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Gilda Radner on Love and Creativity

Breast Cancer Awareness Pink Ribbon“I can always be distracted by love, but eventually I get horny for my creativity.” —Gilda Radner

Woman Who Rocks: Gilda Radner (this is her second appearance on Women Who Rock, the first was on April 20)

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:

YouTube Preview Image

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.

Fun Facts:

  • 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

Web sites:

The Gilda Club

The Gilda Radner Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry

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

Stop by every weekday for the daily quote from Women Who Rock. Your daily serving of fun, attitude, and brilliance courtesy of an amazing woman!  Check out the Women Rock category at the Cool Stuff Shoppe for great books, DVDs and merchandise from these great women. Thank you for clicking on the ads when you visit to help fund this site!

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4 People have left comments on this post

» Sara said: { Aug 11, 2010 - 3:43 PM }

Stopping by from 31DBBB challenge. Great blog!!

» Selena said: { Aug 14, 2010 - 7:17 AM }

I love Gilda Radner too! She was so funny and her early death was such a tragedy. Her husband has done a remarkable job getting the word out about ovarian cancer.

» Jules said: { Aug 14, 2010 - 7:51 PM }

Thank you for sharing all this information about Gilda Radner: I learned a few things I never knew about her! She has always been one of my favorite comedians,and her love story with Gene Wilder is so romantic. I found you from #31DBBB but I will be back!

» MariaSantoferraro said: { Aug 14, 2010 - 9:54 PM }

Jules, Selena and Sara -
Thanks so much for stopping by. I absolutely love Gilda and writing this blog was really hard. I read a lot about her death in preparation to write this and it has stuck in my thoughts most of the week. Life is short – so live life to the fullest and always get your yearly checks!
Hope you all have a great weekend!