Louie Perry Anderson (born March 24, 1953) is an Emmy Award-winning American stand-up comedian, actor and television host. Anderson created the cartoon series Life with Louie, has written three books, and was the initial host of the third revival of the game show Family Feud, from 1999 to 2002.
Anderson won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance as Christine Baskets on the FX series Baskets.
Growing up in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Anderson was the second-youngest of 11 children in his family (in 2016, Anderson told interviewer Marc Maron that his mother actually gave birth to 16 children, but 5 of them—the first baby and then 2 sets of twins—died in childbirth). He went to Johnson Senior High.
On November 20, 1984, Anderson made his network debut as a stand-up comedian on The Tonight Show.
In late 1985, Anderson was cast as Lou Appleton alongside Bronson Pinchot on the pilot episode of Perfect Strangers for ABC (which was known in this early stage as The Greenhorn). When the show was picked up, Anderson was replaced by Mark Linn-Baker in the role of Appleton (whose first name was then changed from Lou to Larry) as the producers didn't think the chemistry between Anderson and Pinchot was quite right. The show ran for eight seasons on ABC.
In 1986, Anderson had a small role in the singing telegram scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
In 1987, Anderson appeared in a comedy special on Showtime.
In 1988, Anderson played a role in John Landis' film Coming to America, which starred Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall. The same year saw Anderson star in the camp comedy The Wrong Guys.
In 1989, Anderson guest-starred on the first episode of the MuppeTelevision segment of The Jim Henson Hour.
In 1995, Anderson created and produced a Saturday morning animated series for Fox called Life with Louie. The series was based on Anderson's childhood with 10 siblings, a sweet-hearted mother and a loud, war-crazed father. It also detailed how he was picked on for his weight, and how he used comedy to deal with the teasing. The show was a 3-year hit on Fox, and won two Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program.
In 1996, Anderson created and starred in The Louie Show for CBS. The show had Anderson playing a psychotherapist in Duluth, Minnesota. The show ran six episodes and was cancelled.
In 1999, Anderson landed the role of host of the new version of Family Feud. Anderson asked former Feud host Richard Dawson to appear on the premiere show to give him his blessing, but Dawson declined. Anderson organized a 9/11-themed tournament week of Family Feud between the FDNY and the NYPD, putting up $75,000 toward both organizations for recovery from the September 11, 2001, attacks. Anderson was let go from the show in 2002.
In 2001, Anderson appeared on an episode of Weakest Link, winning $31,000. He has made appearances on network television in Scrubs, Grace Under Fire, Touched by an Angel (A Song for the Soul, Nov. 28, 1999) and Chicago Hope. He guest starred on the Adult Swim cameo-filled show Tom Goes to the Mayor.
Anderson played in the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In 2012, Anderson filmed a standup special entitled Louie Anderson: Big Baby Boomer. In it, Anderson poked fun at his bad habits, pesky family members, and aging body.
In 2013, Anderson appeared in the ABC reality television series Splash. After practicing several dives into a swimming pool then nearly drowning, he needed help getting out by co-star football player Ndamukong Suh.
In October 2014, Anderson signed on as the promotional spokesperson for Land O'Lakes Sweet Cream Butter. Anderson has since appeared in radio jingles, web ads, and television commercials promoting the product.
Since January 21, 2016, Anderson has played the part of Christine Baskets on the FX comedy series Baskets. Anderson won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance as Christine Baskets in 2016.
Dennis Miller has called him "one of the lightest on his feet comedians I know... There's very few guys I'm going to leave my dressing room early (to watch). ... (Louie has) a Fred Astaire-approach. Very nimble, and he wouldn't hammer points home, but he would do a 'weave-back' that was almost Pulp Fiction-like."
A 1985 marriage to his high school sweetheart lasted four weeks.
In the late 1990s, Anderson was extorted by a man named Richard John Gordon. Gordon demanded money from Anderson, threatening to reveal to tabloids that Anderson reportedly propositioned him in a casino in 1993.
Anderson initially paid Gordon $100,000 in hush money, fearing the story would threaten his starring roles in two family-oriented series, but when Gordon's demands increased to $250,000 in 2000, Anderson informed law-enforcement authorities. Gordon, who was 31 at the time, was arrested.