- Associated Press - Saturday, February 5, 2011

CHICAGO (AP) - A woman known as the “den mother” to alumni of Chicago’s famed The Second City comedy club including John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Bill Murray has died.

Joyce Sloane’s daughter says her mother died “absolutely peacefully” in bed late Thursday as she got ready to watch Jim Belushi on television. She was 80.

During her 50 years with the improv theater, Sloane served as executive producer, founded its national touring company and co-founded the Toronto branch of The Second City.

Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert on Friday told the Chicago Tribune that Sloane was “incredibly kind to me and believed in me.”

Sloane is credited with discovering the Belushi brothers and Nia Vardalos of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” fame. Other alumni include Steve Carell, Mike Myers and Tina Fey.

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