Norman MacDonald, born on October 17, 1959, was a seasoned Canadian actor, comedian, and writer known for his style of deadpan humor and interjecting poetic, sometimes old-fashioned turns of phrase. With his trademark line “Now the fake news,” MacDonald became popular as the anchor on the “Weekend Update,” a “Saturday Night Live” sketch, a parody show on current news and events, which lasted from September 24, 1994, to December 13, 1997. His legacy is unmatched, and he is widely loved and celebrated by his colleagues and family. Join us to celebrate his special day.
Norman Gene MacDonald was born on October 17, 1959, to Ferne (Mains) and Percy Lloyd MacDonald, who were both teachers in Quebec City, Quebec. MacDonald attended Quebec High School and later Gloucester High School in Ottawa, where he graduated two years early. He studied mathematics at Carleton University in Ottawa before dropping out. He was briefly enrolled in a journalism and broadcasting T.V. course at Algonquin’s college and worked a variety of manual labor jobs in between school periods, before going into comedy.
MacDonald’s first performances in comedy were at stand-up clubs in Ottawa, where he regularly appeared on amateur nights at Yuk Yuk’s in 1985. Six months later, he performed at the ‘Just for Laughs Comedy Festival’ in Montreal, and he was heralded by the “Montreal Gazette” as “one of this country’s hottest comics.” By 1990, he would perform as a contestant on “Star Search.” He also appeared on “Late Night with David Letterman.” MacDonald’s first work in television included writing for comedies, including “Roseanne” and “The Dennis Miller Show.” In 1993, MacDonald was hired as a writer and cast member on “Saturday Night Live” (“S.N.L.”), and also anchored the show’s “Weekend Update” segment for three and a half seasons. He moved on to write and star in “Dirty Work” and headlined his own personal sitcom, “The Norm Show” from 1999 to 2001. MacDonald was also a voice actor and provided voice acting roles for “Family Guy,” “Mike Tyson Mysteries,” “The Orville,” and the “Dr. Dolittle” films. Between 2013 and 2018, MacDonald hosted the talk shows “Norm Macdonald Live” (a video podcast) and “Norm MacDonald Has a Show” (a Netflix series), on which he interviewed comedians and other celebrities. In 2016, he authored “Based on a True Story”, a novel that presented a fictional rendition of his life. He appeared in many films and was a regular comedian panelist on talk shows, with some critics considering him the ultimate late-night comedy guest.
In 2012, MacDonald was diagnosed with leukemia, a fact not publicly disclosed. On September 14, 2021, he died of the disease at age 61. MacDonald shot a special secret stand-up performance in his living room before he died. His producing partner said MacDonald wanted to have the last appearance for his fans should his health take a turn for the worst.
MacDonald debuts at stand-up clubs in Ottawa regularly appearing on amateur nights at Yuk Yuk’s.
MacDonald appears at the ‘Just For Laughs Comedy Festival’ in Montreal, Canada.
MacDonald joins the cast of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” where he does impressions of Larry King, Burt Reynolds, David Letterman, Quentin Tarantino, Charles Kuralt, and Bob Dole.
MacDonald anchors the segment “Weekend Update,” a spoof news section on the show’s 20th season.
He plays Frank in Billy Madison, a network reporter in “The People vs Larry Flynt.”
MacDonald voices Lucky in “Dr. Dolittle'' and plays Mitch Weaver in “Dirty Work,” which he co-writes.
Norm hosts the fourth Canadian Screen awards.
MacDonald is posthumously nominated on July 12 for two Primetime Emmys for his stand-up special “Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special.”
Why We Love Norm MacDonald
He was hilarious
He is remembered as genuinely funny and for his humor unique. We enjoyed his deadpan style.
He was highly ranked
“Comedy Central” named him #83 in the five-part miniseries “100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time.” He was one of their most influential stars.
He had a great work attitude
He always took his role as a comedian seriously. He was also popular with his fellow cast members.
5 Surprising Facts
He was widely known
Norm MacDonald was known for his voice and film cameos.
He was a contestant on “Star Search”
MacDonald was a contestant on the international version of “Star Search'' — he was up against two other comedians from other countries, but he ended up losing.
A voice actor for “Family Guy”
MacDonald voiced the character of Death in an episode of “Family Guy.”
His T.V. shows were often canceled
MacDonald’s T.V. shows always somehow ended up getting canceled.
He had an addiction
MacDonald had a gambling addiction.
Norm MacDonald FAQs
Did Norm MacDonald enjoy reading?
He was a serious and studious reader.
Where is Norm MacDonald’s grave?
He was cremated and his ashes were given to a family or friend.
How many siblings did Norm MacDonald have?
He had two siblings, an older brother Niel and a younger brother, Leslie.
Norm MacDonald’s birthday dates