Deadline is reporting that Norm MacDonald, former cast member of Saturday Night Live and former host of their Weekend Update, has passed away after succumbing to a nine-year battle with cancer. Surprise to most people as McDonald hid this fact from almost everyone, including friends and family, he was 61 years of age.
Norm Macdonald’s Early Life
Norman Gene Macdonald was born in Quebec City, the capital of Quebec, Canada. Both his parents, Percy Lloyd Macdonald and Ferne Macdonald were teachers. Percy Lloyd helped free the Netherlands from the control of Nazi Germany during World War II as part of the Canadian army. Macdonald would go on to attend Quebec High School and later would attend Gloucester High School. He had two brothers: his younger brother is Leslie with his older brother, Neil Macdonald, a journalist for CBS News.
Comedy clubs are where he cut his teeth, he started performing at comedy clubs in Ottawa in 1985. Even being heralded by a local newspaper as one of the countries hottest comics at the time. Then in 1990, he was a contestant on Star Search. Although he did not win, it did open the door for his first writing gig as he was brought on to write for Roseanne from 1992 to 1993. The short-run is due in large part to him being hired at Saturday Night Live.
Norm Macdonald’s first year at Saturday Night Live was chalked full of him doing impressions, but the following year, in 1994, he was picked to anchor the Weekend Update segment. That’s when we got a real taste of his dry-pan, some may say caustic style. But then in 1998, he was relieved of his duties after the show suffered a decline in ratings and higher ups thought Macdonald’s material was getting stale. He would stay on as a cast member until he eventually left later that year.
Dirty Work is one of his movies that I always think about when he comes to mind. It’s not anything profound, but it’s a lot of fun and features Dave Chappelle and Danny Devito.
Our condolences go to Macdonald’s family.