Lorne David Lipowitz
November 17, 1944
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, 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.
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.
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 Rowan & Martin's 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 January 17, 1976). 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 increased 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 conditional on all four members of the group showing up, not just any Beatle. Harrison told Michaels his refusal to pay him his share is "chintzy," and Michaels countered by saying, "The Beatles don't have to split the money equally. They can give, say, Ringo less if they want."
Michaels founded the production company Broadway Video in 1979, which has produced SNL since 1981 as well as other shows such as Canadian sketch-comedy The Kids in the Hall which began airing in 1988 on CBC in Canada, debuting in the US market in 1989 on cable television network HBO until moving to CBS in 1993.
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.
|1979||Mr. Mike's Mondo Video||Executive producer|
|1980||Gilda Live||Producer, writer|
|1984||Nothing Lasts Forever||Producer|
|1986||Three Amigos||Producer, writer|
|1993||Wayne's World 2||Producer|
|1995||Stuart Saves His Family||Producer|
|1996||Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy||Producer|
|1998||A Night at the Roxbury||Producer|
|1999||Man on the Moon||Cameo as himself|
|2000||The Ladies Man||Producer|
|2012||The Guilt Trip||Producer|
|2015||Staten Island Summer||Producer|
|2016||Whiskey Tango Foxtrot||Producer|
|2017||Sandy Wexler||Cameo as himself|
|1970–1971||The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour||Costar, writer, producer||Variety sketch series, CBC|
|Saturday Night Live||Executive producer, creator||Variety sketch series, NBC|
|1978||All You Need is Cash: The Rutles||Executive producer||Television movie|
|1982||The Concert in Central Park||Executive producer||Concert special, HBO|
|1984||The New Show||Producer||Variety sketch series, NBC|
|1988–1990||Sunday Night||Executive producer||Late night television, NBC|
|1988||40th Primetime Emmy Awards||Executive producer||Awards ceremony, NBC|
|1988–1995||The Kids in the Hall||Executive producer||Variety sketch series, CBC|
|1993–2009||Late Night with Conan O'Brien||Executive producer||Variety talk series, NBC|
|2002||The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch||Executive producer||Television film|
|2002||The Colin Quinn Show||Executive producer||Variety talk series, NBC|
|2006||Sons and Daughters||Producer||Television series, ABC|
|2006–2013||30 Rock||Executive producer||Television series, NBC|
|2009–2014||Late Night with Jimmy Fallon||Executive producer||Variety talk series, NBC|
|2011–2018||Portlandia||Executive producer||Variety sketch series, IFC|
|2011–2013||Up All Night||Executive producer||Television series, NBC|
|2013–2015||The Awesomes||Executive producer||Television series, Hulu|
|2014–present||The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon||Executive producer||Variety talk series, NBC|
|2014–present||Late Night with Seth Meyers||Executive producer||Variety talk series, NBC|
|2014||Howard Stern Birthday Bash||Himself||Television special|
|2014–2015||Mulaney||Executive producer||Television series, Fox|
|2014||The Maya Rudolph Show||Executive producer||Variety talk series, IFC|
|2015–2017||Man Seeking Woman||Executive producer||Variety sketch series, FX|
|2015–present||Documentary Now!||Executive producer||Variety sketch series, IFC|
|2015||Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special||Executive producer, himself||Television special, NBC|
|2015||Adele Live in New York City||Executive producer||Television special, NBC|
|2016||Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee||Guest - Himself||Episode: "Everybody Likes to See the Monkeys", Netflix|
|2016||Maya & Marty||Executive producer||Variety sketch series, NBC|
|2017–2018||Detroiters||Executive producer||Television series, Comedy Central|
|2017||The David S. Pumpkins Halloween Special||Executive producer||Television special, NBC|
|2018–present||A.P. Bio||Executive producer||Television series, NBC/Peacock|
|2018||70th Primetime Emmy Awards||Executive producer||Awards ceremony, NBC|
|2018||Love, Gilda||Himself||Documentary, HBO|
|2018||Norm Macdonald Has a Show||Guest - Himself||Episode: "Lorne Michaels", Netflix|
|2019–2021||Shrill||Executive producer||Television series, Hulu|
|2019–present||Miracle Workers||Executive producer||Television series, TBS|
|2019–present||The Other Two||Executive producer||Television series, Comedy Central/HBO Max|
|2020||Mark Twain Prize: Dave Chappelle||Himself||Awards ceremony, PBS|
|2020||Mapleworth Murders||Executive producer||Television series, Quibi|
|2021||Kenan||Executive producer||Television series, NBC|
|2021||That Damn Michael Che||Executive producer||Television series, HBO Max|
|2021||Schmigadoon!||Executive producer||Television series, Apple TV+|
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 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".
