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Comedian, ‘SNL’ Alum Norm MacDonald Dies of Cancer at 61

photo of actor norm macdonald

Sept. 14, 2021 -- Veteran comedian Norm Macdonald, perhaps best known for his years on Saturday Night Live, has died of cancer, a diagnosis the Canadian native kept secret for a decade.

Macdonald’s producing partner Lori Jo Hoekstra told Deadline that the 61-year-old Macdonald didn’t even tell family and friends because 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.’”

Macdonald was known for his deadpan humor and got his start in 1992 as a writer for the television show Roseanne. He joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1993 and became host of the popular “Weekend Update” segment a year later. He also popularized impressions of Burt Reynolds, David Letterman, and Larry King.

According to Variety , one of his most famous lines came as anchor of the satirical-news “Weekend Update” after the not-guilty verdict was handed down in the O.J. Simpson trial.

“Well, it is finally official,” Macdonald said. “Murder is legal in the state of California.”

Macdonald blamed his Simpson jokes as the reason he was fired from the show.

After leaving SNL in 1998, Macdonald went on to star or appear in dozens of movies and television shows.

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