Emmy-winning comedian Louie Anderson dies at 68 from cancer

Louie Anderson
(Image credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Louie Anderson, the comedian and award-winning star of FX's Baskets, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 68.

Anderson's death was confirmed Friday to Deadline by his publicist. He was recently hospitalized in Las Vegas to undergo treatment for lymphoma. Actor and comedian Pauly Shore said Thursday he had just left the hospital, where Anderson's "sisters and close friend were kind enough to let me say my goodbyes."

In recent years, Anderson was perhaps best known for playing the mother of Zach Galifianakis' characters on the FX comedy Baskets, a role that earned him acclaim and an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2016. He thanked his mother, whom he said inspired the performance, at the time. "I'm playing my mom," he said. "This is her award. I'm stealing every little nuance she had."

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Anderson performed stand-up comedy for decades, having made his debut on the The Tonight Show in the 1980s, Deadline notes. Outside of Baskets, he appeared in films like Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Coming to America, and the sequel Coming 2 America, as well as shows like Search Party. He also created the animated series Life with Louie, which drew on his childhood, and hosted Family Feud for three years.

Comedy Central paid tribute to Anderson as a "warm and hilarious presence in comedy," while actor Michael McKean reflected that Baskets was "such a phenomenal 'second act'" for him, adding, "I wish he'd gotten a third."

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