Norm Macdonald, comedian and former ‘SNL’ actor, dies at 61

Comedian, writer and actor Norm Macdonald died Tuesday following a nine-year battle with cancer. He was 61.

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Macdonald’s management firm, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, told Deadline and The Associated Press that the “Saturday Night Live” star died after hiding his cancer diagnosis for years. His friend and longtime producing partner Lori Jo Hoekstra by his side, Deadline reported.

“He was most proud of his comedy,” Hoekstra said, according to 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.”

Macdonald was born in Quebec City, Canada, in 1959, according to the Montreal Gazette and The Washington Post. He began his career as a stand-up comedian in Canada before becoming a writer on “Roseanne,” according to the Gazette and Variety.

In 1993, he left “Roseanne” to join the cast of “Saturday Night Live,” where he would eventually become known for his deadpan delivery on the the show’s “Weekend Update” segment.

Macdonald also earned praise and laughs for his portrayal of Burt Reynolds on the sketch comedy show’s “Celebrity Jeopardy!” segment.

He stayed on with “Saturday Night Live” until 1998, when he was ousted and replaced by Colin Quinn, purportedly after upsetting then-NBC West Coast president Don Ohlmeyer with his searing jokes about O.J. Simpson, according to Rolling Stone. He went on to star in 1998′s “Dirty Work” -- a box office bomb that went on to earn cult classic status -- and “The Norm Show,” which ran from 1999 to 2001 on ABC.

“I got demoted at SNL, and then I got sort of hot,” Macdonald told Rolling Stone in 1999.

Among his other credits, Macdonald appeared in movies and television shows such as the 1995 comedy “Billy Madison,” and the animated series “Family Guy,” and “The Fairly Odd Parents.” In 2018, he interviewed celebrity friends on Netflix’s “Norm Macdonald Has a Show.”

He was set to perform Nov. 11 in the New York Comedy Festival.

Friends and fans took to social media to remember Macdonald.


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