Lorne Michaels, CM (born November 17, 1944) is a 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.
Michaels was born Lorne David Lipowitz in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the son of Florence (née Becker) and Henry Abraham Lipowitz, a furrier. He was the eldest of the Lipowitz children. He has a sister, Barbara Lipowitz, who currently resides in Toronto and a brother, Mark Lipowitz, who died from a brain tumor. Michaels attended the Forest Hill Collegiate Institute in Toronto and graduated from University College, University of Toronto, where he majored in English, in 1966. 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. He starred in The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour, a Canadian comedy series which ran briefly in the early 1970s. 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.
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. 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 world.