In “Coming to America,” Louie Anderson Played the “Token White Person” and He Cherished It

Louie Anderson’s unfortunate death has shocked the fans to the core. He was only 68 years old and cancer has snatched his life from him. Louie Anderson rose to fame much before Eddie Murphy’s cult classic released in 1988, Coming to America. But still, he is remembered for his role in Coming to America. He played the character Maurice and his life hasn’t been the same ever since. His career had changed ever since the film happened. 

What Was Maurice All About in Coming to America?

Anderson played the role of a loveable character Maurice, as you already know. He was just another employee in McDowell’s, a fast-food chain that we got accustomed to in the film. His ultimate goal was to become an assistant manager. If we have to mark his words, he said that he had “big bucks start rolling in” as soon as he became the manager. 

We also see Maurice meeting Murphy’s Prince Akeem. It happened when the African Royal along with his aide Semmi were doing cleaning tasks. 

How Did Anderson Get the Role of Maurice?

There is quite an interesting back story about how Anderson got the role. Back in 2017, he narrated a story and said that he was familiar with Murphy through the comedy club named the Comedy Store. He used a very Midwestern way to bag the offer. 

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During the mid-’80s Anderson had small parts in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and even Ratboy. There was also a couple of other TV series where he was featured. Well, he didn’t have to do it to get fame as he was already crazy famous. He was a part of Saturday Night Live and so, he needs no introduction.

While narrating his casting story, Anderson said that one day in the 80s he and Murphy were dining in the same hotel, Ivy in Beverly.

Murphy came separately with his Grigio and Murphy asked to include Murphy’s bill in his credit card, however, Murphy must not know of it until Anderson left. In the interview with Sway in the Morning, he stated, “Eddie comes in with his entourage — you know, six, eight, 10 people. I go, ‘Listen, put Eddie’s bill on my card, but don’t tell him till after I leave.” 

Well, the plan seemed to work and Murphy called Anderson to thank him and said that this was a one-of-a-kind gesture that he never had experienced. To be courteous towards him, Murphy asked him to play a part in the film Coming to America which will later be known as a historic masterpiece. Anderson got the role without auditioning.  

“That’s life, isn’t it? That was it,`”And it was the best $660 I ever spent.” 

How Did Anderson Become the Token White Guy? 

Coming 2 America 2 was out in the theatres in 2021 and Anderson was also a part of this sequel. While promoting, Murphy and Hall shared a little secret. In Jimmy Kimmel, they revealed that Paramount Pictures literally “forced” to introduce a white character in the film. 

Murphy said, “[T]he whole cast is Black — and this was back in the ’80s — so [Paramount] was like, ‘We have to have a white person! There has to be a white person in the movie.’” 

The studio gave them a choice between three white guys and asked who would Hall like to work with and the choice was Louie.

But it certainly didn’t have any impact on Anderson. He loved being a part of the sequel and so said to CBS Local, “I loved it, and it was the most fun thing in the world,” “It was so great to get on the set and then run right into [actor] John Amos. … Everybody looks good. I am the token white guy, that’s what Eddie Murphy called me in the first movie. It was great getting back together with everybody, and it was a great experience.”

Now that he is gone too early, his films remain as a memory. The hard work he had put in throughout the years was appreciated by all. Even if he was not the first choice, he remained the ultimate choice for the audience. People love Maurice and he will always remain deep inside our hearts. Let’s keep Louie Anderson in our memories!

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