Gilda Radner: Born June 28, 1946-May 20, 1989

 

 

 

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Died on this date: Comedian Gilda Radner made millions of people laugh with the zany characters she created as a member of the original cast of television’s “Saturday Night Live.”

Comedian Gilda Radner made millions of people laugh with the zany characters she created as a member of the original cast of television’s “Saturday Night Live.”

As a gawky, squawky-voiced satirist with a frizzy tangle of hair, Radner created such characters as Roseanne Roseannadana, a gross, lisping newscaster; Emily Litella, a dithery, confused editorialist; Candy Slice, a masochistic punk rock star, and coed Rhonda Weiss, a gum-chewing Jewish “princess” from Long Island.

Her characterizations brought her an Emmy in 1978 for outstanding performance as an actress on “Saturday Night Live,” where she was a member of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players with Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, who all went on to stardom.

She became a member of Toronto’s Second City improvisational comedy troupe, an offshoot of the famed Chicago company. Her fellow performers included Aykroyd and Murray, who would be with Radner again when “Saturday Night Live” premiered on NBC in October 1975.

While still on the show, Radner appeared in 1979 in a short-lived, one-woman Broadway show called “Gilda Live,” which was produced as a movie a year later and as an album, “Live From New York Gilda Radner.”

She left “Saturday Night Live” in 1980, making five films and appearing in a Broadway play in the next six years. The movies included “The Woman in Red” and “Haunted Honeymoon,” both written and directed by Gene Wilder, whom she met on the set of the film “Hanky Panky” in 1981 and married three years later in southern France.

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