Lorne Michaels

Lorne Michaels

Infobox Comedian
name = Lorne Michaels

imagesize = 200px
caption = Lorne Michaels, April 2008
birth_name = Lorne David Lipowitz
birth_date = birth date and age|mf=yes|1944|11|17
birth_place = Toronto, Ontario, Canada
medium = film, television
nationality = Canadian
active = 1968 – present
spouse = Rosie Shuster (1973 – 1980) (divorced)
Susan Forristal (1981 – 1987) (divorced)
Alice Barry (1991 – present) 3 children
notable_work = "Saturday Night Live"
website = [http://www.lornemichaels.com/ Official website]
emmyawards = Outstanding Comedy Series
2007 "30 Rock"
Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
1976 "Saturday Night Live"
1977 "Saturday Night Live"
1993 "Saturday Night Live"
Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special
1999 "Saturday Night Live: 25th Anniversary"
Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program
1978 "Saturday Night Live"
1989 "Saturday Night Live"
2002 "Saturday Night Live"
Outstanding Writing in a Variety, Music or Comedy Special
1973 "Lily (1973 special)"
1975 "The Lily Tomlin Special"
1977 "The Paul Simon Special"

Lorne Michaels (born November 17, 1944) is a Canadian-American Emmy-winning television producer, writer and comedian best known for creating and producing "Saturday Night Live" and producing the various film and TV projects that spun off from it.


Early life

Michaels was born Lorne David Lipowitz in Toronto, Ontario, the son of Florence (née Becker) and Henry Abraham Lipowitz, who was a furrier. [http://www.filmreference.com/film/57/Lorne-Michaels.html Lorne Michaels Biography (1944-) ] ] Michaels began his career as a writer and broadcaster for CBC Radio. [http://www.bce.ca/ggawards/en/p_michaels_l.html 2006 Governor General's Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement] ] He moved to Los Angeles from Toronto in 1968 to work as a writer for "Laugh-In" and "The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show". During the late 1960s, Michaels married Rosie Shuster, who later worked with him on "Saturday Night Live" as a writer. [ [http://www.tv.com/rosie-shuster/person/13663/summary.html Rosie Shuster - TV.com ] ] She was the daughter of Frank Shuster, one half of the famous comedy team, Wayne and Shuster. Michaels and Shuster were divorced in 1980. Michaels was the eldest of the Lipowitz children. He has a sister, Barbara Lipowitz, who currently resides in Toronto and a brother, Mark Lipowitz, who passed away from a brain tumor.

"Saturday Night Live"

In 1975, Michaels co-created (with fellow NBC employee Dick Ebersol and president of the network Herb Schlosser) the TV show "NBC's Saturday Night", which in 1977 changed its name to "Saturday Night Live." The show, which is performed live in front of a studio audience, immediately established a reputation for being cutting edge and unpredictable. It became a vehicle for launching the careers of some of the most successful comedians in North America.

Originally the producer of the show, Michaels was also a writer and later became executive producer. He occasionally appears on-screen as well, where he's known for being very deadpan. However, during the October 28, 2006 episode, Michaels laughed at himself after mispronouncing "Kazakhstan" while introducing Borat. Throughout the show's history, "SNL" has been nominated for more than 80 Emmy Awards and has won 18. It has consistently been one of the highest-rated late-night television programs. Michaels has been with "SNL" for all seasons except for his hiatus in the early 1980s (seasons 6-10).

His daughter Sophie once appeared in an episode during the show's 30th season hosted by Johnny Knoxville during the monologue where Lorne introduces Johnny Knoxville to his daughter and Sophie shocks Knoxville with a taser.

Perhaps Michaels' best known appearance occurred in the first season when he offered the Beatles $3000.00 - a deliberately paltry sum - to reunite on the show. [ [http://snltranscripts.jt.org/75/75rbeatles.phtml SNL Transcripts: Beatles Offer, April 24, 1976] ] He later upped his promise to $3200, but the money was never claimed. According to an interview in Playboy magazine, former Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney happened to be in New York City that night and saw the show. They very nearly went, but changed their minds as it was getting too late to get to the show on time, and they were both quite tired by that point.

Despite the program's success, he has been known to have had combative relationships with several cast members, and is generally portrayed by media onlookers as a harsh but evidently effective boss. An example of the harshness is his rather active disdain of improvisation during the performances of SNL. This is somewhat ironic, as many performers on SNL over the years have had extensive background and training in improvisational comedy.

Other work

Michaels started Broadway Video in 1979, producing such shows as "The Kids in the Hall".

