'SNL' Salutes Comedian Tony Rosato


At the end of the Jan. 14 episode of Saturday Night Live, you may have noticed a title card with the name Tony Rosato, seemingly paying tribute to him. So wait, who is Tony Rosato? The comedian is a former SNL and SCTV cast member who died at age 62 on Jan. 10, reported the Toronto Star. According to the newspaper, Rosato died of an apparent heart attack, but the autopsy has not yet been performed. “It’s heartbreaking,” his longtime agent Larry Goldhar told the Toronto Star. “He is truly one of the gentlest people I have ever met. He was just such a kind person.”

According to Variety, Rosato was a castmember on SNL for its sixth season in 1981 and his tenure only lasted a single season, but it seems the comedian made quite an impression. Before joining SNL, Rosato was a member of the famous Second City improv comedy theater and appeared in the troupe's TV Canadian sketch comedy show SCTV in the 1970s. According to Variety, Rosato was one of only three SCTV alums to appear on SNL, a trio that included Martin Short and Robin Duke. In the '90s, the comedian was known for his voiceover work, like the voice of Luigi in the Super Mario cartoons, and guest starred in TV shows such as L.A. Law, Night Heat, and Lonsome Dove.

In 2005, Rosato was diagnosed with Capgras delusion after being arrested and charged with the criminal harassment of his wife, according to Variety. The Toronto Star reported that the Naples-born actor spent until 2009 in the maximum-security Quinte Detention Centre for treatment of his mental illness. Second City alum Dan Aykroyd and other fellow alums were present at Rosato's trial, according to the Toronto Star.

So that sweet tribute at the end of Saturday night's episode shows that Rosato was still a friend to the show.