GILDA RADNER Biography - Other artists & entretainers


Biography » other artists entretainers » gilda radner


Name: Gilda Susan Radner                                                                 
Born: 28 June 1946 Detroit, Michigan, United States                                     
Died: 20 May 1989 Los Angeles, California, United States                                 
Gilda Susan Radner (June 28, 1946 - May 20, 1989) was an Emmy Award winning             
American comedienne and actress, best known for her five years as part of the           
original cast of the NBC comedy series Saturday Night Live. Radner's death at 42         
of ovarian cancer helped increase public awareness of the disease and the need           
for earlier detection and treatment.                                                     
Gilda Radner was born to Jewish-American parents, Herman Radner and Henrietta           
Dworkin, in Detroit, Michigan. She grew up in Detroit with a nanny, Elizabeth           
Clementine Gillies, whom she called "Dibby" (and on whom she based her famous           
character Emily Litella), and an older brother named Michael. When young, they           
spent their winters in Palm Beach, Florida.                                             
Radner was close to her father, who operated Detroit's Seville Hotel, where many         
nightclub performers and actors stayed while performing in the city. Her                 
father, who died when she was fourteen, sometimes took her on trips to New York         
so that they could see Broadway shows. Radner's history of bulimia and                   
anorexia reportedly began at around the same time of her father's death.                 
After experiencing severe fatigue and suffering from pain in her upper legs on           
the set of Haunted Honeymoon, Radner sought medical treatment. After several             
false diagnoses, she learned that she had ovarian cancer in October 1986.               
Even with Wilder's support, she suffered extreme physical and emotional pain             
during chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.                                         
After Radner was told she had gone into remission, she wrote a memoir about her         
life and struggle with the illness, called It's Always Something (a catchphrase         
of her character Roseanne Roseannadanna). Life magazine did a March 1988                 
cover story on her battle, entitled Gilda Radner's Answer to Cancer: Healing the         
Body with Mind and Heart.                                                               
In 1988, Gilda Radner guest-starred on It's Garry Shandling's Show on Showtime           
to great critical acclaim. When Shandling asked her why she had not been seen           
for a while, she replied "Oh, I had cancer. What did you have?" Shandling's             
reply: "A very bad series of career moves." When Shandling said he had been             
under the impression that she was dead, she cited Mark Twain's famous quote "Reports     
of my death are greatly exaggerated." She planned to host an episode of SNL that         
year, but a writers' strike caused the cancellation of the rest of the season.           
In May of 1988, Radner discovered the cancer had returned and metastasized. She         
was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California on May 17,       
1989 for a CAT scan. Anxious with fear that she would never wake up, she was             
given a sedative and passed into a coma. She did not regain consciousness and           
died three days later at 6:20 am on May 20, 1989, with her husband at her side.