‘SNL’ alum Norm Macdonald dies at 61

National News

Actor Norm MacDonald during an interview on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on April 21, 2008 (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty)

(NEXSTAR) – Comic and former “Saturday Night Live” star Norm Macdonald has died at the age of 61.

He was battling cancer privately for nine years before his death Tuesday, according to Brillstein Entertainment Partners, his management firm in Los Angeles.

“He was most proud of his comedy,” longtime friend and producing partner Lori Jo Hoekstra told Deadline. “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.’ He certainly never pandered. Norm will be missed terribly.”

Macdonald, who was born in Québec, Canada, was best known for his sharp observations and deadpan delivery on SNL’s “Weekend Update” during his years as a cast member from 1993 to 1998.

Of his many targets, including Marion Barry, Bill Clinton and Michael Jackson, many fans of the show remember his relentless jokes about O.J. Simpson, announcing after the former football player was acquitted, “Well, it is finally official: Murder is legal in the state of California.”

Macdonald, born to two schoolteachers, began his career doing standup and writing for the sitcom “Roseanne.”

He went on to star in his own comedy series, “The Norm Show,” after leaving SNL. Macdonald also appeared in a several movies, including “Billy Madison,” “Dirty Work” and “Doctor Dolittle.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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