Norm Macdonald died Tuesday, September 14th after fighting cancer privately for nine years, Us Weekly has confirmed. He was 61.
The management company of Saturday Night Live alum Brillstein Entertainment confirmed the news to Deadline. His long-term production partner and friend Lori Jo Hoekstra told the outlet that Macdonald was determined to keep his health problems a secret from his family, friends and fans.
Norm MacDonald Jim Smeal / BEI / Shutterstock
“He was most proud of his comedy,” said Hoekstra, who was with him at the time of his death. “He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or loved ones saw him. Norm was a pure comedian. He once wrote: “A joke should surprise someone, it should never be flattering.” He’s certainly never flattered. Norm is terribly missed. “
Macdonald was best known for serving on Saturday Night Live from 1993 to 1998. He was the anchor of the Weekend Update segment for three seasons in particular, and made a popular impression of Burt Reynolds on the show’s ongoing Celebrity Jeopardy! sketch.
After leaving the NBC series, the comedian played on the Norm Show from 1999 to 2001. He later hosted a talk show for Netflix called Norm Macdonald Has a Show, which aired for one season in 2018.
Macdonald was born in Canada in October 1959. He began his career performing in comedy clubs across the country before joining Star Search in 1990. He then became an author for Roseanne BarrRoseanne’s sitcom in 1992 before working on Saturday Night Live.
The actor alluded to his health struggle in an interview with Vulture in September 2018. “I would never pretend I knew the truth. But comedy in its highest form always reveals something, ”he explained at the time. “Maybe you could call that a truth. But what I don’t like is the idea of suffering or pain or sacrifice – you could say that leads to art, and maybe it does, but it’s not art in itself. “
He explained, “I’ve heard people go on stage and talk about cancer or something and I think, ‘Doesn’t that happen to everyone?’ They seem to think that they are unique in their story when their story is the most common story there is, namely suffering and pain. “
The Dirty Work star then joked about dying. “I think about my deathbed a lot,” he said. When asked what he thought of it, he quipped, “I think I should never have bought a deathbed.”
Macdonald leaves behind his 28-year-old son Dylan, whom he shares with his ex-wife Connie Vaillancourt.
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