Comedian Mike Macdonald passes away

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Ottawa comedian Mike MacDonald passed away today at age 63. Here’s part of his professional bio:

Mike MacDonald has been performing on stages across North America for more than 30 years. As the son of a career Canadian Air Force officer, MacDonald learned at an early age that humour would make him popular. Born in Metz France, MacDonald grew up on military bases in Western Europe and Canada. Upon his father’s retirement, the MacDonald family moved to Ottawa. After high school, Mike MacDonald toured across Canada as one of two drummers in the band MapleRidge who were sponsored by the Canadian government to perform their rock opera entitled, The Life and Times of Louie Riel. In 1978, at the age of 23, MacDonald tried his own brand of stand-up comedy at some of the local clubs before moving to Toronto, and eventually performing throughout Canada and the United States.

As Mike MacDonald’s fame grew, he appeared on many TV shows including Late Night with David Letterman, The Arsenio Hall Show, and Just For Laughs. He has also written and starred in three nominated and critically acclaimed CBC/Showtime specials of his own: Mike MacDonald; On Target; My House! My Rules; and Happy As I Can Be. He has hosted both the Gemini Awards and the “Just For Laughs 10th Anniversary Special” for the CBC and starred in a sitcom on that network called “Mosquito Lake.”

In 2011, Mike MacDonald was diagnosed with Hepatitis C, and moved back to Ottawa from Glendale CA. In April 2012, his illness progressed to the point where his liver and his kidneys shut down and he was immediately put on the waiting list for a liver transplant. Friends organized a campaign to collect donations to support MacDonald and to help cover his medical expenses. On March 17, 2013 MacDonald underwent a successful seven-hour liver transplant operation. Right now, family, especially his wife Bonnie, is central to his continued recovery and renewed sense of just how important life really is. MacDonald has since become an advocate for the Canadian Liver Foundation and mental health.


OttawaStart Staff

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