Norm Macdonald, the influential comedian and former Saturday Night Live cast member who anchored the “Weekend Update” desk for three seasons, has died. He was 61.
Macdonald’s death was confirmed to Deadline by Brillstein Entertainment, which was his management firm. Lori Jo Hoekstra, Macdonald’s friend and producing partner said his cause of death was due to a secret cancer battle he kept private for nine years.
Hoekstra said in a statement, “He was most proud of his comedy,” Hoekstra said. “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 a cast member on SNL for five seasons from 1993-1998. Three of those seasons saw him anchor the desk on “Weekend Update” where his dry, yet acerbic delivery was on full display.
Macdonald’s tenure on SNL also featured him impersonating various figures from Larry King to Bob Dole to his hilarious turn as Burt Reynolds on the sketch show’s “Celebrity Jeopardy” segments.
Following SNL, Macdonald starred in three seasons of the ABC sitcom The Norm Show and would guest on a number of different TV shows including Family Guy, The Fairly OddParents, My Name Is Earl, The Middle, Mike Tyson Mysteries and Girlboss. His film credits notably include Billy Madison, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Dirty Work, Dr. Dolittle, Man on the Moon, Funny People, Grown Ups and many more.
Macdonald was a beloved comedic force who was respected by countless peers and influential to countless others. Here are just some of the reactions to his shocking passing.