Who Was Gilda Radner, How Did She Die and What Do We Know About Her Husband?

A comedy fan who lived in the 20th century would be familiar with the name Gilda Radner. She shook the Saturday Night Live show with her eccentric and hilarious ways and was also one of the earliest stars who made the SNL show worthwhile before her demise in 1989. Many described her as one of the most selfless and charitable persons they come across.

In all these, Gilda Radner sure made a difference during her time as her name still lingers in the hearts of many. Not only because she made a difference as a comedian but also because even though she is dead, she is still touching lives through her husband, Gene Wilder who took it upon himself to help her attain her last wishes. In view of these, she was awarded a Grammy Award in 1990, was initiated into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 1992 and was also recognized as a belated star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003.

Gilda Radner’s Biography

The late comedian was born and raised as Gilda Sussan Radner on June 28, 1946, in Detriot. She lived for forty-three years before taking a bow due to Ovarian Cancer in 1989. Gilda and her late father were pallies, the two were said to have been very close and were often seen together at different shows. Regardless, Gilda while alive acknowledged her mom for all her motherly care. Her nanny, Elizabeth Clementine Gilles played a huge role in her life as well, the comic actress being a large-hearted fellow decided to play as Emily Litella on the SNL show basing her character on her nanny. She also has an older brother, Micheal.

Gilda Radner didn’t have a troubled childhood but she suffered from her own self. She was overweight and struggled with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa throughout her teenage days and even as an adult. The comedian graduated from the University of Ligget School and later enrolled at the University of Michigan. She dropped out of Michigan after moving to Toronto for the sake of love and greener pastures. As intended, she staged her first audience in the comedy show; Godspell (1972). Soon, that cemented her regular shows at the Toronto Second City Comedy Club.

The comedian grew beyond expectations with her skills and her quest for fame increased, subsequently, she decided to relocate to New York. Upon arrival, she worked on the 600 U.S radio station for a year. With her performances on set, she was picked to feature in the first cast of one of the comedy shows on SNL; Not Ready For Prime Time Players in 1975. After five years on being a cast on SNL, Gilda Radner opted out of the show with an Emmy Award for the most outstanding performances under her belt. She moved on to pursue her acting career and spellbinding performances working with other organizations.

From the moment she left, she became topnotch for other movie roles. She first featured in the movie, Hanky Panky released in 1982 and later bagged another role in the movie The Woman In Red (1984). Unfortunately, the last of Gilda’s outstanding performances were recorded in her last movie; Haunted Honeymoon (1986).

When and How Did She Die? 

The movie; Haunted Honeymoon was the last the comic actress featured in before her battles with ovarian cancer began. Sometime in September 1986, Gilda Radner began to feel an abnormality just below her abdominal region. She ran a few tests that didn’t show any sign of cancer but after several months she was placed on maintenance chemotherapy. Three months later, it was discovered that it was indeed cancer leading to  Gilda Radner’s hospitalization at the Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. One day, she was expected to run a CT Scan in which she was also sedated during the process, that was the last of her as she fell into a coma and sadly died exactly three days after from the disease on May 20, 1989.

Prior to her death, she wrote a memoir titled “It’s Always Something” (1989), describing her experience with the disease and her love journey through life with her husband, Gene Wilder.

Who was Gilda Radner’s Husband?

A lot has been inquisitive to know who the amazing husband of the late comedian is what with his obeisance to his late wife and his passion for raising awareness on Ovarian Cancer. Gilda was married twice, first, was to a musician named G.E Smith who became a divorce tale in 1982 and secondly, to Gene Wilder the man behind the reasons her name still lingers on in the heart of many.

While Gilda was alive, she expressed her love for Gene as love at first sight, she said she fell in love and knew the difference with her then husband. It was after that she decided to marry him on September 18, 1984. Together they both worked on her last movie Haunted Honeymoon and also remained married until her death.

Gilda Radner
Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner

After her death, Gene believed his wife could have been saved if only the cancer was detected earlier. So, in a bid to tell the world about the disease, he founded a cancer program and named it after his late wife; Gilda Radner Hereditary Cancer Program.

That was not all, he also went ahead and opened a club in 1991 in memory of her and that club has grown around the globe. Later in 2018, Gilda Radner’s life was chronicled in the documentary Love, Gilda.


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