Louie Anderson

Active - 1984 - 2021  |   Born - Mar 24, 1953 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States  |   Died - Jan 21, 2022   |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

A former counselor of abused children from Minneapolis, MN, Louie Anderson has found great success as a standup comedian, author, provider of cartoon voices, and actor. Born in St. Paul as one of 11 children, Anderson began his performing career in late 1978 in a small Minneapolis comedy club in answer to a dare from a co-worker at the children's home where he worked. People responded well to his act and Anderson felt he'd found his true vocation. After winning the St. Louis Comedy Competition in 1981, Anderson became a gag writer for Henny Youngman and then moved to Los Angeles to try to launch his own career by getting a contract with one of the major television networks, but success did not come quickly to the portly, blond comedian and he returned to Minneapolis where friends and cohorts helped him finance a comedy special. Showtime bought and aired the show which became a hit and the highest-rated program on the network for a month. This led Anderson to take to the talk show circuit and also won him a coveted spot on Comic Relief. Anderson also began working as an actor on such television series as Remington Steele and Grace Under Fire. He began a career as a character actor in feature films in Cloak and Dagger (1984). Since he became a star, Anderson has gone on to make several more cable television specials. Originally, his humor was centered upon his obesity, but in time, he began to focus more on his childhood and the experiences he'd had growing up with an alcoholic father and many siblings. But though he often joked about it in public, he was haunted by painful incidents from his youth and, following his father's death, he began keeping a sort of diary comprised of letters to his dad. One of these was published in People magazine. Tremendous reader response led to his penning the best-selling Dear Dad -- Letters From an Adult Child. In 1993, he penned a second, more upbeat tome that reflected an upturn in his personal life, Good-bye Jumbo, Hello Cruel World. In 1994, he and Matt O'Callghan created the animated Fox series Life With Louie. For Anderson, it was his second stint as a voice artist; his first was with the animated feature film Bebe's Kids earlier that year. Life With Louie has since garnered high critical praise that culminated in his winning a daytime Emmy in May 1997.

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  • Was the youngest of 11 children.
  • Was employed full-time as a school counselor, specializing in helping troubled kids, before pursuing a comedy career.
  • Won first place at the 1981 Midwest Comedy Competition.
  • Got his big break appearing on The Tonight Show in 1984.
  • Won two Daytime Emmys for his 1990s animated series, Life With Louie.
  • Has written books focusing on the difficulties of growing up overweight and with an alcoholic father, including Dear Dad—Letters From an Adult Child, Good-bye Jumbo...Hello Cruel World, and The F Word: How to Survive Your Family.
  • Was extorted by an Arizona man, whom Anderson helped convict by cooperating with the FBI on a sting operation.
  • Cofounded H.E.R.O., a charity organization devoted to helping homeless people get back on their feet.