Saturday Night Live has been a launching pad for comedy legends and celebrated entertainers for nearly five decades. ET is looking back and paying tribute to late SNL stars and their indelible legacies.
The former Saturday Night Live writer and comedian, whose older brother is Dan Aykroyd, died in November. He was 66. Peter's death was announced during an episode of SNL that aired Nov. 20, hosted by Simu Liu, with a title card that read, "Peter Aykroyd 1955-2021." No cause of death has been announced. Like his brother, Peter began his career in the Second City comedy troupe, before joining SNL in 1979. He worked on the late-night series as both a writer and a cast member for one year, and earned an Emmy nomination for outstanding writing in a variety or music program during that time. Peter and Dan worked together in the years that followed, on numerous comedies including Coneheads, Spies Like Us and Dragnet. The Aykroyd brothers also co-wrote the 1991 comedy Nothing but Trouble.
The stand-up comic and actor died on Sept. 14, 2021, after a nine-year private battle with cancer. He was 61. The Canadian-born Macdonald began his career as a writer on Roseanne, a job he held from 1992 to 1993. He went on to appear on SNL from 1993 to 1998. He anchored the show's "Weekend Update" segment for three seasons. Following his SNL stint, Macdonald led his own sitcom, The Norm Show, for three years. Throughout his career, Macdonald appeared in films including Billy Madison, Funny People and Grown Ups, and TV series including Sunnyside, Girlboss and The Middle. He is survived by his 28-year-old son, Dylan Macdonald.
The sketch comedy vet died of a heart attack on Jan. 10, 2017. He was 62. Rosato began his TV comedy career in Canada, when he joined the final season of SCTV. He then joined the cast of SNL during the show's famously troubled 1981-82 season, and left after one year. However, Rosato -- who was born in Naples, Italy -- holds the distinction of being the first SNL cast member who was not born in either the US or Canada.
The veteran TV star and voice actor died July 18, 2015. He was 86. Coe was among the original SNL cast, known as the "Not Ready for Prime Time Players," although he was only credited in the first episode of the show. Coe was nominated for an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film for directing the short The Dove in 1968. He also voiced the character Woodhouse in the acclaimed animated series Archer up until his death.
Jan Hooks (1957-2014)
Don Pardo (1918-2014)
Tom Davis (1952-2012)
Charles Rocket (1949-2005)
Phil Hartman (1948-1998)
Hartman was tragically murdered by his wife Brynn in May 1998. He was 49.
Chris Farley (1964-1997)
Farley died at 33 of an accidental drug overdose.
Michael O'Donoghue (1940-1994)
O'Donoghue passed away at the age of 54 due to a cerebral hemorrhage after a lifetime of chronic migraines.
Danitra Vance (1954-1994)
Gilda Radner (1946-1989)
Radner battled bulimia for most of her adult life and passed away at age 42 after a battle with ovarian cancer.
John Belushi (1949-1982)
He died at age 33 of a accidental overdose at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Los Angeles.