Canadian actor and long-time stand-up comedian Norm MacDonald has died after a nine-year private battle with cancer, his management team confirmed Tuesday. He was 61 years old.
MacDonald is often most recognized and remembered for his time spent as a regular cast member of Saturday Night Live (SNL), including anchoring the popularized Weekend Update segment for three seasons.
MacDonald was known for multiple celebrity impressions during his time on SNL, including Larry King, Burt Reynolds, and David Letterman, among others.
After leaving SNL, he starred alongside Adam Sandler in the 1995 hit Billy Madison and in the 1998 film Dirty Work. Later that year, MacDonald voiced the character of Lucky the Dog in the Eddie Murphy adaptation of Dr. Dolittle.
In 1998 he stared in his own comedy show. In a statement, MacDonald’s long-time producing partner, Lori Jo Hoekstra said, “He was most proud of his comedy. 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.”
He reprised the role in both Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001) and Dr. Dolittle 3 (2006).
He then starred in his own sitcom, The Norm Show, from 1999 to 2001.
MacDonald has one son, Dylan, born in 1993.
There are so many things that we’ll miss about Norm – from his unflinching integrity to his generosity to his consistent ability to surprise. But most of all he was just plain funny. No one was funny like Norm.
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) September 14, 2021
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.
— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) September 14, 2021
I am absolutely devastated about Norm Macdonald. Norm had the most unique comedic voice I have ever encountered and he was so relentlessly and uncompromisingly funny. I will never laugh that hard again. I'm so sad for all of us today.
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) September 14, 2021
In such a divisive time even among comedians, we can all agree Norm MacDonald was the best. Rest In Peace.
— Ken Jeong (@kenjeong) September 14, 2021
Norm Macdonald. God damn it. One of the best there ever was and no mistake. RIP
— Phil Wang (@PhilNWang) September 14, 2021
We loved Norm MacDonald. One of a kind. https://t.co/0sXoCLEtuG
— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) September 14, 2021
Damn Norm MacDonald has died. We made 3 films with him. Loved him. A great soul, thinker & the funniest man in the room. You can see it in the way he’s treated by the other funniest people on earth. Norm comes out & they sit on edge ready to see him deconstruct everything. Genius pic.twitter.com/URZqiyBvYA
— Larry Karaszewski (@Karaszewski) September 14, 2021