Comedian and actor Norm Macdonald has died at age 61 following a 9 year battle with cancer which he kept private.
“Norm was an original! He defined American humor with honesty and blunt force,” Jeff Danis, president of DPN Talent and one of Macdonald’s reps, told Variety in a statement.
He famously got the ire of his bosses at NBC while on Saturday Night Live because of his weekly attacks on O.J. Simpson which ultimately got him fired.
Macdonald anchored “Weekend Update” during the O.J. Simpson trial, where he delivered one of his most memorable jokes at the top of the episode following Simpson’s acquittal: “Well, it is finally official: Murder is legal in the state of California.”
The comedian got his start in showbiz as a writer on “Roseanne” in 1992 after making rounds at comedy clubs in Canada. He joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in 1993, and the next year, began his memorable stint as “Weekend Update” anchor until early 1998, when he was replaced by Colin Quinn. Macdonald was known for his dry humor, non-sequiturs and impressions of Burt Reynolds, David Letterman, Larry King, Quentin Tarantino and many more during his five-year run on the show.
Macdonald's longtime producing partner and friend Lori 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."
Here are some of Macdonald's best lines during his time as anchor of SNL WEEKEND UPDATE:
"Monday is Oscar night and three films, 'The English Patient' 'Secrets and Lies,' and 'Shine' are locked in a tight race in the category: Best Picture there's not a chance in hell I will ever see."
"Oprah Winfrey's longtime boyfriend Stedman Graham has written a new book called, 'You Can Make it Happen: A Nine-Step Plan For Success.' Step number one, become Oprah Winfrey's boyfriend. Then the other eight are just 'hang around.'"
"Paul McCartney will take part in this first live online chat May 17, and a record two and a half million calls have already come in for people hoping to have an actual moment of contact with the former Beatle. Although it should be noted that 2 million of those calls came from Ringo Starr."
"Real estate mogul Donald Trump announced this week that after three and a half years of marriage, he is seeking a divorce from wife, Marla Maples. According to Trump, Maples violated part of their marriage agreement when she decided to turn 30."