Name at birth: Lorne Lipowitz
Lorne Michaels is the creator of the TV comedy series Saturday Night Live, the long-running show that spawned the careers of several comedians, including John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin and Mike Myers. Michaels started in Canadian television in the late '60s, then wrote comedy for American TV (Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In) before heading for New York and starting SNL in 1975. Michaels' production company has had many other successes in television, including Kids in the Hall (1989-94) and Late Night with Conan O'Brien (1993-present), as well as Emmy-winning TV specials for Paul Simon and Lily Tomlin. He has also produced several feature films, including Three Amigos (1986), Wayne's World (1992) and Coneheads (1993). Michaels was inducted into the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 1999.
In a now-famous TV gag, Michaels once offered The Beatles the comically small amount of $3,000 to reunite and appear on SNL (he later upped the offer to $3,200, but The Beatles did not reunite)… Michaels produced the 1978 television “mockumentary” on The Rutles, a parody of The Beatles.