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Louie Anderson Dies: Emmy-Winning Comedian and ‘Baskets’ Star Was 68

Anderson died at 68 on Friday morning after a battle with lymphoma.

FILE - This Sept. 18, 2016 file photo shows Louie Anderson at the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Anderson is featured in the touching documentary about moms and their comedian children “Call Your Mother,” which airs on Comedy Central on Mother's Day.  (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

Louie Anderson

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Beloved stand-up comedian, Primetime Emmy winner, actor, and game show host Louie Anderson has died at the age of 68 after battling cancer. Anderson was fighting diffuse large B cell lymphoma and was hospitalized earlier this week. He died in Las Vegas. His publicist Glenn Schwartz confirmed the news.

Knowing for his fleet-footed and nimble comedic style, Anderson won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2016 for “Baskets” for his role as Christine Baskets, the mother of Chip and Dale (twins both played by Zach Galifianakis). The actor was nominated in the category across three consecutive years, and previously won Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program for Fox’s “Life with Louie” in 1997 and 1998.

Anderson was born and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and made his late-night network debut as a stand-up comic on “The Tonight Show.” He went on to host many stand-up specials throughout his career, including, most recently, 2018’s “Louie Anderson: Big Underwear.” Anderson regularly performed a stand-up show in Las Vegas, entitled “Larger Than Life,” from 2003 through 2012.

Anderson’s other roles included starring in 1998’s “Coming to America” opposite Eddie Murphy, and he also starred in the film’s 2021 sequel, “Coming 2 America.”

He appeared on television in “The New Hollywood Squares,” “Drunk History,” “Search Party,” “Young Sheldon,” as a host of “Family Feud” from 1999 to 2002, and also had guest roles in shows like “Ally McBeal,” “Scrubs,” “Remington Steele,” and “Grace Under Fire.”

IndieWire spoke with Anderson a few times over the years to support “Baskets.” He spoke about how the character of Christine was inspired by his own mother (who over the course of her lifetime gave birth to 16 children). “I’ve lost a lot of siblings. That changes you completely and makes you think differently. And age, getting older,” Anderson told IndieWire. “This role helped with being a nicer person, like going, ‘You know, Louie, it’d be okay for you to adopt all that stuff that mom did: not being mean and not be so easy to get mad when things don’t go your way.’ When you have success, you tend to become a prima donna, and I stopped that. So I’m looking at the world a little differently. I want to see things better out there.”

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