Lorne Michaels: Television producer (1944-) | Biography
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Lorne Michaels
Television producer

Lorne Michaels

Lorne Michaels
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Television producer
Is Screenwriter Film producer Actor Television actor Film actor
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 17 November 1944, Louisiana, USA; Toronto, Canada
Age 78 years
Star sign Scorpio
Spouse: Rosie Shuster
University of Toronto
Companion of the Order of Canada 2002
Primetime Emmy Award 1975
International Emmy Directorate Award 2010
Presidential Medal of Freedom 2016
Mark Twain Prize for American Humor 2004
Canada's Walk of Fame 2003
The details (from wikipedia)


Lorne Michaels CC (born Lorne David Lipowitz; November 17, 1944) is a Canadian-American television producer, writer, actor and comedian best known for creating and producing Saturday Night Live and producing the Late Night series (since 1993), The Kids in the Hall (from 1989 to 1995) and The Tonight Show (since 2014).

Early life

Place of birth

Lorne Michaels was born on November 17, 1944, to Florence (née Becker) and Henry Abraham Lipowitz. His place of birth is disputed; multiple sources have said he was born in Toronto, Ontario in Canada while others state he was born on a kibbutz in British-mandate Palestine (now Israel) and that his Jewish family emigrated to Toronto when he was an infant.

Personal life

Michaels and his two younger siblings were raised in Toronto; he attended Forest Hill Collegiate Institute. He graduated from University College, Toronto, where he majored in English, in 1966. Michaels became a US citizen in 1987 and was inducted into the Order of Canada in 2002.

Michaels has three children and has been married three times. During the early 1960s, he began a relationship with Rosie Shuster, daughter of his comedy mentor Frank Shuster of the Wayne and Shuster comedy team, who later worked with him on Saturday Night Live as a writer. Michaels and Shuster were married in 1971 and divorced in 1980. He married model Susan Forristal in 1981, which ended in divorce in 1987. Michaels married his current wife and former assistant, Alice Barry, in 1991.


Early career

Michaels began his career as a writer and broadcaster for CBC Radio. He moved to Los Angeles from Toronto in 1968 to work as a writer for Laugh-In and The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show. He starred with Hart Pomerantz in The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour, a Canadian comedy series that ran briefly in the early 1970s.

Saturday Night Live

In 1975 Michaels 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 (initially there was a name conflict with an ABC show titled Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell, which debuted September 20, 1975, and was cancelled on November 26, 1975). 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 the United States.

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 is known for his deadpan humor. Throughout the show's history, SNL has been nominated for more than 156 Emmy Awards and has won 36. 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, has appeared in episodes, one of which was during the show's 30th season hosted by Johnny Knoxville during the monologue when Lorne introduces Johnny Knoxville to his daughter and Sophie shocks Knoxville with a taser. She also appeared in a sketch about underage drinking when Zac Efron hosted the show.

Perhaps Michaels's best-known appearance occurred in the first season when he offered the Beatles $3,000 (a deliberately paltry sum) to reunite on the show. He later upped his offer to $3,200, but the money was never claimed. According to an interview in Playboy magazine, John Lennon and Paul McCartney happened to be in New York City that night and wanted to see 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 tired. This near-reunion was the basis for the TV movie Two of Us. On the November 20, 1976 show, musical guest George Harrison appeared, but Michaels told him the offer was conditioned on all four members of the group showing up, not just any Beatle. Harrison tells Michaels his refusal to pay him his share is "chintzy," and Michaels counters by saying, "The Beatles don't have to split the money equally. They can give, say, Ringo less if they want."

Chris Kattan claims that he was pressured by Michaels to have sex with Amy Heckerling so she would direct the film A Night at the Roxbury (although she ultimately only produced, rather than directed it).

Other work

Michaels started Broadway Video in 1979, producing such shows as The Kids in the Hall. Shortly afterwards, citing burnout, he left Saturday Night Live. He returned to the show in 1985.

During his SNL hiatus, Michaels created another sketch show titled The New Show, which debuted on Friday nights in prime time on NBC in January 1984. The show failed to garner the same enthusiasm as SNL and lasted only 9 episodes before being cancelled.

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.

Michaels is also the executive producer of NBC show Late Night, and was the executive producer of 30 Rock and Up All Night during their runs.

On April 3, 2013, it was announced that Michaels would be taking over as the executive producer for The Tonight Show. Consequently, The Tonight Show moved to New York in early 2014 as The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

In popular culture

In a 2008 interview with Playboy, as well in various other interviews, Tina Fey admitted that Alec Baldwin's character Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock is inspired by Michaels. In a different interview, on NPR's radio show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, Baldwin stated that some of his inspiration for Donaghy was drawn from Michaels.

The character Dr. Evil, the antagonist of Austin Powers in three films, has mannerisms and a speaking style based on Lorne Michaels. Dr. Evil was created and portrayed by SNL alumnus Mike Myers, who was at least partially influenced by fellow SNL performer Dana Carvey's impression of Michaels.

In The Kids in the Hall movie Brain Candy, the character of Don Roritor was based heavily on actor Mark McKinney’s impersonation of Lorne Michaels.


In 1999, Michaels was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame and was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 2003, he received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.

In 2004, he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Speaking at the awards ceremony, original Saturday Night Live cast member Dan Aykroyd described the show as "the primary satirical voice of the country".

Michaels received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in 2006, Canada's highest honour in the performing arts.

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".

In 2012, Michaels was awarded a rare Personal Peabody Award. He accepted at a ceremony in New York City at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

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The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 31 Mar 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who is Lorne Michaels?
A: Lorne Michaels is a Canadian-American television producer and screenwriter. He is best known for creating and producing the long-running sketch comedy show "Saturday Night Live" since its inception in 1975.
Q: What is Lorne Michaels' full name?
A: Lorne Michaels' full name is Lorne David Lipowitz.
Q: When and where was Lorne Michaels born?
A: Lorne Michaels was born on November 17, 1944, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Q: What other shows has Lorne Michaels produced?
A: Apart from "Saturday Night Live," Lorne Michaels has produced several other successful television shows, including "The Kids in the Hall," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," and "30 Rock."
Q: What accolades has Lorne Michaels received?
A: Lorne Michaels has received numerous accolades for his work in television. He has been awarded 14 Primetime Emmy Awards and has been inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. He has also been awarded the Governor General's Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in Canada.
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