Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Norm Macdonald is dead at 61 after a private nine-year battle with cancer, Deadline reports.
Despite being sick for almost a decade, MacDonald was determined to keep his failing health a secret from his family, friends and fans.
Macdonald was born on October 17, 1959, in Quebec City and began his career writing for the hit sitcom “Roseanne” from 1992 to 1993. After leaving “Roseanne,” Macdonald was a “Saturday Night Live” cast member from 1993 to 1998, making his biggest comedic impact on the “Weekend Update” segments. Macdonald repeatedly ridiculed OJ Simpson for the murder of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. After Simpson was acquitted, MacDonald opened up the segment saying “Well, it’s finally official: Murder is legal in the state of California.”
MacDonald was also known for his impression of Burt Reynolds on the longtime sketch show.
Oh fuck. I was a huge fan of Norm Macdonald and I essentially ripped off his delivery when I first started acting. I would stay up specifically to watch him on talk shows. He was the funniest guest of all time. We lost a comedy giant today. One of the the all time greats. RIP.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) September 14, 2021
I am absolutely devastated about Norm Macdonald. Norm had the most unique comedic voice I have ever encountered and he was so relentlessly and uncompromisingly funny. I will never laugh that hard again. I'm so sad for all of us today.
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) September 14, 2021
To so many people in comedy, me included, there was nobody funnier than Norm MacDonald. You always hoped he would hang around after the work was done, just so you could hear his stories and get a laugh. So hilarious and so generous with his personality. I’m gonna miss him.
— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) September 14, 2021
Don Ohlmeyer, president of NBC’s West Coast division, replaced Macdonald on “Weekend Update” with Colin Quinn in January of 1998. Macdonald believed the reason he was replaced was his frequent remarks he made about Simpson, a friend of Ohlmeyer’s, during and after the trial, repeatedly calling him a murderer. In later years Macdonald eventually came to the conclusion that he was removed from “Weekend Update” because of his insubordinate behavior.
Macdonald had a show called “Sports Show with Norm Macdonald,” which aired in 2011 and lasted 9 episodes. In May of 2015, he became the last stand-up comic to appear on “The Late Show” with David Letterman. He was also a judge on the ninth season of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.”
The Winnipeg Jets would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and fans of legendary comedian, Norm Macdonald.
He will be greatly missed by all __
(_Fabiola Carletti/CBC) pic.twitter.com/dJkNHJgmpL
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) September 14, 2021
Norm MacDonald died today so it’s only right to pay respects with his hilarious impression of Burt Reynolds pic.twitter.com/5dhSnbwwVV
— Toni Upholds Bruce Lee Thought (@RexKwonDo92) September 14, 2021
In March of 2018, Netflix announced it ordered 10 episodes of “Norm Macdonald Has a Show,” which premiered in September of 2018.
“He was most proud of his comedy,” his friend Lori Jo 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.”