Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Real Reason Louie Anderson Was Cast In Coming To America

On Friday morning, news broke that the beloved comedian Louie Anderson had passed away at the age of 68. The Emmy winner is perhaps best known for creating the autobiographical cartoon "Life with Louie," as well as his career of scene-stealing supporting roles across the film and TV worlds. 

Anderson's final film performance was in "Coming 2 America," the long-awaited sequel to the 1988 comedy "Coming to America." The original film is widely regarded as a cult classic and follows a pampered prince (later king) from the fictional African country of Zamunda (Eddie Murphy) who travels to America with his best friend (Arsenio Hall) in search of a wife. Once there, he winds up working at a knock-off McDonald's in New York City.

For the sequel, Anderson reprised his role as Maurice, a lettuce-washing employee at McDowell's who works alongside Prince Joffer. In a 2017 interview with Sway in the Morning, Anderson recalls being offered the part shortly after discreetly covering Murphy's bill at a restaurant in a gesture of Midwestern kindness. He jokingly called it "the best $660 I ever spent."

However, Murphy and Hall revealed another reason for Anderson's casting in "Coming to America."

Paramount apparently insisted that Coming to America needed a white character

In March 2021, Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" to promote "Coming 2 America." They reflected on the film's success and revealed that they were apparently "forced" to include a white character in "Coming to America," which is where Louie Anderson came in.

"I love Louie, but I think we were forced to put Louie in it," Hall said. "I think we were forced to put a white person." He went on to say that this demand was "really official," sharing that he was given a list of three white actors to choose from. Out of those three, Anderson was apparently the top pick.

"Paramount was like, because the whole cast was Black and this was back in the '80s ... So it was like 'We have to have a white person ... There has to be a white person in the movie,'" Murphy explained. He continued on to add, "So who was the funniest white guy around? Louie, we knew was cool, so that's how Louie got in the movie." 

So, while it wasn't entirely the Midwestern charm that got Louie Anderson cast in "Coming to America," the gesture speaks volumes about the late comedian.