Occupation: Comedienne, actress
Why She Rocks: Gilda made us laugh! She is best known for her five years as part of the freshman group of “Not Ready for Prime-Time Players” on Saturday Night Live. Her untimely death at the age of 42 has helped bring an immense amount of attention to the need for early detection and treatment of ovarian cancer.
Here’s one of my favorite Gilda performances, where Roseanne Roseannadanna gives some pretty awesome career advice to graduating college students:
Nickname: Roseanne Roseannadanna, Baba Wawa, Emily Litella (her unforgettable roles on Saturday Night Live… “Never mind…bitch!”)
Life Span: June 28, 1946 – May 20, 1989
Major Accomplishments and Honors:
- Gilda won an Emmy for her work on Saturday Night Live and won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Recording.
- The Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame inducted Radner in 1992 for her achievements in the arts and entertainment.
- Radner appeared on Broadway in a hilarious and very successful one-woman show, entitled Gilda Radner—Live from New York, in 1979.
- She appeared in nine motion pictures, including, Hanky Panky, The Women in Red, and Haunted Honeymoon.
- In her first professional acting gig, Gilda costarred with Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Victor Garber, and Martin Short in Godspell (wish I could have seen that production!). Right after that she joined the Second City comedy group in Toronto.
- Gilda was married to Gene Wilder (how cool would it be to be married to a really funny guy and Willy Wonka all rolled into one?). They met on the film set of Hanky Panky, and Gilda described their meeting as “love at first sight.”
- She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6801 Hollywood Blvd., and there are parts of W. Houston Street in New York City, Lombard Street in Toronto, and Chester Street in White Plains, New York, that were renamed Gilda Radner Way.
What You Need to Know:
Her husband, Gene Wilder, has done a great deal of work since her death to raise awareness for ovarian cancer, including establishing the Gilda Radner Ovarian Detection Center at Cedars-Sinai and publishing Gilda’s Disease: Sharing Personal Experiences and a Medical Perspective on Ovarian Cancer.
Gilda’s Club, a network of affiliate clubhouses, was formed in 1991 to provide a caring environment where people living with cancer, their families, and friends can gather to learn how to live and deal with cancer.
Her gravestone reads: “Gilda Radner Wilder — Comedienne — Ballerina 1946–1989
The Gilda Club http://www.gildasclub.org/
The Gilda Radner Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry http://ovariancancer.com/app/index.php
The Gilda Radner Experience: Check out these videos and books about the great Gilda Radner.
Catch all the great Gilda performances from Saturday Night Live – SNL – Best of Gilda Radner
Gilda’s amazing autobiography – It’s Always Something: Twentieth Anniversary Edition
Catch the chemistry between Gilda and Gene – Hanky Panky
Illustration by: Moi Cody
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