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Canadian actor, stand-up comedian Norm Macdonald dead at 61

After spending most of his youth in Quebec City, Macdonald attended Gloucester High School.
LAST COMIC STANDING -- Episode 901 -- Pictured: Norm Macdonald, Judge -- (Photo by: Ben Cohen/NBC)

Canadian actor and longtime stand-up comedian Norm Macdonald has died after a nine-year private battle with cancer, his management team confirmed Tuesday.

He was 61 years old.

“He was most proud of his comedy. He never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him. Norm was a pure comic,” Macdonald’s longtime producing partner, Lori Jo Hoekstra, said in a statement.

“He once wrote that ‘a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.’ He certainly never pandered. Norm will be missed terribly.”

Born and raised in Quebec City, Macdonald is often most recognized and remembered for his time spent as a regular cast member of Saturday Night Live (SNL), including anchoring the popularized Weekend Update segment for three seasons.

His wry, deadpan delivery in the anchor chair of Weekend Update divided the variety show’s audience in the mid-1990s.

Macdonald went on to amass a devoted following among comedy fans for his ribald rejection of easy punchlines. The Canadian was known for multiple celebrity impressions during his time on SNL, including Larry King, Burt Reynolds, and David Letterman, among others.

After leaving SNL, he starred alongside Adam Sandler in the 1995 hit Billy Madison and in the 1998 film Dirty Work. Later that year, Macdonald voiced the character of Lucky the Dog in the Eddie Murphy adaptation of Dr. Dolittle.

He reprised the role in both Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001) and Dr. Dolittle 3 (2006). He then starred in his own sitcom, The Norm Show, from 1999 to 2001.

Macdonald has one son, Dylan, born in 1993.

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