Former Saturday Night Live alum and veteran comedian Norm Macdonald has died at age 61 after a long battle with cancer.
Macdonald’s longtime friend Lori Jo Hoekstra was with him when he died. She had said the veteran comedian kept his cancer battle private for the past decade, not telling his family, friends, and fans.
Deadline was the first to report the story of Macdonald’s death.
“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 an SNL cast member from 1993-98 and was a staple as the anchor for the “Weekend Update” segments for three seasons. He was also famous for not going easy on O.J. Simpson despite reported pressure from NBC to scale the jabs down.
Then prior to getting the gig on SNL, Macdonald was hired to write for Roseanne Barr’s sitcom Roseanne. Other TV credits include My Name Is Earl, Real Rob, NewsRadio, The Drew Carey Show, and The Larry Sanders Show, and he lent his voice to animated projects including Mike Tyson Mysteries, The Orville, Dr. Dolittle, FairlyOddParents.
Macdonald also served as a judge on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. He also appeared in films such as Dirty Work, Grown Ups, Funny People, Screwed, Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo, the Dr. Dolittle film trilogy, The Ridiculous Six, Jack and Jill, The Animal, The People vs. Larry Flynt, and Billy Madison.
Comedy Central named him to its 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time. He divided fans when he appeared in the short-lived KFC commercials as Colonel Sanders.