Gilda Radner Bio, Cancer, Death, Husband, Legacy, SNL, and Family

Gilda Radner was a comedian and actress. She is one of the great comic geniuses of the 20th century. Ranked up among comedy legends of the

Gilda Radner Biography

Gilda Radner was a comedian and actress. She was one of the great comic geniuses of the 20th century. Ranked up among comedy legends of the highest caliber. At the top with Lucille Ball and other comedy legends. She was of Russian Jewish, Polish Jewish, and Lithuanian Jewish ancestry.

Gilda Radner Death

Radner died May 20, 1989, in Los Angeles, California, USA. The cause of her death was ovarian cancer. Prior to her death, Gilda started having pains in her upper legs. Eventually, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

As a result, she went through lots of chemotherapy and treatment. Finally, her doctors told her that she was in remission. During this period, Gilda wrote her autobiography. Titled, It’s Always Something. It is about her battles with cancer.

To complicate her status, cancer was found in her liver and her lungs. This was after a more comprehensive check a while later. Unfortunately, it was now too late to do anything. Radner died Peacefully, in her sleep. She was interred at Long Ridge Cemetery in Stamford, Connecticut, following her untimely death.  Gilda stood at a height 5′ 6″ (1.68 m).

Gilda Radner Family

Born Gilda Susan Radner on June 28, 1946, in Detroit, Michigan. The younger of two children of Henrietta (Dworkin), a legal secretary, and Herman Radner, a businessman. Michael is her elder brother. The family was Jewish immigrants, specifically, from Russia, Poland, and Lithuania.

Gilda grew up with a nanny. She always called Dibby, on whom she based her famous Saturday Night Live (1975) character. Hard-of-hearing news correspondent Emily Litella. Interestingly, she was very close to her father, not as close to her mother.

Unfortunately, her father died tragically when she was 14. Sadly, leaving her heartbroken. Gilda’s mother named her after the title character played by Rita Hayworth in the film noir Gilda (1946).

Radner graduated from the Liggett school for Girls. Later on, enrolled at the University of Michigan but dropped out and followed a boyfriend to Canada. She made her stage debut in Godspell.

Gilda Radner Overweight

Radner was very overweight as a child. Due to this, she suffered from anorexia and bulimia then became very thin. Luckily, she overcame these disorders by 16 and was normal weight. Although if you watch some of her episodes of Saturday Night Live (1975), you can see that her weight sometimes goes down very low and she looks anorexic again.

Gilda Radner Saturday Night Live(SNL)

Radner was the first person ever cast for Saturday Night Live (1975). The show that would make her famous. Gilda stayed on SNL for 5 years, from 1975 to 1980 and had a brief marriage to the SNL band guitarist G.E. Smith. On this show, she created characters like Emily Litella, loudmouthed Roseanne Roseannadanna, nerd Lisa Loopner, and Baba Wawa, a talk show host with a speech impediment.

She was earning on Saturday Night Live (1975) $750 /week (1975 season).

Gilda Radner Husband

Radner left the show in 1980 and later married actor Gene Wilder, whom she met on a movie set and fell in love with nearly on the spot. Unfortunately, she started feeling the pain that resulted in her health complications short after.
Gilda was married to Gene Wilder from September 18, 1984 – 20 May 1989( her death). As already mentioned, she was married to G.E. Smith from March 26, 1980 – 1982 when they divorced.

Gilda Radner Trivia

Radner dated Martin Short during the early 1970s. They met during the run of the legendary 1972 Toronto production of “Godspell”. In addition to Radner and Short, this production also starred Victor Garber, Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas, and Andrea Martin. With Paul Shaffer as musical director. Interestingly, Radner’s understudy, Canadian comic actress Nancy Dolman began dating Short in 1974 and married him in 1980.

Gilda Radner Legacy

Wilder and Gilda’s cancer psychotherapist, Joanna Bull, established Gilda’s Club in 1991. Fulfilling, Gilda’s wish that a place could be established where people of all ages diagnosed with cancer could come together and support one another through the illness.

These centers are non-medical and very homey. In particular, they are with an art center, exercise facility, game rooms and a children’s room called Noogieland. Loosely, named noogies, one of Gilda’s comedic actions. Although, no such place as Gilda’s Club existed when she battled her ovarian cancer. Currently, Gilda’s Club has centers all over the United States and Canada.

Notably, Gilda is the only female player from Saturday Night Live (1975) to win an Outstanding Performance Emmy Award for her work on the show. In addition, SheWon a Posthumous Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Recording (1990). Besides, Tina Fey has named Gilda as the main reason she became a comedy writer.

Gilda Radner Personal Quotes

  1. Some stories don’t have a clear beginning middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity…
  2. There is no real security except for whatever you build inside yourself.
  3. [reflecting on being on the cover of TV Guide] I’ll be like a coaster in millions of homes of America. All week, people will be putting their beer on my face.

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