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Norm Macdonald, Canadian actor and comedian who got started in Ottawa, dies at 61

Photo via NBC

Norm Macdonald, famed Canadian actor and stand-up comedian who began his career in Ottawa, has died at 61 after a long and non-public battle with cancer.

Macdonald’s passing was announced on Tuesday. “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,” said Lori Jo Hoekstra, Macdonald’s producing partner, in a statement.

Macdonald began his career in Ottawa in the 1980s, doing stand-up shows at Yuk Yuk’s. According to The Canadian Encyclopedia, he studied but did not complete the TV broadcasting program at Algonquin College. A 1991 clipping from Orleans Magazine posted by Yuk Yuk’s said Macdonald graduated Gloucester High School when he was 14 and entered studies at Carleton at 16.

Macdonald is best known for his time as a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live, where he hosted Weekend Update from 1994 to 1997, as well as various film appearances such as Billy Madison and Dirty Work.

Photo: Norm Macdonald, right, with Yuk Yuk’s President Jeff Silverman in the 1990s. Photo via Yuk Yuk’s.