'SNL' Star And Comedian Norm Macdonald Has Died Of Cancer At 61

Norm Macdonald, an iconic SNL star and comedian has died after secretly battling cancer for nine years, and not even his family knew what he was suffering

By Ingrid Mateos

Norm Macdonald

Norm Macdonald (AP)

Sad news for the world today. Canadian stand-up comedian Norm Macdonald has died after a long private battle with cancer. He was 61. His diagnosis was kept a secret for nine years.

According to Deadline, the comedian’s longtime producing partner and friend Lori Jo Hoekstra was with him at the time of his death this morning, adding that Macdonald had been battling cancer for nearly a decade but was determined to keep his health struggles private, away from family, friends, and fans.

“He was most proud of his comedy,” Hoekstra told Deadline. “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.”


Norm Macdonald started his career 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 he began as Weekend Update anchor until early 1998 when he was replaced by Colin Quinn. Macdonald was known for his impressions of Burt Reynolds, David Letterman, Larry King, Quentin Tarantino, and many more during his five-year run on the show.

After leaving SNL in 1998, Macdonald starred in his own comedy series, Norm, from 1999-2001. The comedian starred as Norm Henderson, an NHL player who is banned for life because of gambling and tax evasion, so he must perform five years of community service as a social worker. The cast included Laurie Metcalf, Ian Gomez, Max Wright, Artie Lange, and Faith Ford, and the show ran for three seasons.

He also did a one-season talk show for Netflix, Norm Macdonald Has a Show, in 2018. He also earned a CableACE Award nomination as part of the writing team for the 1992 variety special Free to Laugh: A Comedy and Music Special for Amnesty International. 

Over the years he made numerous appearances on various late-night shows, including Late Night With David Letterman and Conan, and had a recurring role on The Middle. He also released three stand-up comedy albums: Ridiculous (1996), Me Doing Standup (2011), and Hitler’s Dog, Gossip & Trickery (2017), the latter taken from a Netflix special.

Fans and friends are honoring the ctor on social media. Among those are Seth Rogen, Edgar Wright, Steve Martin, Josh Gad, Whitney Cummings, Patton Oswald, and more. “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 all-time greats. RIP.” wrote Seth Rogen while Steve Martin simply shared “We loved Norm MacDonald. One of a kind.”

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Ingrid Mateos

I am an Entertainment news writer at Show News Today. I love all about movies, royalty, and pop culture but also enjoy writing about the latest celebrity gossip. I have a B.A in E.L.T and a diploma in Tourism Studies. When not working with words, you can probabaly find me watching BBC'S Sherlock for the umpteempth time or an old movie.

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