During his "SNL" hiatus, Michaels created another sketch show entitled "The New Show", which debuted on Friday nights in prime time on NBC in January 1984.

In the 1980s, Michaels appeared in an HBO mockumentary titled "The Canadian Conspiracy" about the supposed subversion of the United States by Canadian-born media personalities, with Lorne Greene as the leader of the conspiracy. Michaels was identified as the anointed successor to Greene.


In 1999, Michaels was inducted into the "Television Academy Hall of Fame". In 2002, Michaels was made a member of the "Order of Canada" for lifetime achievement, [ [http://www.gg.ca/honours/search-recherche/honours-desc.asp?lang=e&TypeID=orc&id=6467 Order of Canada Citation] ] and awarded a star on the "Hollywood Walk of Fame".

In 2003, he received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame. [ [http://www.canadaswalkoffame.com/inductees/03_lorne_michaels.xml.htm Canada's Walk of Fame: Lorne Michaels, television producer, Saturday Night Live ] ]

In 2004, he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. [ [http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6332188/ "SNL" creator Michaels honored] , an October 2004 AP story via MSNBC] Speaking at the awards ceremony, original "Saturday Night Live" cast member Dan Aykroyd described Michaels as "the primary satirical voice of the country."

In Canada, Michaels also received a 2006 Governor General's Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.

In 2008, Michaels was awarded the Webby for Film & Video Lifetime Achievement. With the allotted 5-words allowed to each recipient, his five word acceptance speech was "Five words is not enough."

Michaels in popular culture

Dr. Evil, a character in Mike Myers' Austin Powers films, has been rumored to be partly based on Michaels.Shales, Tom. "Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live. Back Bay Books, 2003.] Myers has denied the rumors, saying that the two share only a voice.

Mark McKinney of the comedy team, "The Kids in the Hall" has stated that his character, Don Roritor, the president of Roritor Pharmaceuticals in the film "Brain Candy", is based on Lorne Michaels.

Michaels was played by Ari Cohen in the 2002 TV movie "".

In a 2008 interview with Playboy Magazine, Tina Fey has admitted that Alec Baldwin's character on 30 Rock is inspired by Michaels.

Personal life

Michaels became a U.S. citizen in 1987. He has two sons, Henry and Edward, and a daughter, Sophie. He has been married three times, first to Rosie Shuster (1973; div. 1980), then to model Susan Forristal (1984; div. 1987), and currently to his former assistant Alice Barry (1991 to present). Lorne gave money to the campaign of Senator Chris Dodd for the 2008 presidential election Democratic primary, and later to Senator John McCain in the general election. [http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?type=name&lname=Michaels&fname=Lorne]


As producer, except as noted
* "Gilda Live" (1980) (writer and producer)
* "Nothing Lasts Forever" (1984)
* "¡Three Amigos!" (1986)
* "Wayne's World" (1992)
* "Coneheads" (1993)
* "Wayne's World 2" (1993)
* "Lassie" (1994)
* "Tommy Boy" (1995)
* "Stuart Saves His Family" (1995)
* "Black Sheep" (1996)
* "" (1996)
* "A Night at the Roxbury" (1998)
* "Man On the Moon" (1999) (appearing as self, uncredited)
* "The Ladies Man" (2000)
* "Enigma" (2001)
* "Mean Girls" (2004)
* "Hot Rod" (2007)
* "Baby Mama" (2008)

elected television credits

* "The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour" (1970-71) (costar, writer, producer)
* "Saturday Night Live" (1975-1980; 1985-present) (executive producer, creator)
* "All You Need Is Cash" (aka "The Rutles") (1978) (executive producer)
* "Mr. Mike's Mondo Video" (1979) (executive producer)
* "The New Show" (1984) (producer)
* "Sunday Night" (1988-1990) (executive producer)
* "The Kids in the Hall" (1989) (executive producer)
* "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (1993-present) (executive producer)
* "" (2002) (executive producer)
* "The Colin Quinn Show" (2002) (executive producer)
* "30 Rock (2006) (executive producer)


External links

* [http://www.lornemichaels.com/ Official website]
* [http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/S/htmlS/saturdaynigh/saturdaynigh.htm The Museum of Broadcast Communications - "Encyclopedia of Television" "Saturday Night Live"]
*imdb name|id=0584427|name=Lorne Michaels
* [http://www.imdb.com/company/co0061347/ Broadway Video productions] from Internet Movie Database
* [http://www.kruegerbooks.com/books/sig/michaels-lorne.html Signature and Picture of Lorne Michaels]

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