Michaels at the 72nd Annual Peabody Award Ceremony, 2013.
|Birth name||Lorne Lipowitz|
November 17, 1944|
(m. 1973; div. 1980)
(m. 1981; div. 1987)
Lorne Michaels CM (born Lorne Lipowitz; November 17, 1944) is a Canadian-American television producer, writer, comedian, and actor, best known for creating and producing Saturday Night Live, and producing the Late Night series (since 1993), and The Tonight Show (since 2014).
He was born Lorne Lipowitz to Florence Becker and Henry Abraham Lipowitz, a furrier, in British occupied Palestine. They moved to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, while he was an infant. He is Jewish. He has two younger siblings: a sister, Barbara Lipowitz, who currently resides in Toronto, and a brother, Mark Lipowitz, who died from a brain tumor. Michaels attended the Forest Hill Collegiate Institute in Toronto and graduated from University College, University of Toronto, where he majored in English, in 1966. 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 which ran briefly in the early 1970s. During the late 1960s, Michaels married Rosie Shuster, who later worked with him on Saturday Night Live as a writer. She was the daughter of Frank Shuster, one half of the famous comedy team, Wayne and Shuster. Michaels and Shuster were divorced in 1980.
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' 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."
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.
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 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, and awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2004, he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Speaking at the awards ceremony, original Saturday Night Live cast member Dan Aykroyd described Michaels 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."
On November 16, 2016 it was announced that Michaels will be one of the 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.
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.
Michaels became a U.S. citizen in 1987. He has three children. He has been married three times, first to SNL writer Rosie Shuster (1967; div. 1980), then to model Susan Forristal (1984; div. 1987), and currently to his former assistant Alice Barry (1991 to present).
- Gilda Live (1980)
- 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)
- Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy (1996)
- A Night at the Roxbury (1998)
- Superstar (1999)
- Man on the Moon (1999)
- The Ladies Man (2000)
- Enigma (2001)
- Mean Girls (2004)
- Hot Rod (2007)
- Baby Mama (2008)
- MacGruber (2010)
- The Guilt Trip (2012)
- Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)
- Masterminds (2016)
Selected television credits
- The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour (1970–1971) (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 Concert in Central Park (1982) (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 (1993–2009) (executive producer)
- Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego (1996–1998) (executive producer)
- The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch (2002) (executive producer)
- The Colin Quinn Show (2002) (executive producer)
- Sons and Daughters (2006) (producer)
- 30 Rock (2006–2013) (executive producer)
- Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2009–2014) (executive producer)
- Portlandia (2011–present) (executive producer)
- Up All Night (2011–2013) (executive producer)
- The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2014–present) (executive producer)
- Late Night with Seth Meyers (2014–present) (executive producer)
- Mulaney (2014–2015) (executive producer)
- The Maya Rudolph Show (2014) (executive producer)
- Man Seeking Woman (2015) (executive producer)
- Documentary Now! (2015–Present) (executive producer)
- Maya & Marty (2016-) (executive producer)
- "Lorne Michaels Biography (1944–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
- "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly (1181). November 18, 2011. p. 34.
- "Lorne Michaels: the inscrutable kingmaker of comedy". The Guardian. February 17, 2014.
- Shriver, Ryan. "Lorne Michaels". The New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
- "Lorne Michaels Biography (1944-)". filmreference.com.
- "Jews in the News: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Neil Simon and Lorne Michaels". jewishtampa.com.
- "Lorne Michaels". The New York Times. Retrieved January 4, 2009.
- "2006 Governor General's Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement". Bce.ca. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
- HelloStuart User Score 13 , Last Online 8 hrs, 50 mins ago (June 19, 1950). "Rosie Shuster". TV.com. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
- "SNL Transcripts: Beatles Offer, April 24, 1976". Snltranscripts.jt.org. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
- Order of Canada Citation
- Canada's Walk of Fame: Lorne Michaels, television producer, Saturday Night Live Archived June 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- "'SNL' creator Lorne Michaels honored - today > entertainment - today > entertainment > tv - TODAY.com". TODAY.com.
- "Lorne Michaels biography". Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- 72nd Annual Peabody Awards, May 2013.
- "These Are The 21 People Receiving The Nation's Highest Civilian Honor". npr.org. November 16, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
- Unscripted with Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey on YouTube – 1:56–2:38. Retrieved September 5, 2010
- "'Wayne's World': How Mike Myers and Dana Carvey Resolved Their Feud". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Gates, Anita (October 8, 1999). "Superstar (1999) FILM REVIEW; The Things She'll Do For Fame and a Date". The New York Times.
- "The Maya Rudolph Show". NBC.
- "FXX Takes Out Personal Ad for "Man Seeking Woman"". The Futon Critic. July 2, 2014. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
- Official website
- Audio of Lorne Michaels 1967 comedy act with Hart Pomerantz
- Lorne Michaels on National Public Radio in 2005
- The Museum of Broadcast Communications – Encyclopedia of Television "Saturday Night Live"
- Lorne Michaels at the Internet Movie Database