Saturday Night Live alum Norm Macdonald died Tuesday after a nine-year, private battle with cancer. He was 61. Variety and The Hollywood Reporter confirmed his death.
“He was most proud of his comedy,” his producing partner and friend Lori Jo Hoekstra, who was with Macdonald when he died, told Deadline. “He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him. Norm was a pure comic. He once wrote that ‘a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.’ He certainly never pandered. Norm will be missed terribly.”
In addition to his stint as SNL Weekend Update anchor and cast member in the 1990s, Macdonald also worked as a writer on the TV comedies, Roseanne and The Dennis Miller Show; starred in the sitcoms, The Norm Show and A Minute with Stan Hooper, and hosted his own chat program, Norm Macdonald Has a Show. He was famous for his spot-on impressions of celebrities like Burt Reynolds, David Letterman, Larry King and Quentin Tarantino, and, in recent years, was a beloved guest on talk shows such as The Tonight Show, Late Night, The Late Late Show and Conan.
His film credits include Billy Madison, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Dr. Dolittle, Dirty Work, Man on the Moon and Funny People.
Macdonald had been scheduled to be in the New York Comedy Festival lineup in November. His fellow Canadian comedian Jim Carrey mourned his death on Twitter. “My dear friend Norm MacDonald passed after a brave 10 year battle. He was one of our most precious gems. An honest and courageous comedy genius. I love him,” Carrey posted.
Macdonald’s SNL co-star, Rob Schneider, wrote on Twitter: “Norm, I didn’t just like you. I loved you. You didn’t just make me laugh. You made me cry with laughter. I’m still crying today. But when I think of you, my tears will run down my face with all the memories of all the laughter and all the joys that you brought to all of us. Rest.”