Louie Anderson Dead at 68: Fellow Comedians and Co-Stars Honor Late Comic

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Louie Anderson is being remembered by Hollywood as an iconic comedian whose "generosity of spirit will cover the world from above." Anderson died peacefully Friday in Las Vegas, Nevada, following complications from cancer, his rep confirmed to ET.

Margaret Cho, Henry Winkler, George Wallace, Howie Mandel, Marc Maron, Gilbert Gottfried and Jeff Ross are just some of Anderson's many friends and colleagues whose tributes started pouring in following the devastating news.

Cho spoke with ET's Lauren Zima not long after after Anderson's passing, and the comedian said she was "stunned" and in "shock" after learning the news. Cho, who says she met Anderson in the early 90s, says she'll remember Anderson as a caring father-like figure.

"There is something that is just so beautiful about the way that he cared about all of us in the comedy community and cared about us younger comics," Cho tells ET. The 53-year-old comedian also said Anderson's passing hit her hard, like what she experienced when Joan Rivers died in 2014. When asked what makes it such a difficult loss, Cho said, "I think it is his warmth."

"It is his support of my work and my life and just his gentle, calm love," Cho added. She also said she'll remember Anderson as "a real beacon of light."

"He had a darkness to his comedy, a darkness to his point of view but at the same time there was so much joy there and really an angelic presence," Cho said. "Just a brilliant actor and comedian on top of all of that."

FX, the network that aired Anderson's dramedy, Baskets, for four seasons, also released a statement expressing their deepest sympathies to Anderson's loved ones and everyone lucky enough to have known him.

"We are so deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend, Louie Anderson," the statement read. "For four wonderful seasons, Louie graced us and fans of Baskets with a bravura performance as Christine Baskets, for which he deservedly was recognized by his peers with the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series."

"It was a risky role for him and he embraced it with a fearlessness and joy that demonstrated his brilliance as an artist," the statement continued. "He truly cared about his craft and was a true professional in every sense. Our hearts go out to his loved ones and his Baskets family – Zach Galifianakis, Jonathan Krisel and Martha Kelly and all the cast and crew. He will be missed by us all but never forgotten and always bring a smile to our faces."

Winkler tweeted, "Louie Anderson : Your generosity of spirit will cover the world from above .. we are so lucky you were on earth for a moment , spreading your humor all over like bars of living gold .. Good Bye." The legendary comedian Wallace also took to Twitter and wrote, "Heaven has a hell of an open mic night goin' right about now. Everybody gets the light. You'll be missed. Louie. What an awesome friend. One in a million."

Comedian Elayne Boosler also penned a heartfelt tribute: "Another great has passed, and though we will always have his body of work to enjoy, there is nothing like seeing a master comedian at work. If you never had the chance to see Louis Anderson weave comedy gossamer live on a stage, you really missed something."

"Comedy can be many things, but in my forty-eight years as a comedian I have never seen anyone do comedy the way Louis did. He gently, unhurriedly, delivered the most poignant, incisive, empathetic, hilarious, honest comedy I’ve ever seen. He was so gentle the harsh truths of his and all our lives didn’t sting. But they certainly hit their mark. He took his time onstage, as if spontaneously thinking of what to say next, yet the show was so beautifully written, so well reasoned, it surprised and delighted at every turn," Boosler continued. "Louis could play anywhere, because his act was so human, so humane. He could probably do the same show at a retirement home he’d do to Hell’s Angels and get a standing ovation in both places (okay, maybe not a full standing ovation at a retirement home). We worked outdoor, out of control, wide open county fairs together back in the day. Open air stages in the bright sunlight of late afternoon. Motorcycles speeding by right in front of us, laughter, eating, running, shouting, music; I don’t remember but I think the money must have been great for us to venture into that comedy hell. And yet there was Louis, as quiet as ever onstage, having faith that they’d come around, lean in, start to listen, always triumphing in the end. He emanated vulnerability, the seeming opposite of much comedy, but it made people love him."

"He was so full of love, onstage and off. He never walked by a panhandler without giving, he never left a waiting fan without an autograph or photo no matter how many he’d already done. He kept in touch with friends and went above and beyond. The last time I saw Louie was right before the pandemic when our mutual friend Doug Kleiman took me to New York’s Cutting Room to see Louie’s act. That show blew me away. To have been in comedy that long and still come up with a show as strong and stunning as in the beginning is no easy thing. I was floored. He was fantastic," she wrote before concluding, "Please don’t say to me 'Sorry for your loss.' We weren’t close friends, but part of the comedy family where we all seem to keep tabs on each other. With his voice silenced, I would say to you rather, 'Sorry for your loss.'"

 

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