Remembering the owner of the Tempe Improv

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

TEMPE, Ariz. -- He brought big-time stand-up comedy to the Vally of the Sun when he opened the Tempe Improv nearly 25 years ago, but on Wednesday, far away from the spotlights and the punch lines, 60-year-old Mark Anderson was found dead in a lonely room of a Days Inn in Buckeye, Arizona.

Anderson had been missing from his home in Oklahoma for three weeks when a worker at the motel discovered the body.

Greg Sacks, Anderson's brother-in-law, told 3TV from his home in San Diego that while the family wasn't prepared for the news, it did not come as a complete shock.

Sacks said his brother-in-law was a "brilliant" guy who attended Princeton University, but he also said Anderson had a long, painful history of struggling with depression and mental illness.

"The troubles he was having with his business in Tempe, it just seemed to send him right back into this deep despair and so this time he wasn't able to find a way out," said Sacks.

Anderson announced that he was going to close the Tempe Improv in early May. At the time, Anderson blamed Phoenix's latest comedy venue Stand Up Live for taking much of their business.

Anderson disappeared three weeks ago from his home in Oklahoma that he shares with his wife and two-year-old son.

The Tempe Improv closed its doors on June 1.

 "It just seems to me some people are too smart and that and he could have been one of those people where it was just too difficult to cope with everyday life," said Sacks.