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Louie Anderson plays Celebrity Family Feud for local charity

Louie Anderson. Submitted photo

When Thomas Anderson died in his sleep in February 2016, his brother, comedian Louie Anderson, paid tribute to his younger sibling in interviews with various news outlets. Thomas was the inspiration for the title of brother Louie’s first major comedy special, titled, “Mom! Louie’s Looking at Me Again!” 

Now he's lending a hand to one of his brother's favorite organizations. Thomas Anderson, 60, lived at Red Rock Manor, a retirement community in Newport. One of his favorite places was Stone Soup Thrift Shop in St. Paul Park, Louie Anderson said.

"They were very good to him," the comedian said in an email. "Tommy was the baby of the family, super smart, very funny, (he) loved people and people loved him. He often went to Stone Soup and would get things for others. We loved to watch baseball and basketball over the phone (and talk) while we watched the games."

Earlier this year, Anderson and a team of relatives competed on Celebrity Family Feud, a game show where teams play for a designated charity. The episode will air July 23 at 7 p.m. local time, 8 p.m. EST on ABC. 

"As a teenager I use to sit in our house with Mom and Dad and Tommy, watching the Feud, and then I got to host the show, now being on the show as a contestant, with my family is the full circle for me," he said.

If Team Anderson wins, Stone Soup will get $25,000. If they lose, they’ll get $10,000.  

Small wonder that Vickie Snyder was skeptical when a staffer told her they’d been contacted by ABC and asked to provide documents to confirm their nonprofit status. Snyder is the board president of Basic Needs, Inc., Stone Soup’s parent organization.

“We were wondering, ‘Is this a hoax?’” Snyder said.

It wasn’t, manager and board member Katie Schwartz told her.

“She’s like, ‘I started looking into this. This is legit.’ I said, ‘Really?’”

Red Rock Manor resident Janice LeClaire was friendly with Tommy and his sister, who lived with him. 

“When he first moved in… I asked him if he ever heard of Stone Soup,” she said. “I took him to get a voucher. I took him shopping there a couple times.”

It was hard to get him to leave, she joked.

“He really loved it there. He found unique things relatively on the inexpensive side. I think they all knew him by his first name because of his jokes. “

He stayed in touch with Louie Anderson, LeClaire said.

“He had come to visit Tom a couple times," she said. "He would bring him clothes and stuff once and awhile. When he was in town working Tom would always go to his show.”  

Along with their nine siblings, the brothers endured an impoverished upbringing in St. Paul with a mother who did her best to protect them from their abusive, alcoholic father. Louie Anderson has authored three books and recently won an Emmy for his cross-dressing role as Christine in the FX comedy series “Baskets.” He has said that he modeled the character on his mother and his five sisters.

On Celebrity Family Feud, two teams — usually an actor, star athlete, singer and their relatives — compete to answer such questions as “Name something you would find in your refrigerator.” After one team ventures an answer, host Steve Harvey responds, "Survey says…” Points are awarded to the team whose answer most closely matches the survey results.

Anderson’s team includes his brother Jim Anderson and his nephew Jim Anderson, Jr., and sister-in-laws Nettie and Valerie Anderson. They’ll play against actress Christina Milan and her family.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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