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Lorne Michaels

Lorne Michaels

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Also Known As: Lorne David Lipowitz Died:
Born: November 17, 1944 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Toronto, Ontario, CA Profession: producer, screenwriter, executive, comic (straight man), director, assistant manager in retail sweater department

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

It would be difficult to overestimate the impact that Canadian writer-producer Lorne Michaels had on modern American TV comedy and rock music programming. Perhaps more than any other figure, he was responsible for mainstreaming so-called countercultural values - e.g., jokes about sex, drugs and rock'n'roll; left-leaning politics - through that most pervasive of mediums. As the Emmy-winning creator and producer of "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ), Michaels was not only responsible for helming one of the longest-running comedy and variety programs in television history, but for shepherding a bonafide pop culture phenomenon that, with few exceptions, remained as cutting edge and relevant in its later seasons as it did during its debut 1975 season. And his knack for picking comic talent gave early exposure to a staggering amount of popular performers in film and television through the decades, including John Belushi, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Molly Shannon and Will Ferrell.

It would be difficult to overestimate the impact that Canadian writer-producer Lorne Michaels had on modern American TV comedy and rock music programming. Perhaps more than any other figure, he was responsible for mainstreaming so-called countercultural values - e.g., jokes about sex, drugs and rock'n'roll; left-leaning politics - through that most pervasive of mediums. As the Emmy-winning creator and producer of "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ), Michaels was not only responsible for helming one of the longest-running comedy and variety programs in television history, but for shepherding a bonafide pop culture phenomenon that, with few exceptions, remained as cutting edge and relevant in its later seasons as it did during its debut 1975 season. And his knack for picking comic talent gave early exposure to a staggering amount of popular performers in film and television through the decades, including John Belushi, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Molly Shannon and Will Ferrell.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Colin Quinn Show, The (2002) Creator

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
3.
4.
9.
 Television Academy Hall of Fame, The (1999) Award Recipient
10.
 Steve Martin: A Comic Life (1999) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1961:
Began organizing -- with friend Howard Shore (future "SNL" music director and film score composer) -- productions of "Bye Bye Birdie" and "The Fantastiks" at Camp Timberlaine in Ontario
1964:
Attended University College in Toronto, where he directed and co-wrote "Follies," a sketch comedy/musical variety show that was an early prototype of "Saturday Night Live"
1964:
Formed stand-up comedy act with Hart Pomerantz; also worked as a comedy writing team
1967:
Hired (with Pomerantz) as writers and performers on "Five Nights a Week at This Time," a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio comedy show; left after repeated disputes with management
1968:
Hired (with Pomerantz) as junior writers for NBC comedy-variety series "The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show"; show cancelled after nine airings
1972:
Ended partnership with Pomerantz on less than cordial terms
1973:
Assisted in developing ABC series "Burns and Schreiber Comedy Hour"
1973:
Hired as writer for Lily Tomlin's CBS special; clashed with Tomlin on creative grounds; narrowly avoided being fired; adopted policy of deferring to Tomlin
1975:
Hired by producer Dick Ebersol to help develop youth-oriented, late-night, comedy variety series to replace Saturday night reruns of "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson"
1975:
Served as producer and writer on comedy special "Lily" (ABC)
1977:
Made Broadway producing debut, "Appearing Nitely" featuring Lily Tomlin
1979:
Produced (also directed and co-wrote) Broadway show "Gilda Radner Live from New York"
1980:
Made feature debut as producer and writer with "Gilda Live," the concert film of Radner's one-woman Broadway show
1981:
Left "SNL" after dispute with network
1982:
Produced romantic comedy "Nothing Lasts Forever," directed by Tom Schiller; shelved until 1984
1983:
Executive produced NBC animated special "The Coneheads"
1984:
Produced short-lived NBC variety series "The New Show"
1988:
Produced syndicated late-night music series "Sunday Night"; later named "Michelob Presents Night Music"
1990:
Executive produced "Rolling Stones: Terrifying," a three-hour live Rolling Stones concert in New Jersey
1993:
Produced hit comedies "Coneheads" and "Wayne's World 2"; both films based on "SNL" skits
1995:
Producer Harold Ramis-directed comedy "Stuart Saves His Family"; film based on recurring "SNL" sketch starring Al Franken
1995:
Produced Chris Farley and David Spade buddy comedy "Tommy Boy"
1996:
Produced Farley and Spade follow-up "Black Sheep"
1996:
Produced "Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy," the feature film based on popular series
1997:
Entered into partnership with NBC Entertainment to create SNL Studios; named chair of enterprise; simultaneously renewed position as executive producer of "Saturday Night Live" through 2001
1998:
Produced "A Night at the Roxbury"; film based on largely dialogue-free recurring "SNL" skit starring Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan
1999:
Produced comedy "Superstar" based on popular "SNL" character Mary Katherine Gallagher (Molly Shannon); helmed by "Kids in the Hall" member Bruce McCulloch
2000:
Produced "The Ladies Man," based on popular "SNL" sketch starring Tim Meadows
2001:
Co-produced with Mick Jagger World War II-set thriller "Enigma," directed by Michael Apted
2012:
Produced road trip comedy "The Guilt Trip," starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Forest Hill High School: Toronto , Ontario -
University of Toronto: Toronto , Ontario - 1966

Notes

Inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame in 1998.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Rosie Shuster. Writer. Daughter of Frank Shuster, half of celebrated Canadian comedy team Wayne and Shuster; met Michaels in high school when she was 14 and he was 16; divorced.
wife:
Susan Forristal. Married in 1981; divorced.
wife:
Alice Barry. Married in 1991; Michaels' assistant on "Saturday Night Live"; born c. 1965.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Florence Lipowitz.
son:
Henry Abraham Michaels. Born on April 3, 1992; mother, Alice Berry.

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