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".
|Companion of the Order of Canada (C.C.)||
|Member of the Order of Canada (C.M.)||
|Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for Canada||
|Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for Canada||
|Presidential Medal of Freedom|
- "Lorne Michaels: Biography". Britannica.com. August 26, 2015. Archived from the original on September 21, 2015. Retrieved August 26, 2015.
- Robinson, Joanna (January 26, 2015). "Lorne Michaels: Biography Book Saturday Night Live". VanityFair.com. Archived from the original on January 27, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
- "Lorne Michaels: Official SNL Bio". NBC.com. January 1, 2017. Archived from the original on December 27, 2016. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
- Kennedy, John R. (April 16, 2016). "Toronto-born SNL Creator Lorne Michaels on Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People List". Global News. Archived from the original on April 9, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
- "Lorne Michaels". emmys.com. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
- "Lorne Michaels: Saturday Night Live Creator". NBC. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
- Swaine, Jon (February 17, 2014). "Lorne Michaels: the inscrutable kingmaker of comedy". the Guardian. Archived from the original on July 8, 2016. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
- "Lorne Michaels | Biography, Saturday Night Live, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
- Swaine, Jon (February 17, 2014). "Lorne Michaels: the inscrutable kingmaker of comedy". The Guardian. Archived from the original on August 23, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
- Kaplan, Don (May 12, 2013). "Lorne Michaels, the Kingmaker of Comedy". NY Daily News. Archived from the original on August 26, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
- "Lorne Michaels". Biography.com. A&E Television Networks. November 21, 2016. Archived from the original on August 26, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
- Simon, Paul. "Paul Simon on Friend and S.N.L. Creator Lorne Michaels". Vanityfair.com. Archived from the original on January 19, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
- "Gal Gadot hosts Saturday Night Live, sends a message in Hebrew to her Israeli fans - OMG - Jerusalem Post". Jpost.com. Archived from the original on April 3, 2019. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
- "Jews in the News: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Neil Simon and Lorne Michaels". Tampa Jewish Community Centers & Federation. February 11, 2015. Archived from the original on August 23, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
- Robinson, Joanna (February 26, 2016). "New Lorne Michaels Biography Will Look at How Political Correctness Has Changed Saturday Night Live". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on July 15, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
- Shriver, Ryan (2008). "Lorne Michaels". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on March 21, 2008.
- Ginsberg, Gabriella (February 18, 2015). "Lorne Michaels". Hollywood Life. Archived from the original on August 26, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
- Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, Information and Media Services (April 30, 2009). "Honours: Order of Canada - Lorne Michaels, C.M., LL.D." Governor General of Canada Archives. Government of Canada. Archived from the original on August 26, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
- Smith, Chris (March 13, 1995). "Comedy Isn't Funny". New York Magazine. Archived from the original on September 11, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
- Staff (February 6, 2015). "Biography and Filmography: Rosie Shuster". Hollywood.com. Archived from the original on August 26, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
- "Award Recipients: Lorne Michaels 2006 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Broadcasting)". Governor General's Performing Arts Awards. Archived from the original on August 26, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
- "SNL Transcripts: Beatles Offer, April 24, 1976". Snltranscripts.jt.org. Archived from the original on May 25, 2011. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
- "John Lennon: The Playboy Interview September 1980". Archived from the original on November 13, 2006.
- Porter, Rick (December 3, 2019). "Lorne Michaels' Quibi Murder Mystery Lines Up All-Star Cast". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
- 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. Archived from the original on November 22, 2019. Retrieved February 18, 2020.
- Higgins, Chris. "25 Things You Might Not Know About 'Brain Candy'". Mental Floss. Archived from the original on January 2, 2017. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
- "Lorne Michaels: Latest News & Photos". NY Daily News. Archived from the original on August 26, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
- "Lorne Michaels: 2003 Inductee". Canada's Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on June 5, 2008.
- "'SNL' creator Michaels honored". Today.com. Associated Press. October 25, 2004. Archived from the original on November 24, 2018. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
- "2008 Webby Award Winner: Lorne Michaels". The Webby Awards. Archived from the original on August 26, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
- "Personal Award: Lorne Michaels". Peabody Awards. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia. Archived from the original on August 26, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
- "Mr. Lorne Michaels | The Governor General of Canada". Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
- "Mr. Lorne Michaels | The Governor General of Canada". Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
- "Lorne Michaels | The Governor General of Canada". Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
- Harris, Gardiner (November 22, 2016). "Obama Awards His Last Presidential Medals of Freedom". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 26, 2017. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
- Official website
- Lorne Michaels at IMDb
- Lorne Michaels discography at Discogs
- The Museum of Broadcast Communications – Encyclopedia of Television "Saturday Night Live"
- Talking About Lorne Michaels at The Interviews: An Oral History of Television
- Audio of Lorne Michaels 1967 comedy act with Hart Pomerantz
- Lorne Michaels on National Public Radio in 2005