Gilda Susan Radner (June 28, 1946 May 20, 1989) was an American actress and comedian. She was one of the original cast members (often referred to as the Not Ready for Prime Time Players) of Saturday Night Live. Her characters on the show included obnoxious reporter Roseanne Roseannadanna, hard of hearing Emily Litella, nerdy Lisa Loopner and "Baba Wawa" (a parody of Barbara Walters). Shortly before leaving SNL, Lorne Michaels directed her in her own one woman-show on Broadway, Gilda Radner: Live from New York. One performance of that show was captured on camera by Mike Nichols and released as the film Gilda Live.
In the 1980s, she left television behind to focus on her film career. She met Gene Wilder on the set of Hanky Panky. Although she was married to guitarist G.E. Smith at the time, she would state in her autobiography It's Always Something that meeting Wilder was "love at first sight". She subsequently divorced Smith and married Wilder. The couple would go on to make two more films, The Woman in Red and Haunted Honeymoon, before Radner's death from ovarian cancer at age 42. Her death led to the founding of Gilda's Club, an organization for those living with cancer and their families.
She was posthumously awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003 and many female comics and SNL cast members continue to cite her as an inspiration to them.
A documentary about her, Love, Gilda, was released on September 21, 2018.
- Harpo Does Something Funny: When Bill Murray wrote sketches that Radner appeared in, he would often write part of the sketch and then simply, "Gilda does something funny".
- Not Like Other Girls: When appearing in an edition of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, fellow SNL cast member Jane Curtin described John Belushi as "one of those who thought, 'Women should not be there (in SNL).'" When asked if John thought Gilda was funny, Jane's reply was, "He thought Gilda was funny, but she really he didn't classify her as a woman. She was Gilda."