Loading articles...

Influential Canadian stand-up comedian Norm Macdonald dead at 61

Last Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 5:20 pm MDT

Norm Macdonald begins as host of the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on Sunday, March 13, 2016. Macdonald remembers the late Burt Reynolds as a great storyteller and "hilarious" entertainer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

An influential comedian who was the cornerstone of Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update desk for years has passed away

Norm Macdonald's management team confirms he died after a private battle with cancer that lasted almost a decade

Macdonald was on SNL during the early to late 90s before being let go

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.