy scene in the early 80s. Anderson debuted on “The Tonight Show” in 1984, and performed successful stand-up specials before his breakout film role in 1988’s “Coming to America.” 

The comedian said he got the role after picking up fellow comedian Eddie Murphy’s $600 check at a restaurant. Murphy called to thank him and offered to write a part for him in the hit movie. Anderson also appeared in the 2021 sequel “Coming 2 America.”

He went on to star in his own short lived show, and an animated series, “Life with Louie,” that ran from 1994 to 1998. Anderson won an Emmy in 2016 for his role as Christine Baskets, the mother to twins played by Zach Galifianakis, in FX’s “Baskets.”

“For four wonderful seasons, Louie graced us and fans of ‘Baskets’ with a bravura performance as Christine Baskets, for which he deservedly was recognized by his peers with the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series,” FX said in a statement. 

“It was a risky role for him and he embraced it with a fearlessness and joy that demonstrated his brilliance as an artist. He truly cared about his craft and was a true professional in every sense.”

Celebrities paid tribute to Anderson in an outpouring of social media posts. “Your generosity of spirit will cover the world from above,” wrote Henry Winkler. “We are so lucky you were on earth for a moment, spreading your humor all over like bars of living gold.”

“You were as gracious and kind as you were funny,” Viola Davis said. “Rest well!! Keep ’em laughing in Heaven.”

“Rest now, Louie. You done good,” posted Jane Lynch. 

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried tweeted a selfie with Anderson and late-comic Bob Saget in remembrance. “This photo is very sad now,” he wrote. “Both good friends that will be missed.”

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