Gilda Radner was born to make people laugh. As one of the “Not Ready for Prime Time Players” featured in the original cast of the groundbreaking Saturday Night Live, Gilda Radner charmed us with characters like Rosanne Rosanneadanna, Emily Litella, and sniffly-nosed Lisa Loopner who always got an affectionate “Noogie” from co-star Bill Murray. We remember her for the phrases she created with writer Alan Zweibel, such as “Never mind!” and “It’s always something.”
Her legacy is the range of her comedic characters, her films with her husband, Gene Wilder, and her work on Broadway, including “Gilda Radner: Live from New York.” But she played another role, a part she called “The Invisible Cancer Woman” in the saga of “The Adventures of the Independent Bald-headed Chemo Patient.” When Gilda was diagnosed with ovarian cancer on October 21, 1986, she wrote about this and other experiences living with cancer in her book, It’s Always Something.
During her treatment, Gilda became part of a cancer support community, and she wished that anyone dealing with cancer would be able to receive the kind of support she found there. After she died at the age of 42 on May 20, 1989, Joanna Bull, her cancer therapist, and Gene Wilder began to plan Gilda’s Club, a free cancer support community. The first Gilda’s Club opened in New York City in June 1995.