Norm Macdonald, who was known for his straightforward delivery and witty observations, died on Tuesday after a nine-year private battle with cancer. He was aged 61.
MacDonald’s death was announced to Deadline through his management firm, Brillstein Entertainment. The comedian’s longtime friend and partner, Lori Jo Hoekstra explained that the late comedian always wanted to keep his health struggles private.
Hoekstra, who was at Macdonald’s side when he passed, shared that the comedian 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. He once wrote that ‘a joke should catch someone by surprise, it should never pander.’ He certainly never pandered. Norm will be missed terribly,” he concluded.
Macdonald was to perform in the New York Comedy lineup in November. Although his career spanned stand-up comedy, television series, and talk shows, he’s best known for his stint on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
“If I am remembered, it will always be by the four years I spent at ‘Saturday Night Live’ and, maybe even more than that, by the events surrounding my departure from that show,” he wrote in his book “Based On A True Story,” which came out in 2016.
Norm Macdonald’s Background
Born on October 17, 1959, Norm Macdonald started his showbiz career in the comedy clubs of Canada. He developed the deadpan style that would become both his trademark and a highly influential touchstone for a generation of comics.
After being a contestant on “Star Search” in 1990, he got his first regular TV writing gig on “The Dennis Miller Show.” This was fronted by the man who anchored “Weekend Update” from 1986-1991.
MacDonald was hired to write for Roseanne Barr’s eponymous sitcom for the 1992-1993 season. It was after this he landed the coveted gig at NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
After leaving SNL in 1998, MacDonald starred in his own comedy series, “Norm,” from 1999-2001. He played the character of a goofball former pro hockey player, who was caught cheating on his taxes and sentenced to serve as a New York City social worker.
MacDonald did a one-season talk for Netflix’s “Norm Macdonald Has a Show,” in 2018. He also appeared on the 2015 Canadian sketch comedy series titled “Sunnyside,” and was a judge on “Last Comic Standing” that same year.
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Other appearances include “Dirty Work,” “Grown Ups,” “Funny People,” “Screwed,” “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,” the “Dr. Dolittle” film trilogy, “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and “Billy Madison.” Several of these movies also featured fellow SNL veterans.
Macdonald And His Ex-Wife
The late comedian was married to his ex-wife for nearly a decade. Although there isn’t so much information about Macdonald’s ex-wife, Connie Vaillancourt, The Sun shared that the couple got married in 1988, and finalized their divorce in 1999.
Macdonald once mentioned that he looked forward to moving to the West Coast, seemingly away from his soon-to-be ex-wife. At the time, it’s unclear where she was located.
However, Glamour Path alleged that the couple decided to go their separate ways in 1996, four years after their son was born.
The late comedian kept his private life under wraps and rarely spoke about his ex and their failed relationship. He only once mumbled a few nice words about her in 2016.
This was during an interview with The Washington Post, where he shared that “she’s great” and that “she was a fine person.
“The outlet also reported that she is a marriage counselor located in Los Angeles, California. According to a Reddit user, Vaillancourt works as a marriage and family therapist in L.A.
Norm Macdonald Had A Son
Like the situation with his wife, Norm Macdonald didn’t share so many insights about his son. However, according to reports, the late comedian and his ex-wife shared one son named Dylan Macdonald.
He was born on October 28, 1992, and turns 29 years old in 2021.
Per Heavy, Macdonald moved to the West Coast to get closer to his son. Additionally, the SNL star occasionally tweeted about Dylan Macdonald.
Back in 2016, he tweeted at writer B.J. Novak and told him that he and Dylan greatly admired his work. There were several other tweets that showed the father and son had a close relationship.
Tributes To The Late Comedian
Fans took to social media to pen tributes to the SNL star after he passed.
One fan tweeted, “Norm MacDonald was a legend, from his weekend update to playing Burt Reynolds on SNL’s version of Jeopardy, here’s a funny clip of him on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. RIP, Norm.”
Fellow comedian, Ken Jeong wrote, “In such a divisive time even among comedians, we can all agree Norm MacDonald was the best. Rest In Peace.”
Comedian and actor Seth Rogen admitted that he was a “huge fan” of MacDonald and “essentially ripped off his delivery when I first started acting.”
“He was the funniest guest of all time. We lost a comedy giant today. One of the all-time greats. RIP,” he concluded.