HomeAmerican EntertainmentLouie Anderson’s Publicist Speaks on His Cause of Death

Louie Anderson’s Publicist Speaks on His Cause of Death

by Allison Hambrick
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Actor Louie Anderson attends the 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Comedian Louie Anderson passed away last week at the age of 68, leaving behind a legacy of laughter and many heartbroken fans.

According to the actor’s publicist Glenn Schwartz, Anderson died after a length battle with cancer. For a decade, he struggled with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Schwartz says complications from the disease caused his death.

Anderson’s stand up career began in the 1980s, and he rose to prominence with appearances in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Coming to America. He also served as the host of Family Feud from 1999 to 2002. Other prominent works from that era include the animated series Life With Louie, for which he won two Daytime Emmys.

“I try to laugh with my audience,” Anderson once said. “I try to say, ‘Hey, aren’t we all pathetic?’ Just put myself out there as the main pathetic person…I’m laying it out there. That’s the Richard Pryor effect. If you’re honest enough about it all, it’s really rewarding. It is healing.”

In 2016, he joined the FX series Baskets. The series saw Anderson in the role of matriarch Christine Baskets. For his role on the show, Anderson received four Primetime Emmy nominations, before winning. Though many would expect him to approach the role from a satirical perspective, Anderson didn’t. The actor did his best to make Mama Baskets a fully-developed character.

“The very first Christine scene, if you watch it, is completely raw and honest,” Anderson explained. “I wasn’t Louie Anderson playing Christine Baskets. I didn’t let people call me Louie on the set–I needed that. I’d go, ‘Don’t call me Louie. You can call me Mama Baskets if you want, or Christine, but not Louie. He’s not here right now.’”

Louie Anderson Reflected on Baskets

Moreover, Anderson drew on his mother’s life experiences to create his character. As a result, Christine Baskets is in part a tribute to her.

“I feel like there’s a channel going on, or there’s some sort of portal that opens up and allows me to have the complete sunshine of my mom or of all my sisters, or whatever it is,” said Anderson, before shifting focus to his mother. “She went through so much, I didn’t know how much she did for me. I wish I would’ve had the chance to ask my mom, ‘What is it that you wanted to be?”

That connection to his mother was in part what inspired him to make sure he didn’t play up the hilarity of his playing a female character.

“You know, I don’t play it cartoony and I don’t play a man playing a woman. I play a woman,” he explained. He went on to discuss how he got into character for the show. “I don’t know how to explain that other than I just know something happens to me and I’m completely connected to that character.”