LORNE MICHAELS Biography - Producers, publishers & editors


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Name: Lorne Michaels                                                                   
Born: 17 November 1944 Canada                                                           
Lorne Michaels (born Lorne David Lipowitz on November 17, 1944) is an Emmy-winning     
Canadian 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.                                                                 
Born in Toronto, Ontario, 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. 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.             
Michaels was the eldest of the Lipowtiz children. He has a sister, Barbara             
Lipowitz, who current resides in Toronto and Mark Lipowitz, who passed away from       
a brain tumor.                                                                         
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,       
including Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray,           
Eddie Murphy (who was on the Dick Ebersol produced Saturday Night Live during           
Michaels' absence), Phil Hartman, Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Dennis Miller, Chris         
Rock, David Spade, Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Molly Shannon, Will Ferrell,             
Chris Kattan and Tina Fey.                                                             
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. 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. In 2000, VH1           
produced a television movie entitled Two of Us, which offered a fictionalized           
account of this event.                                                                 
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. The disdain on             
Michaels' part may be due in no small part to the fact that the scripts tend to         
be worked on extensively through the week for the skits, and any deviation or           
improvisation is seen by Michaels as affecting the flow and timing of the show.         
Michaels started Broadway Video in 1979, producing such shows as The Kids in the       
During his SNL hiatus, Michaels created another sketch show entiltled The New           
Show, which debuted on Friday nights in prime time on NBC in January 1984. It           
was critically panned and was a failure in the ratings which led to its                 
cancellation after only 2 months.                                                       
In the 1980s, Lorne 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.