ET's Lauren Zima spoke with Rodriguez on Friday, who starred in 1986's Quicksilver with Anderson. The movie starred Kevin Bacon as a floor trader who loses all of his company's and family's savings on a risky business decision, then quits his job and becomes a bicycle messenger. Rodriguez said Anderson's health was always a concern throughout the years.
"He used to laugh it off and joke about it. He said that his cholesterol was higher than the economy and inflation," Rodriguez recalls. "He would make jokes and I would tell him, 'You know, Louie, take care of yourself,' and you know, I think he knew there was a problem, but his size was so much a part of his persona, his character, you know? I think maybe he might have been a little intimidated to work on losing weight. He wanted to live life on his own terms."
But one thing Anderson would not stand for is being degraded over his weight. Rodriguez told a story about the two filming Quicksilver and Anderson standing up for himself.
"The name of his character in this movie was Goodyear, making a reference to his weight, and Louie told the director that he wasn't going to submit himself to that kind of thing and for them change to the name of his character," he shares. "We were both not known back then so it took a lot of guts for him to say either they change his name or he quits the movie, and considering the fact that we were all trying to make it and it was a big opportunity to be in a movie, for him to stand up for himself was something that was admirable for the time."
"I remember him walking into my dressing room and saying, 'Paul, you know, good luck with this movie but I can't do it. They can't be using my weight to make fun of fat people,' and it was very sad but I have always respected his courage to stand up for what he believed in," he continues. "And of course, ultimately, he became a household name and he will be so sorely missed. 2022 has been so cruel to comedy and I am just at a loss for words, really."
Rodriguez is referring to the recent deaths of beloved comedians Betty White and Bob Saget. Rodriguez also had personal connections to both.
"I did The Tonight Show with [White] when she hosted and I was on an episode of the Golden Girls. She was very kind to me, but Louie Anderson, Bob Saget and myself and others, we started at The Comedy Store years ago," he notes, referring to the legendary comedy club in Hollywood.
Rodriguez said Anderson is leaving an incredible legacy when it comes to his comedy.
"You could have your grandma and your kids and all ages would laugh because he would talk about mundane things that all of us could relate to," he notes. "He didn't have such a happy family background and I don't know if you know that, but those of us who did talked about it. But he made the best of it, you know, he was able to take all of the pain and suffering that he went through and and make the rest of us laugh. It was very admirable. So, so sad and my condolences go out to his family that we lost one of the greats, you know? He was truly very, very happy, very jovial."
"What happened in his personal life, I don't know, but he always had a a smile and a handshake and he would sincerely wish you the best," he continues. "And when he got his part in Baskets, I remember calling and congratulating him. He was terrific in it and it seemed like his career was on the up. I would also run into him in Vegas when we were at the casinos there and it seemed like he had found a home, but I think his health was suffering. He wasn't able to do the nightly thing. I just know that he had a wonderful career and he will certainly be missed, from his cartoons to the game shows, all that he had done. He left a great body of work."
Cho told ET of Anderson, "There is something that is just so beautiful about the way that he cared about all of us in the comedy community and cared about us younger comics."
When asked what makes it such a difficult loss, Cho said, "I think it is his warmth."
"He had a darkness to his comedy, a darkness to his point of view but at the same time there was so much joy there and really an angelic presence," she added. "Just a brilliant actor and comedian on top of all of that."